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CULTURE DIGEST: Bush backs intelligent design in schools; homosexual ‘Housewives’ creator seen as change agent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–President Bush set off a new wave of debate over whether intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution in public schools when he gave his opinion in a roundtable discussion with Texas newspaper reporters Aug. 1.

“I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought,” he said. “You’re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes.”

Referring to his time as governor of Texas, Bush said, “I felt like both sides ought to be properly taught.”

The president also said he believes the matter should be decided by local school boards, not by a federal government mandate, according to The Houston Chronicle.

While running for president in 1999, Bush said schoolchildren “ought to be exposed to different theories about how the world started.” But he has not said publicly which theory he supports.

As could be expected, Bush’s conservative base welcomed his remarks and used the opportunity to further emphasize their desire for the teaching of intelligent design, which contends that some features of the natural world are best explained as the products of an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection.

“President Bush is to be commended for defending free speech on evolution, and supporting the rights of students to hear about different scientific views about evolution,” said John West, associate director of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute, a leading think tank supporting intelligent design.

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told The New York Times he was pleased with Bush’s stance.

“It’s what I’ve been pushing; it’s what a lot of us have been pushing,” Land said, adding that evolution “is too often taught as fact,” and that “if you’re going to teach the Darwinian theory as evolution, teach it as theory. And then teach another theory that has the most support among scientists.”

But Susan Spath of the National Center for Science Education said Bush’s comment that “both sides” should be taught is troubling.

“It sounds like you’re being fair, but creationism is a sectarian religious viewpoint, and intelligent design is a sectarian religious viewpoint,” she told The Times. “It’s not fair to privilege one religious viewpoint by calling it the other side of evolution.”

The Alliance Defense Fund’s Mike Johnson told Family News in Focus he hopes schools are not unsettled by threats of lawsuits if they choose to teach intelligent design.

“They should not be scared off and intimidated by the misinformation of these liberal groups,” he said. “They need to stand their ground and if they have a constitutional curriculum, I think they can be confident it will be allowed under the law.”

CREATOR OF ‘HOUSEWIVES’ IS HOMOSEXUAL — ABC’s hit dramatic comedy “Desperate Housewives” presents more of a threat to traditional family values than conservatives might have originally calculated: The show’s creator and several writers are openly homosexual and admit their viewpoints will increasingly make their way onto the screen.

Marc Cherry, who conceived the idea for the show, appeared on a panel discussion called “Queer is Just a Frame of Mind on Wisteria Lane” at Outfest 2005, a homosexual film festival in Los Angeles.

Desperate Housewives, which has drawn criticism from conservatives for its racy portrayals of adulterous women in suburbia, now reaches an estimated audience of 24 million viewers.

During the panel discussion, one Outfest participant told Cherry he may be the “most powerful influence we have to talk about gay issues” on-screen. Another asked the show’s staff if they felt like they were pulling off “the biggest joke on America … and they’re just eating it up,” according to the Associated Press July 22.

The executive producer of “Will & Grace,” another hit show bent on pushing the homosexual agenda, said the fact that so many viewers watch his show and Desperate Housewives could indicate their acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle.

“If people were so petrified or repulsed by this subject matter or this style or this sensibility, we wouldn’t see the [audience] numbers we see on these shows,” Max Mutchnick told AP.

David Kohan, creator of Will & Grace, said accepting homosexuals as entertainers “might be the biggest and easiest hurdle to get over.”

“It’s like maybe the first step is saying, ‘Hey, they make good minstrels. Maybe they’re not such bad people after all.’ And then change comes gradually,” he said.

MORE ON SANTORUM’S BOOK — R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is calling Sen. Rick Santorum’s new book “one of the most important books written by a political figure in recent American history.”

“‘It Takes a Family’ is an important book for our troubled times. Its emergence can bring only good things for the conservative movement in America,” Mohler wrote in his commentary on albertmohler.com Aug. 1. “If every public servant was this clear-headed and intellectually courageous, we would see a very different culture.”

Mohler examined some of the points made by the Republican senator from Pennsylvania, including his assessment of a major distinction between the two political groups: liberals view the individual as the basic unit of society while conservatives consider the family the focal unit.

Liberals, Santorum contends, value the autonomy of the individual above all else, which leads to their stances on issues such as abortion and “same-sex marriage.”

“The ‘right’ of homosexuals to ‘marry’ one another is a logical result of what must happen to the definition of marriage if we view society as composed of nothing but abstract, autonomous individuals, rather than of men and women with their given natures,” Santorum writes. “Abstract individuals, after all, are completely interchangeable and completely ‘free’ to define who and what they are. To the liberal mind, therefore, there is no ‘rational basis’ for limiting marriage only to people of opposite sexes.”

But conservatives understand that “marriage is the word for the way in which we connect a man, a woman, and their children into one loving family.”

“Marriage matters because children matter,” Santorum asserts. “Without marriage, children suffer. There is simply no better investment parents can make in their children’s future than a healthy marriage.”

The senator added that if today’s society “considers marriage nothing more than a romantic and sexual coupling between men and men, women and women, and men and women,” then the next generation will believe that marriage is a “self-centered endeavor primarily about adult satisfaction, not children’s well-being.”

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  • Erin Curry