Friday, February 19, 2010

When I'm ashamed to be a Kentuckian

It was bad enough when my fellow Kentuckians elected a dim-bulb ideologue like Mitch McConnell (who once was rated by the New York Times as one of the US's worst legislators; now he's Senate Minority Leader - go figure) and a certifiable whack-job like Jim Bunning (great as a major-league pitcher; all downhill since then) as their senators.

It got worse when evangelical entrepreneurs decided to build a new creationist museum in Kentucky, complete with dioramas of cavemen cavorting with dinosaurs.  (I'm sure that Fred and Wilma have a big fan base in KY.)

It got worse when the University of Kentucky - which for decades had one of the most respected and emulated collegiate basketball programs in the US - hired as its head basketball coach Eddie Sutton, only to have to dismiss him for major NCAA rules infractions; then later hired a fine man of great integrity, Tubby Smith, to be coach, only to fire him because, even with a national title and many winning seasons, he didn't win another national title; then hired to replace him a certified party animal, Billy Gillispie, to whom they had to assign a designated "minder" to keep him out of the bars; then fired him to bring in (at a embarrassingly monumental salary) John Calipari, who left in shambles the two programs (Massachusetts and Memphis) where he'd coached before and then brought to UK some mercenaries (I won't dignify them with the designation of student-athlete) who are likely to play one year, then bail out for mega-millions in the NBA . . .

Now, my home state's state senate is intent on passing a bill with state-sanctioned guidelines for teaching Bible Literacy - specifically, an "elective course on the Bible's literary structure and its influence on “literature, art, music, mores, oratory and public policy.”  Says one of the sponsors, "the course would be constitutional “as long as we teach it and not preach it.”

Uh huh.  And how long will that last?  How well will that be monitored?

 What does it portend when a fellow senator chooses to congratulate the bill's co-sponsors by asserting that:
 “an angel was sent down on your shoulders” prompting “you to put this bill together. . . . .  I‘ve said for many years that until we put God back into our households, things in society will not change for the better. Your bill is the first step to that change.”
Despite the best intentions of some of the senators (who - bless their hearts -  are well and duly worried about where this all might lead), let's face it, my fellow Kentuckians: it's only a matter of time before this bill, if enacted, leads to where - we can be very sure - it's going to lead: some teachers becoming classroom evangelists (but swearing that they aren't; they're just imparting "Truth"), parents complaining, other parents complaining about the parents who complained, then lawsuits that will get national and international attention.  By the end, the labels of "redneck" and "hillbilly" will have been injected with newer meaning, much to the (perhaps deserved?) embarrassment of the state of Kentucky.

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