May 052008

Is that title too long to catch on? My morning troll through news feeds brought up two things that I think are somewhat related and that I want to highlight.

Today is the 83rd anniversary of the day that John Scopes was arrested in Dayton, TN for teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution to his high school biology class. Until roughly 8 years ago, I would’ve told you that we’d made significant progress since that day and that we were still making progress. Now, in 2008, I’d say that we’ve backslid because of a culture of ignorance, a president who shows no intellectual curiosity whatsoever, stories like this. and movies like this. 83 years later, it’s not safe to take a deep breath. We still have to fight against ignorance.

Also in the news today, Mildred Loving has died. She and her husband, Richard, were the couple behind the 1967 Supreme Court case that overturned many state laws banning mixed race marriages. Until then, it would’ve been illegal for my wife and I to get married in Texas and fifteen other states. My parents were married that year and my wife’s parents were married two years later. My parents were not mixed race, while my wife’s were. My in-laws encountered a lot of resistance at the time that they were married though they were in Minnesota, a state that never had any restrictions on interracial marriage. Loving Day is coming up on June 12. It’s amazing that only 40 years have passed since then, only a bit longer than my own lifetime. Thankfully, we haven’t backslid here as far as I can tell, but it’s still important to remember things like this, especially in light of the same-sex marriage debate that rages today.

I suppose it’s not surprising that the same people who want to put science back in 1925 also want to perpetuate the same ignorance with same sex marriages that existed in 1967 for mixed race marriages. Maybe McCain should just promise his constituents a time machine and be done with it.