Delaware Governor Declares February 12th ‘Charles Darwin Day,’ Cue Right Wing Freak Out

Ah, little Delaware. Before Vice President Joe Biden put us on the map, Delaware was, to many, that brief flash of countryside you passed through on I-95 as you traveled from Maryland to Pennsylvania, or New Jersey. Now, our Democratic governor, Jack Markell, has put us on the map again, by issuing a proclamation declaring February 12th to be “Darwin Day.” And right wing heads are exploding.

Markell issued the proclamation in late January, after a request was made by Chuck Dyke of Delaware Atheist Meetup. You see, in Delaware, any individual or group can request that the governor honor a variety of people for a variety of things. Like most things about Delaware, the proclamation is pretty vanilla, stating simply:

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Whereas, Charles Darwin is recognized for the development of the Theory of Evolution; and

Whereas, Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is the foundation of modern biology, an essential tool in understanding the development of life on earth; and

Whereas, the anniversary of Darwin’s birthday is a time to reflect and celebrate the importance of his scientific achievements; and

Whereas, the State of Delaware is proud of its commitment to scientific research;

Now, Therefore, I, Jack A. Markell, Governor

do hereby declare February 12th, 2015CHARLES DARWIN DAYto be “Charles Darwin Day” in the State of Delaware for all of his achievements in the field of science.

The religious right has a meltdown over Markell’s proclamation.

You might have thought that the governor had just released the hell hounds from their cages, to rain down punishment on the righteous, judging from the reactions offered by some religious right sites.

A blogger at the site The End Times Forecaster says that he believes Markell’s proclamation will bring about “some type of judgment upon the state of Delaware.”

Believers Stand United says that Markell has “succumbed to atheists and secularists” with the proclamation. They also quote from someone named Brian Thomas, who has the laughable title of “Science Writer for the Institute for Creation Research,” who says that Darwin’s contributions to science “amounted to very little – some work on invertebrates was all.” Believers Stand United also takes the ridiculous position that the proclamation is a violation of the separation of church and state, because to them, somehow, atheism is a religion.

Freedom Outpost centers their freakout over the claim that the proclamation makes Darwin Day a holiday (it does not), and that “holiday” is a term that derives from “holy day,” which they say is necessarily religious in nature.

Humanists want to have holidays. What is a holiday? It is a day that you set aside as holy, hence the name, “holi-day,” or holy-day. And here it is, the humanist holiday: “Charles Darwin Day.” This day is organized by the American Humanist Association (AHA)

The dictionary describes a holiday as “a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done.” Delaware state employees will still go to work on Darwin Day, kids will be in school, stores will be open. So,  no, Darwin Day is not a “holiday.”

But the most amazing claim, made by all three of the sites above, is that Charles Darwin’s writings led directly to the Holocaust. From the Freedom Outpost article:

Not only was the Holocaust the logical progression of “Darwinistic elitism,” but over 200 Million deaths in the 20th Century alone can be linked to evolutionist thinking. It is based on survival of the fittest.

These, of course, would be some of the same people who support the Republican party’s policies of “social Darwinism” that seek to eliminate the social safety net. They’re also some of the same people who have spent the last few days in a display of public hand wringing after being reminded by President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, that Christians were responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands during the Crusades, centuries before Charles Darwin was born.

Oh, and one last thing, that was apparently missed by all of these sites in their upset over Markell’s proclamation, and their claims that Darwinism led to the Holocaust? Jack Markell is Jewish.

Happy Darwin Day!

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