A Jewish organization is demanding an apology from a Georgia legislator for a memo that says the teaching of evolution should be banned because it is a myth propagated by an ancient Jewish sect.
State Rep. Ben Bridges denies writing the memo, which attributes the Big Bang theory to Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism.
Bridges has long opposed the teaching of evolution in Georgia classrooms and has introduced legislation requiring only that 'scientific fact' be taught.
Marshall Hall, president of the Fair Education Foundation, says the Republican lawmaker gave him approval to write the memo, which has been distributed to legislators in several states, including California and Texas.
The memo asks readers to challenge the 'evolution monopoly in the schools' by logging onto Hall's anti-evolution Web site, http://www.fixedearth.com.
'Indisputable evidence _ long hidden but now available to everyone _ demonstrates conclusively that so-called 'secular evolution science' is the Big Bang, 15-billion-year, alternate 'creation scenario' of the Pharisee Religion,' says the memo, which has Bridges' name on it. 'This scenario is derived concept-for-concept from Rabbinic writings in the mystic 'holy book' Kabbala dating back at least two millennia.'
The Anti-Defamation League sent a letter to Bridges on Thursday chastising him for the memo and demanding him to apologize.
'Your memo conjures up repugnant images of Judaism used for thousands of years to smear the Jewish people as cult-like and manipulative,' wrote Bill Nigut, the league's Southeast regional director.
The league sent a similar letter to a Texas lawmaker who circulated the memo to members of the Texas Legislature's budget-writing committee.
State Rep. Warren Chisum told The Dallas Morning News in Thursday editions he was trying to do a 'Good Samaritan' deed for Bridges. 'If that's a sin, well, shoot me,' he told the newspaper.
But in a letter to Mark Brisman, director of the league's North Texas/Oklahoma chapter, he wrote, 'I sincerely regret that I did not take the time to carefully review these materials and recognize that I may have hurt or offended some groups including some of my dear friends,' according to The New York Times.
Hall, a 76-year-old retired high school teacher who said his wife ran Bridges' election campaign, said neither the memo nor his Web site is anti-Semitic. 'I think they tar people with that brush a little too readily,' he said.