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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Another Creationist In the Minnesota Legislature?

Hat tip to Lloydletta and Dump Bachmann contributor, Ken Avidor, who reports that Creationism is becoming an issue Rep. Mark Olson's relection campaign in Big Lake. Olson's opponent, Jim Huhtala is calling Olson out on the topic, and Olson is trying to bravely run away from the topic.

Did Olson Say on the House Floor the Earth is Only 5,000 Years Old?
Letters to the Sherburne County Citizen

To The Editor,

I am writing in response to Rep. Mark Olson's editorial accusing me of using "extremist labels". Apparently Re. Olson is referring to a line in a speech that I gave at the Sherburne DFL county convention where I stated: "Unlike my opponent, I believe the earth is much more than 5,000 years old."

Clearly everyone has a right to believe what they want. What's at issue here is that Rep. Olson is on the Education Policy and Reform Committee and, therefore, he is in a position to impose his personal religious beliefs into public education policy.

In Mark's editorial, he never indicates how old he thinks the earth actually is. This is the crux of Mr. Bye’s question of a week prior. The voters of 16B have the right to know where Rep. Olson stands. Does he believe science or religious dogma?

In a revealing statement in his editorial, Mark states he believes that "there should be no separation between church and state." This is where Mark and I are in opposite camps. I believe that, thanks to the separation of church and state, Americans enjoy an unparalleled amount of religious and philosophical freedoms.

The Mark states in his editorial that facts should be taught in our schools. I concur. Reading on, he mentions that no one theory should be taught exclusively. I would guess that he is referring to the "theory of evolution" and trying to equate creationism as a theory. They are not both theories. Theories, by scientific definition, are backed up by scientific observation. Creationism is a religious belief.

So, Rep. Olson, was I blowing smoke at the convention or did you not say on the House floor the earth is only 5,000 years old?

Jim Huhtala

DFL endorsed candidate of HD 16B

Clear Lake, MN

Olson's letter:

To The Editor,

Much gratitude should go out to Mr. Nathan Bye for being eager to clarify issues Mr. Jim Huhtala raised as he received the DFL endorsement. I also appreciate Mr. Bye's efforts to raise the concern of candidate's using extremist labels which could be damaging to all those who have supported the Olson campaign over the years.

The liberal left and conservative right may have existed from the beginning. But using extremist labels with accusations to avoid issues, or paint unwanted perceptions, is just not appropriate. Mr. Bye is right. "This charge should not be made lightly." It actually should not be made.

People who fulfill their obligation to vote deserve the utmost respect from all candidates who run for office. So shouldn't we stick to the issues without creating concerns that no one enjoys being bantered about?

I have many Christian friends and have never met one, myself included, who believes there should not be any separation of church and state. As for what should be taught in public schools, it should be facts. If a theory is taught it must be identified as a theory. And no one theory should be taught exclusively.

My desire for clean and respectful campaigning must continue and I will focus on issues in the coming District 16B campaign. I can be reached for questions or comments at (651) 296-4237 or (763) 263-3500 and

Rep. Mark Olson
Big Lake, Minnesota

Huhtala calls Olson out again and Olson defensively responds.

Plymouth Mayor Judy Johnson's answer to an audience question about Intelligent Design Creationism at a Chamber of Commerce sponsored debate torpedoed her campaign for state senate in Senate District 43. Strong high school science education is important to residents in the Plymouth/Minnetonka district - and Intelligent Design creationism is antithetical to good rigorous science education. After this election was over, the strib tried to claim that Johnson's opponent, Terri Bonoff's stance on the stadium helped her campaign. In fact, this race wasn't a referendum on the stadium at all, and the stadium issue hurt Bonoff. Instead this race was a referendum on Intelligent Design Creationism after the well publicized drubbing IDiocy took in the Dover case.