Archive for Friday, December 16, 2005

Taxpayers to foot bill for official’s trip to church-school event

December 16, 2005


— State Board of Education member John Bacon has charged taxpayers for his expenses to attend a church-school sponsored event that featured leaders of the movement to make the Bible the foundation of public life.

The conference brought together leading Christian activists, including David Barton, founder and president of WallBuilders; Tim Wildmon, president of American Family Assn., and the American Family Radio network; Ken Ham, leader of Answers in Genesis; and Ron Carlson, a minister and anti-evolution speaker.

"I would encourage any member of the state board, or any public official, to get informed about these issues," Bacon said.

Bacon said he gained valuable information at the conference held Nov. 11-12 in McPherson and thought being reimbursed by the state was justified.

The expense request included his board salary for two days, per diem for two days and mileage to and from Olathe. The final report hasn't been tabulated yet, but it is expected to cost about $500.

Bacon, a Republican from Olathe, is one of the six-member majority on the board that approved public school science standards that open up evolution to criticism and were sought by proponents of intelligent design.

He also has spoken in favor of vouchers for private schools, expansion of charter schools, and requiring a permission slip for students to take sex education classes - all hotly contested issues now before the board.

This week, Bacon sought and received education board approval for expenses to what was called the Worldview Conference that was sponsored by the Elyria Christian School in McPherson.

David Case, the administrator of Elyria Christian School, the event sponsor, described the conference as a way to assert that the Bible was integral in the founding of the United States and that modern-day society tries to hide that fact.

"The greatest force in our society today is secularism," Case said. "There is a blatant attempt to remove anything spiritual or religious from the public sphere, and that is not honest in terms of our culture."

He said about 1,200 people attended the conference.

Bacon said he went to the conference because he was familiar with Barton's work, and wanted to hear information on creationism and evolution, both topics that have been before the board.

He said the conference featured Christian organizations that he thought represented "most of our population."

Barton has gained national attention for his views that the founders of the United States were evangelical Christians and that the separation of church and state was a myth.

The other speakers say that evolution is wrong and that the Bible contains the true story about the origins of life.

Case said he found nothing wrong with a public official charging taxpayers to attend the conference because it provided information on issues in the public realm, such as evolution.

He said there was no evidence of common ancestors of different species.

"Scientists are ignoring the factual record. Why can't we include in science class any explanation that there would be God or a higher power, even if the scientific evidence supports it?" he asked.

When state education board members travel it is usually to conferences and seminars dealing with public school issues.

Board member Connie Morris made headlines earlier this year for staying at a $339 per night Miami resort for six nights at a conference on magnet schools. After a public furor over the expenses, she reimbursed the state $2,890 of the approximately $3,900 in total expenses from the trip.

At that time, the board rejected any changes to its travel policies.


trinity 12 years, 5 months ago

this ain't even right. i for one am appalled at the thought of spending taxpayer dollars to attend such a conference!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 5 months ago

I'm all for it-- the more stupid moves they make like this, the more likely they are to be thrown out next election.

trinity 12 years, 5 months ago

aha, i never thought of it that way jabotb! ;)

neopolss 12 years, 5 months ago

We're not trying to remove religion, we're just trying to keep you from pushing it down our throats.

fossilhunter 12 years, 5 months ago

But ID has nothing to do with creationism or religion! Come on guys, you keep forgetting the script!! Stick to the script!

mom_of_three 12 years, 5 months ago

He went to a religious conference, and wants us to pay for it - uh, NO!!

bankboy119 12 years, 5 months ago

Actually, since these are contested issues there should not be a problem for using tax money to do this. It could give more validity to the debate.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 5 months ago

There is certainly an organized campaign to annoint ID/Creationism as science, but there is no scientific debate to which this could give any kind of validity.

craigers 12 years, 5 months ago

I am glad the LJWorld titled this article the way it did. It is sure to get attention today and have some mudslingin going on. Grab your torch and pitchforks!!!!

fossilhunter 12 years, 5 months ago

"He said there was no evidence of common ancestors of different species." -- Case has been brainwashed. There is a ton of evidence.

weterica 12 years, 5 months ago

Bankboy is correct. Because the creationism v. evolution debate is a debate then we taxpayers should pay for it!

And it is especially important that a pro-creationist board member should be able to go to a pro-creationist conference that validates his beliefs.

If Bacon were not allowed--all expenses paid--to hear Ken Ham (one of the conference speakers) say things like, ""The devastating effect that evolutionary humanism has had on society, and even the church, makes it clear that everyone-including Christians-needs to return to the clear teachings of Scripture and Genesis and acknowledge Christ as our Creator and Savior," he might not feel confident enough to implement a plan that will turn the terrible tide of secularism that is destroying our world!

As a member of the group Ham refers to as "everyone" and a taxpayer of this state, I believe we should open the purse for our board members to go learn how to save our society from scientific materialism and secular humanism! For the love of all things decent-I have a child!

classclown 12 years, 5 months ago

Posted by weterica "For the love of all things decent-I have a child!"

=================================== If you want your child to learn about god and creation then by all means go for it. Take him/her to church.

weterica 12 years, 5 months ago

Thanks, classclown! That is valuable advice. Unfortunately the devasting forces of secularism often make it hard for me to wake up Sunday mornings. I am forced to rely on our public schools to save my child. Thanks, though. You are very wise.

Bob Forer 12 years, 5 months ago

Weterica, Are you sure its "the devasting forces of secularism?" Perhaps your prayers are deficient?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 5 months ago

Fellow conservatives:

This is wrong. This conference was strongly slanted toward an agenda and had nothing to do with school board administration. Regardless of where you are politically, we should expect PROFESSIONAL behavior, and this was not professional. We need to expect more from our leaders. If we don't watch it, men like this will be to us what Jesse "the joke" Jackson has become to the black community.

Bob Forer 12 years, 5 months ago

Old enough: Thanks for your honesty. It is indeed refreshing when folks have the courage to critique the questionable actions of those who happen to share a similiar political perspective. Political sentiment notwithstanding, right is right and wrong is wrong.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 5 months ago

Hey "wet'erica, I appreciate your very "dry" satire.

classclown 12 years, 5 months ago

weterica: What "devasting forces of secularism" keep you from waking up on Sunday morning?

tolawdjk 12 years, 5 months ago

The prayers aren't deficient. It's the secularism that forms a barrier in the ether that prevents the prayers from crossing through the earth/paradise barrier. That's why people say they have to pray harder.

I am so glad I am not recieving my public school education in Kansas right now, although I am thinking I may have to home school my kids so they are educated and not indoctrinated.

Jamesaust 12 years, 5 months ago

Nothing illegal here. The only issue is how someone who would think this conference was a means "to get informed" could manage to get elected to anything.

"Barton has gained national attention for his views that the founders of the United States were evangelical Christians and that the separation of church and state was a myth."

As I've noted, if 'these people' were to rewrite the Constitution today, it would make constant references to God (rather than "We, the People") and be filled with citations to scripture. The simple fact that the Constitution contains not even an indirect reference to a Deity let alone some quote from the Gospels is proof-positive that the Founders were not "evangelical Christians" and that they learned from their own history books that mixing the secular with the sacred leads only to bloodletting by the bucketful.

Frank Smith 12 years, 5 months ago

"...the liberals, they don't have the kind of family responsibilities that most people have, and certainly not church responsibilities." Tim Wildmon

"Barton's group called 'WallBuilders' is a moneymaking operation, not a nonprofit group as some may think. The falsehoods and distortions in his books and videotapes have been picked up by other religious extremists and propagated further. The so-called Christian Coalition is one of these." Charles Sumner

Ken Ham's views of history and science are based on a literal reading of Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament. Among other things, he believes that: Earth is about 6,000 years old, a figure arrived at by tracing the biblical genealogies, and not 4.5 billion years, as mainstream scientists say. The Grand Canyon was formed not by erosion over millions of years, but by floodwaters in a matter of days or weeks. Dinosaurs and man once co-existed, and dozens of the creatures - including T-rex - were passengers on the ark built by Noah, who was a real man, not a myth.

Ron Carlson, when he isn't chasing gays or slandering Masons, or acknowledging he doesn't know anything about science, is there to warn us against the evils of Harry Potter: "Being 'salt and light' to the world (Matthew 5:13-16) sometimes requires that we as believers take a stand against things that the world defines as popular, cool, and even beneficial. No matter how many Harry Potter books are sold, no matter how much acclaim Harry Potter receives, and no matter how great people think it is that Harry Potter has caused kids to put down their video games to read a book, sorcery will always be an 'abomination' in God's eyes. And if God views the subject matter of Harry Potter as an abomination, then we as Christians have no choice but to do likewise."

Kansas taxpayers should be thankful that John Bacon is there to bring us these novel notions at our expense.

Laura Wilson 12 years, 5 months ago

I find this absolutely distasteful. The conference had very little if anything to do with public education and yet he wants the taxpayers to pay for it as if it had been a conference on public education.

On the other hand, the more they keep trying to pull this stuff on us, the more they look like idiots and the closer they get to being voted out of office. (I hope, I hope!)

b_asinbeer 12 years, 5 months ago

The poor non-christian tax payers....try explaining this one to them. Oh, that's right, you can't....this is Kansas, a natural habitat for the fundies.

Dani Davey 12 years, 5 months ago

Maybe I'm just not getting enough sleep but I'm confused. He's from Olathe but we're paying his mileage to and from Olathe for the conference?

leftwingfarmboy 12 years, 5 months ago

Yes Dani-- it's Biblical. He was freed from slavery and led his people to suburbia...

Ragingbear 12 years, 5 months ago

Many years ago, I attended a public middle school in Alabama. This school had no qualms about prayer over the intercom, or having people come and give presentations about thier church. Oftentimes I would have a gym coach, or a math teacher try to convert me. All was par for the course there.

My parents complained to the school board. The response was that they were a good "Christian" community, and if we didn't like it, then we needed to leave. We informed the state board, and two days later recieved a letter that they found the charges unfounded. This letter went on to chastise us for wasting their time with false and unfounded accusations.

I even had my grades affected there. One day, after doing a history report, I got back a C-. I approached the teacher and asked what was wrong where I got such a grade. I was particularly proud of this report, as I put a lot of work into it, and found it to be quite good. The answer wasn't something revolving around my grammer, or having my facts not straight, or some other academic thing. The answer : Because I needed to find and accept God. I was befuddled. That is how things work.

newssleuth2814 12 years, 5 months ago

In my experience, these so called "conferences" are a waste of time and money with objectives to either sell something or just push an agenda.

What John Bacon got from this conference he probably could have gotten from a 1/2-hour telephone call to one speaker (that's not long distance either). If he really wanted to hear both sides, he would have then followed up with a phone call from a scientist (about real science).

Posted by bankboy119 (anonymous) on December 16, 2005 at 8:22 a.m. (Suggest removal) Actually, since these are contested issues there should not be a problem for using tax money to do this. It could give more validity to the debate.

Sorry Bankboy119, but Kansas lawmakers need to research their religious views with their own money and on their own time. And just because there are contested issues, it doesn't mean it's an excuse to spend taxpayer money. How about I get a scientist and one of these religion/ creationism pushing speakers together and charge $100,000 a pop to attend my conference? After all, it is a contentious issue, so most of our lawmakers should spend taxpayer's money to attend. At least my conference would share both views (I doubt there was also anything really 'valid' from this conference to add to the debate).

Who's also willing to bet that if Mr. Bacon were ever invited to a conference of scientists and biologists promoting evolution, he'd say no and run?

Steve Mechels 12 years, 5 months ago

Ragingbear, you show EXACTLY why we need to keep the promotion of religion and ID out of the schools and government (including the School Board) and leave it where it belongs; places of worship.

As an employee of the State of Kansas, I am sure taxpayers would be upset if I went to a conference regarding the "Flat Earth" belief even though my work deals with the natural world and geology. This trip should come out of his own pocket.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 5 months ago

John Bacon I believe represents part of Lawrence. Send him packing. He and Connie Morris have too much in common at this point.

average 12 years, 5 months ago

John Bacon represents none of Lawrence or Douglas County. Half of JoCo, plus much of Franklin, Miami, Linn, and Anderson.

Number 3 on this map.

Number 1 is Janet Waugh. Up for re-election. Anti-ID/Corkins. Eastern and Northern Lawrence.

Number 4 is Bill Wagnon. Not up for reelection in 06, doesn't plan to run in 08. Anti-ID/Corkins.

donsalsbury 12 years, 5 months ago

Shoot, my share of property taxes is twice that amount, on my measly townhome. He can have every penny, and I only regret that I missed the event, too. John, let me know the next time you're going to one of these; I'll even buy you dinner.

Fangorn 12 years, 5 months ago

I propose a fair trade. Since my children will never attend a public school yet I involuntarily pay taxes every year to support said public schools, they can put the amount I pay each year toward the cost of this trip. Long after the trip is paid in full, I'll still be paying taxes for schools I don't use.

FlyingSpaghettiMonsterLove 12 years, 5 months ago

That sounds like a great fair trade, Fangorn! Tell you what -- since I'm paying for a war I didn't support, I should get back my share of that money, right? Of course, we can't trust the government to get anything right, so why don't you just send me my share directly?

Mr_Christopher 12 years, 5 months ago

These quotes will be told again when the Kansas trial over Intelligent Design Creationism is initiated. Based on what the KBOEducation is up to (and planning) that law suit will happen sooner than later.


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