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Carter slams Georgia's 'evolution' proposal

Former President Jimmy Carter said he was
Former President Jimmy Carter said he was "embarrassed" by Georgia's proposal to ban the word "evolution" from the state's curriculum.

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Jimmy Carter
Kathy Cox

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Former President Jimmy Carter said Friday he was embarrassed by the Georgia Department of Education proposal to eliminate the word "evolution" from the state's curriculum.

"As a Christian, a trained engineer and scientist, and a professor at Emory University, I am embarrassed by Superintendent Kathy Cox's attempt to censor and distort the education of Georgia's students," Carter said in a written statement.

Cox explained the reasoning at a news conference on Thursday and in a statement posted on the Department of Education Web site, saying that the concepts of evolution would remain in the curriculum.

"The unfortunate truth is that 'evolution' has become a controversial buzzword that could prevent some from reading the proposed biology curriculum," Cox said in her statement.

She added: "We don't want the public or our students to get stuck on a word when the curriculum actually includes the most widely accepted theories for biology. Ironically, people have become upset about the exclusion of the word again, without having read the document."

But Carter said dropping the word would leave Georgia's high school graduates "with a serious handicap as they enter college or private life where freedom of speech will be permitted."

Carter also predicted ridicule for the state, along with discredit on Georgia's university system.

"The existing and long-standing use of the word 'evolution' in our state's textbooks has not adversely affected Georgians' belief in the omnipotence of God as creator of the universe," Carter said. "There can be no incompatibility between Christian faith and proven facts concerning geology, biology, and astronomy.

"There is no need to teach that stars can fall out of the sky and land on a flat Earth in order to defend our religious faith."

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