In a speech delivered to the conservative pro-family group Texas Eagle Forum last week, newly appointed chair Barbara Cargill (R-Woodlands) questioned the faith of her fellow board members, saying that she was one of only “six true conservative Christians on the board,” the watchdog group Texas Freedom Network noted.Cargill, who has been on record as supporting young earth creationism, seems to have taken in the Answers in Genesis attitude toward Christians who are not YEC. That is unfortunate, although not entirely surprising. Last year, she proposed a change to the Texas science curriculum that would ask science teachers to tell students that there are different estimates for the age of the universe. I wrote a letter to Ms. Cargill last year, in response to comments she made about “gaps that don't link species changing and evolving” that never got answered.
The statement irked Republican board member and vice chair Bob Craig, who phoned Cargill right away, the Houston Press reported.
“I was offended that her comments seemed to indicate that only six people on the board were Christians,” Craig said. “I am a Christian and very active in First United Methodist Church here in Lubbock. I have very strong religious beliefs, so that kind of comment did not sit well with me.”
Thomas Ratliff, a moderate Republican new to the board, issued his own response criticizing Cargill’s remarks.
“It’s an unfortunate start to her tenure as chairwoman,” said Ratliff, a Republican from Mount Pleasant. “These kind of comments only further divide the board rather than bring us together for the benefit of our students and our schools. I look forward to better days ahead for our new chair.”
This is a tense situation in Texas. Barbara Cargill will only make it worse.