More than half of Kansans believe children should be taught Biblical
creationism as well as Darwinism — or the theory of evolution — in the
state’s public schools.

According to a new

Portrait of America
poll published Tuesday, 62 percent of Kansans polled say biblical creationism should be taught while 54 percent say the Darwinian theory should be a part of school curriculum.

“Church attendance certainly influences Kansans’ feelings on the teaching of the biblical and Darwinian theories in schools,” said Portrait of America analysts after studying the

results of Tuesday’s
“Fully 69 percent of those who attend church four or more times a month favor the teaching of biblical creation. Surprisingly, 54 percent of those who rarely or never attend church also think the Bible’s version should be taught in school.”

Rasmussen Research conducted the survey of 1,000 adults on July 27. The margin of sampling error for the full sample is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

On Tuesday, Kansans went to the polls to cast ballots in the state’s primary for Board of Education members. Five of the 10 seats are up for election this year as some political factions contest the Board’s decision last month to approve the teaching of creationism in Kansas public schools.

The board voted 6-4 last year to approve the new standards. Though not mandatory, the standards “play down the importance of evolution and omit the big-bang theory of the universe’s origin,” the Associated Press said Tuesday.

While critics denounced the decision as a move that made the state appear backwards and non-progressive compared to other states, supporters said the board made a good decision, especially in allowing local districts to decide whether local board of education officials would implement the standards.

“The theory of evolution states that the Earth is billions of years old and that life forms developed over millions of years. Creationism proposes that the Earth and most life forms came into existence suddenly about 6,000 years ago,” AP said, citing critics that see the state’s creationism standards as little more than biblical dogmatic references to Genesis, the first book of the Bible.

“When God began creating the heavens and the earth, the earth was at first a shapeless, chaotic mass, with the Spirit of God brooding over the dark vapors,” says Genesis 1:1-2, according to “The Living Bible,” a paraphrase of the Bible.

According to Portrait of America researchers, Kansans, for the most part, are comfortable with public references to Christianity in the public school system.

Among other questions answered in the poll: “Should students be allowed to lead prayer at school functions?” and a question asking respondents if they believe more references to God in the public schools would prevent shooting tragedies like the one at Columbine High School outside of Denver, Colo., last year.

Related stories:

Teacher’s union opposes evolution bill

Teen sues Kansas school over death threat

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.