School Board Race Has Creationists, LaRouche Candidates
WHEATON, Ill. (AP) _ Supporters of creationism and Lyndon LaRouche’s teachings have crowded the school board election field in this strongly evangelical community where the Rev. Billy Graham went to school.
Paul MacKinney, a businessman who is one of three candidates in the Nov. 3 election who wants the biblical version of creation added to the curriculum in Wheaton-Warrensville District 200, says he is making it ″a central campaign theme.″ ....................CORRECTIVE Sent September 29, 1987 FOLLOWS...............
The Associated Press erroneously reported Sept. 20 that Paul MacKinney, a candidate for school board in Wheaton-Warrensville District 200, wants the biblical version of creation added to the district’s curriculum. MacKinney said he doesn’t want the biblical version added but favors adding the scientific version of creationism. ...............................................................................
MacKinney, who describes himself as ″a fundamentalist who believes in the Bible and lives by the Bible,″ and two other candidates, lawyer Robert Collins and free-lance writer George Kocan, want creationism taught alongside evolution in the district’s 17 schools.
Steven Faber, a 35-year-old AT&T Bell Laboratories employee who earned a doctorate in physical chemistry from Michigan State, is the LaRouche follower.
LaRouche, a political extremist and former fringe presidential candidate, ″strikes me as a candidate true to his own beliefs,″ Faber said. ″He doesn’t compromise his policy for anybody.
″Most politicans are opportunists,″ added Faber who is running with the idea of increasing science education.
In all, seven candidates are seeking three open seats on the seven-member Board of Education in this far-west Chicago suburb, where Graham graduated from Wheaton College in 1943.
Wheaton is home to the National Association of Evangelicals, Youth for Christ USA, Evangelical Teacher Training Association, Christian Service Brigade and several other church groups.
MacKinney and Collins believe God created the universe, and they disagree with scientists’ view that life evolved over millions of years, with humans descended from prehistoric primates.
″We feel that there is scientific evidence that supports a creation model that is censored out of public life,″ says MacKinney, 64.
Kocan, 42, said he is an evolutionist, but thinks creationism also should be taught for a balanced perspective. ″Two points of view help stimulate people,″ Kocan said. ″Evolution is in no risk of losing in a debate with creationism.″
Faber said he doesn’t have a strong stand on origin theories, but he is interested in ″increasing knowlegde of science and scientific education.″
Faber, MacKinney and Kocan all agree with LaRouche’s position that any child who has been exposed to the AIDS virus should be banned from public school. Medical experts say acquired immune deficiency syndrome is not spread through casual contact, such as occurs in a classroom.
Even if creationists and Faber won all three seats, they would still be outnumbered on the board.
″All of the board members have told me directly or indirectly that they couldn’t support the introduction of creationism or even have a committee look into it,″ MacKinney said.
However, Marie Slater, an incumbent seeking re-election, still is worried that the creationist and LaRouche candidates will divert attention from two referendums on the Nov. 3 ballot to increase the district’s property tax for general spending and approve a $20 million school building plan.
″The referendums are critical for the continuing fine education of 10,000 children in this district,″ she said.
The other two candidates, George Mulholland, and Curtis Wallace, also express concerns over the creationism and LaRouche candidates.
″Anybody has a right to run for the school board, but if they are a single-issue candidate, I can’t be very happy about that,″ said Mulholland, 51, a scientist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratoy. ″I think it’s important that people don’t use this as a platform, but, instead, are genuinely interested in the schools.″
Wallace, a 45-year-old security official for Walgreen Drug Stores, noted that Faber’s oldest child goes to a private school.
″I’m wary of him deciding things that might affect public schools and my kids,″ said Wallace, who had three children in the public school system last year. ″Creationism is getting into an area of religion that should not be in schools.″
Faber said he plans to send his children to a public high school.