8-year-old Olivia McConnell really likes Columbian mammoths, the Southern cousin of the once-ubiquitous woolly mammoths. So much so that she went to the South Carolina legislature to put forth the Columbian mammoth as the South Carolina state fossil. Such a heartwarming story, right? Sorry. From Greenville Online:
Last week, state Sen. Kevin Bryant tried unsuccessfully to insert a Bible verse into the bill. This week, the Anderson Republican is putting forward a new amendment that refers to the animal "as created on the sixth day with the beasts of the field."
"I think it's an appropriate time to acknowledge the creator," he told The Greenville News.
That's right, South Carolina Republicans are literally fighting an 8 year old girl over whether or not S.C. should have a state fossil, and whether or not the recognition of 5 million year old mammoth fossils is an affront to God.
"And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day."
Why exactly this devotional was necessary or even remotely relevant to the adoption of a state fossil in a bill sponsored by an 8-year old, the 47-year old Kevin Bryant submitted it despite opposition. Lt. Gov Glenn McConnell ruled Bryant out of order and Sen. Mike Fair raised an objection to the proceedings, which effectively killed the bill, and little Olivia's dream/remaining faith in humanity then and there.
Fortunately, Senator Fair lived up to his name and withdrew his objection upon learning that S.C. was one of only 9 states without a state fossil, and that the opponent of faith who introduced this bill was AN 8 YEAR OLD GIRL.
But Kevin (pictured) wasn't done. Kevin doesn't like when he doesn't get his way. Kevin, who is 47, especially doesn't like when he appears to have been politically outmaneuvered by an 8 year old who just really likes Columbian mammoths, and finds it silly that her state doesn't have a state fossil.
Kevin decided he was going to hold his breath until he turned blue, and refuse to let the bill pass without a new statement acknowledging that the mammoth was created by God sometime around 7,500 years ago on the Sixth Day of Genesis with every other animal.
For the record, as Olivia McConnell will be happy to tell you, the Columbian mammoth lived from about 5 million years ago in the Pliocene epoch, up until the glacial retreat of the Holocene about 10,000 years ago. Almost all Columbian mammoths were extinct by the beginning of Biblical history. Why the hell is this still up for debate in a government legislature, and why is the 8 year old girl more knowledgeable than the 47 year old man? Kevin talked to the mean newspaper man:
Bryant said he thinks his latest amendment will pass muster as a logical extension of the bill because, "Since we're dealing with the fossil of the woolly mammoth then this amendment would deal with the beginning of the woolly mammoth."
THEY'RE NOT WOOLY MAMMOTHS KEVIN! THEY'RE COLUMBIAN MAMMOTHS OH MY GOD KEVIN YOU ARE SO DUMB KEVIN YOU ARE KILLING ME KEVIN!
For some reason, alienating people with the inclusion of religious dogma and scripture in law is okay if you include scripture that is used by more than one religion.
"The courts have upheld using Old Testament scripture because it doesn't point to a single religion," he said. "If I used text from the New Testament, if somebody challenged it in court you might lose on those grounds."
Yes, Kevin. I'm sure the Jewish community will be pleased. The state fossil bill is still in limbo, and will likely be decided along with the teaching of evolution, and whether textbooks must describe natural selection as an unproven theory alongside other "possible explanations", including the Creation myth. This Actual Thing That Is Up For Debate will go in front of the S.C. Education Oversight Committee April 28th. Let's hope the little girl gets her mammoth either way.