Only religion can make a third-grader seem smarter than some politicians
Olivia McConnell has a passion for science. So much so that she spends her school recess looking for shark’s teeth. Her passion led her to the discovery that South Carolina does not have a state fossil. And she knew from her reading that the first fossil found in North America, from the woolly mammoth, was discovered in South Carolina. Little Olivia decided that South Carolina deserved credit for that and fired off a letter to S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley (and other state lawmakers).
Olivia made a compelling case for why South Carolina should be recognized. “I wanted it to be the state fossil because I didn’t want that history to be lost, and our state to not get credit for it,” Olivia says. “If something’s wrong I’ve got to help out. It’s just the right thing to do. That’s what I’m all about.”
She has the attention of her senator, Kevin Johnson, who thought it would “fly through the House and Senate.” But she also got the attention of creationist South Carolina Republicans. Two Republican state senators, Sen. Kevin Bryant and Sen. Mike Fair, started adding whole passages from the book of Genesis to the bill. Including this little ditty:
The Columbian Mammoth, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field, is designated as the official State Fossil of South Carolina and must be officially referred to as the ‘Columbian Mammoth’, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field.” (H 4482, Session 120)
“I think it’s very important that we acknowledge the Creator when we’re acknowledging some of his wonderful creations. I don’t have a problem acknowledging the Wooly Mammoth as a state fossil,” Bryant said.
Sen. Mike Fair, felt the Creator of the mammoth should be recognized as well. He admits he didn’t know who he was dealing with and said, “[t]he fact that an 8-year-old was doing this was remarkable and something we should celebrate.” Olivia and her family are also deeply religious. However, they don’t believe religion should be attached to a bill about fossils. Pretty smart little girl.
Bryant and Fair’s proposed amendments have stalled the bill, freezing young Olivia McConnell’s efforts, but Olivia will not budge – ever. She says she’ll “keep going until they pass the bill. Maybe it might not be until I’m 20, 30 or 40. If it doesn’t pass this year, I’m going to be back next year.”
In the Olivia McConnell vs. Creationist showdown, my money is on Olivia. You go girl!