Obamacare, Benghazi, NSA surveillance... these are the issues you expect to hear Republicans railing about in the run up to November's congressional elections.
But evolution? We thought that one was more or less settled right around the time the Lucy fossil was found, at least for those of us inclined toward rational thought.
But it'll apparently be an issue of sorts in Minnesota's 1st congressional district, where the GOP-endorsed candidate, Aaron Miller, shared a story critical of evolution and the way it's taught in public schools in at least two recent speeches.
During the Blue Earth County Republicans' convention last March, Miller, a hospital account manager and Iraq War veteran, offered up this tale about a "traumatic" experience his daughter had in school (via Josh Moniz of the Mankato Free Press):
[Miller] shared a story about his daughter becoming very upset because she had to learn about evolution at school. He said his daughter told the teacher that she did not believe in evolution. He said the teacher expressed agreement with his daughter, but told her that they were forced to teach the lesson by the government.Then, after winning the Republican nomination to run against Democratic incumbent Tim Walz on Saturday, Miller repeated the tale (again from Moniz and the Free Press):
"There's a war on our values by the government," Miller said. "We should decide what is taught in our schools, not Washington, D.C."
When asked for further detail, Miller declined to provide the name of the teacher in his story.
[Miller] also called for more religious freedoms. He repeated his story about his daughter returning home from school in tears because evolution was being taught in her class. He said the teacher admitted to not believing in the scientific theory to his daughter but told her that the government forced him to teach the lesson.Evolution denial isn't the only baffling aspect of all that. As Bluestem Prairie's Sally Jo Sorensen points out, curriculum standards in Minnesota are set by the state Department of Education, not Darwin lovers in D.C.
"We should decide what is taught in our schools, not Washington D.C.," Miller said.
Miller has declined to provide any more information to verify his story.
Then again, maybe we shouldn't expect someone who takes issue with the teaching of our best scientific theories in schools to know what he's talking about before he opens his mouth.
We called Miller's spokesman seeking more information about his views on evolution and education, but our voicemail wasn't immediately returned.