De-Evolution: Missouri School Officials Order Return of Band T-Shirts Showing Picture of Evolution

320px-Ape_skeletons300px-TTUbandEvolution in Sedalia, Missouri appears to be moving in reverse. The band leaders of the Smith-Cotton High School Tiger Pride Marching Band thought that they had a cute idea in showing the images of monkeys evolving into band members under the words “Brass Evolutions 2009.” Parents and teachers objected that evolution (a scientific theory) was advancing a “religious” viewpoint. Amazingly, the school agreed and ordered the t-shirts turned in by the students.

The Darwinistas who undermined the science-phobic parents were Assistant Band Director Brian Kloppenburg and Band Director Jordan Summers. They were probably laboring under the odd idea that the a scientific theory was a perfectly appropriate image for a school, particularly given the new programs based on “Brass Evolutions.”

When the band marched in the Missouri State Fair, the complaints began from parents who believe that evolution is a myth and contradicts the teachings of the Bible.

Yielding to such extreme views, Assistant Superintendent Brad Pollitt ordered the t-shirts returned. It was a remarkably dim-witted decision that caved to religious objections on a matter of a scientific reference. It accomplished the very thing that these parents complained about: allowing religious values to shape a school decision.

Pollitt insisted that he had to take the action because the school was required to stay neutral on religious issues. However, evolution is not a barred religious doctrine or theory. Extremists want to make evolution into a religious question, but it is not. If the parents started to object to pictures of Freud from an anti-psychiatry view of Scientology, would Pollitt order their removal? How about if Evangelical Christians object (as they did in Texas) to pictures showing the Moon as illuminated by reflective light, would he take down the posters? How about pictures showing the Earth aging more than 6000 years, another fact disputed recently by religious politicians and parents (here).

225px-Charles_Darwin_seated180px-Christ_Carrying_the_Cross_1580Pollitt insists that “If the shirts had said ‘Brass Resurrections’ and had a picture of Jesus on the cross, we would have done the same thing.” Well, the problem is that Darwin was a scientist and Jesus is a religious figure.

Nevertheless, District teacher and Band parent Sherry Melby was one of those objecting and stated “I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school.” Evolution should not be associated with her high school? The statement only demonstrates how Pollitt used a claim of neutrality on religious to enforce a religious belief. Melby may want her children to be scientifically illiterate, but public education requires students to be educated on scientific facts. If Melby and others want their children to be sequestered from science, they can go to any number of religious schools that teach only creationism.

Notably, the school song proclaims:

“Majestic structure, thing of beauty, in a class you stand alone. You don’t know just how we love you, for you’re made of stone.
You’re a monument to learning, and our hearts swell up with pride. As we stand and look you over, end to end and side to side.
May you send forth men and maidens worthy of the highest fame. Filled with knowledge and ambition, making for themselves a name.
May we ever do you honor, As we each go on our way. While all happy memories linger, till the closing of our day.”

Well, it turns out that many parents want to “send forth men and maidens” “filled with knowledge’ with the exception of a few details like evolution. Not exactly a “monument to learning” for all of those “maidens.”

In the meantime, someone needs to look at how teachers in this town evolve into positions of authority when they are clearly uninformed on the law and policy governing neutrality on religious questions. The comparison of a picture of evolution to a picture of Jesus shows either a lack of understanding or a hidden bias. Either way, the decision is wrong and has the Smith-Cotton High School Tiger Pride Band marching to a creationist tune.

For the full story, click here.

61 thoughts on “De-Evolution: Missouri School Officials Order Return of Band T-Shirts Showing Picture of Evolution”

  1. As the creators and producers of the art work….

    I see several suggestions that this design be put on Cafe Press. Even if you change the name of the school it would be a violation of federal copyright.
    We, Main Street Logo, received suggestions as to what the theme of this shirt should be, with attached designs of which some were copyrighted or trade marked. The teacher was aware and informed us of that issue. Those graphics were not used.
    Everything on this item is from purchased art that we have the right to use and profit from.
    This art work is property of and holds a copyright of Main Street Logo, Main Street INC.
    We are working on release and sale of this shirt and art work in several types of media. Our contact information We can also be found on facebook, mainstreetlogo.
    Any copies or changes to this design except by the creator, Main Street INC will be treated as a violation of federal law.

  2. Indentured Servant,

    Where is the GOP on the scale of evolution? I have yet to see them evolve. But I do like the fish with the darwin in it. Am I close?

  3. David,

    I’m afraid you’re lacking in a basic concept of what scientists mean when they call something a theory. You also have a very wrong view of what the Theory of Evolution actually says.

    If you’re interested in a discussion about what proof does or does not exist for evolution, I’m more then willing to engage in that. However, you seem more like the kind that likes shouting into the wind about how right they are.


    I’m not sure what you mean. As far as I know, nobody is out there saying environmental pressure causes mutation.

  4. David:

    I do find it hard to believe that a land animal turned into a whale by virtue of environmental pressure. Fruit flies over thousands of generations dont become cockroaches.

    But there is a progression in the fossil record and so something is going on to make these changes. Personally I think it might be a virus or some other pathogen that caused mutations in DNA.

    Hundreds of millions of years is a long time and if a whale lives around 150 years it would be hundreds of thousands if not millions of generations.

  5. David,

    “Scientific theory” does not equal “scientific fact”! In truth, . . . .

    The second irony here is that black people find it offensive to being compared to other primates, but yet 74% with post-graduate degrees believe that all people descended from chimps.

    BTW, 39% of Americans believe in evolution vs. 91% of Americans believe in God.

    You had me until these statistics, where did you get them? The math does not add up. I also have concern with 74% with post-graduate degree. . . .

    Is that Whites or minorities?

    Then 39% of Americans vs 91 believe in God? math is bad. Just link it up. Yes, I am a Doubting Thomas

  6. “Scientific theory” does not equal “scientific fact”! In truth, there isn’t anything scientific about evolution. There is absolutely no proof of evolution. It’s not even at the theory state; it’s still in the hypothesis state because evolution has not been verified.

    The first irony here is that many “intelligent, educated” people rely on evolution like it has been proved. It’s more disproved because natural selection just isn’t reality. Why would there be monkeys now if they were suppose to have evolved into humans? Why are there “ugly” people, “dumb” people, people born with disabilities/defects, etc. if natural selection was true?

    The second irony here is that black people find it offensive to being compared to other primates, but yet 74% with post-graduate degrees believe that all people descended from chimps.

    BTW, 39% of Americans believe in evolution vs. 91% of Americans believe in God.

  7. good then for this mother who thinks science has no place in high school. this means that there is a whole high school, perhaps a whole state, whose kids will not be competing for admissions into colleges and universities and after that, jobs.
    I wonder what Sherry Melby imagines her kids will do after the graduate from high school… become baptist pastors? teach at some church school?
    I know what they won’t be doing… they won’t be going to any college where what they learned in high school is basis for admissions.
    this is bad news for kids who may have aspired to some profession where a college education is required but very good news for other kids who can get better SAT and ACT scores and know that all education is a good thing.

  8. Mike Appleton:

    Since DeCartes was Catholic he would think thought divinely inspired. So I guess it would have to go as supporting a belief in God.

    So what you are saying is that this school system would actually throw thinking out of the public schools? I think it has already been done years ago.

  9. My high school alma mater – I’m glad that people are still willing to make interesting comments using t-shirts en masse. If some of the people who are complaining about teaching evolution in a high school, they probably had the same biology teacher I had, who, by the way, was my mother’s drivers’ education instructor.

  10. JT,

    You’re sailing into troubled waters here. Anything involving High-school Marching Bands is a serious subject. Your flippant attitude just shows a lack of respect for the greatest form of musical entertainment.

  11. Why not have the band try some t-shirts with “Cogito, ergo sum” silk screened across the chest to see how that plays?

  12. The band pictured is the Texas Tech marching band. Is this an Alberto Gonzalez joke?

    1. Indeed, Bentley, I could not locate a single public domain picture of those dazzling Darwinistas of the Smith-Cotton High School Tiger Pride Marching Band. You will have to image this marching band on an evolutionary scale.

  13. If they’re worried about “other religions” they shouldn’t let their kid be in a Marching band.

  14. Reminds me of its neighbor state, directly to the East of TN MO. This article is interesting even if not true. The state authorized the student Textbooks. The teacher actually the Coach and sometimes principal subbed in one day for a teacher and was encouraged by a wealthy business man to violate the “Butler Act” which prohibited the teaching of evolution in a public school. It was an all star defense and prosecution team for the time. Scopes was convicted and The TN Sct dismissed it on a technicality.

    Interesting read.


  15. “It accomplished the very thing that these parents complained about: allowing religious values to shape a school decision. ”
    Reminds me of the influence of Dante “Earliest manuscripts
    According to the Italian Dante Society, no original manuscript written by Dante has survived, though there are many manuscript copies from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries – more than 825 are listed on their site.[8] The oldest belongs to the 1330s, almost a decade after Dante’s death. The most precious ones are the three full copies made by Giovanni Boccaccio (1360s), who himself did not have the original manuscript as a source.”

    I guess it is what they want it to be. Hmmmm. Not much has changed here!


    On June 22, 1633, a Vatican Inquisition passed down judgment on Galileo Galilei for his writings and teaching of the Copernicus Theory.

    Weak and unhealthy at age 70, Galileo was unable to defend charges that he had contradicted the church’s earlier ruling or remember what it had said, according to the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. At the mercy of the Inquisition, the Church body charged with seeking out heretics, Galileo endured a trial that lasted months before finally being ordered to renounce his views.

    The trial signaled a debate between the church and science that has lasted centuries.


    So the conclusion I reach is not much has really changed…..The debate still “Rages on.”

Comments are closed.