If you find value in religion, or Republicanism, be sure to let your friends and family know that you nevertheless don’t countenance ignorance and abortion. Yes, it’s gotten that bad.

Hello, Tom? Mammon here. Talk To Action continues its run of stunning investigative reports, reminding us of a hellhole parcel of U.S. territory on the Marianas Islands in the Pacific where where “thousands of garment workers–most of them young Chinese women–labor in indentured servitude, live in labor camps run by members of the Chinese Communist Party, and submit to forced abortions if they become pregnant. Human rights worker Eric Gregoire told ABC News, ‘With 11,000 Chinese workers here, I have never seen a Chinese garment factory worker have a baby.'”

What satanic creature would countenance such conditions–and protect them by using his power in Congress?  Recently indicted Republican Tom DeLay, that’s who—the darling of the Family Research Council, Concerned Women of America, Focus on the Family, and many other stalwarts of the religious right.

Making America safe for stupidity.  Americans are the second most ignorant country on the subject of evolution, narrowly edging out Turkey. That’s the news from political scientist Jon D. Miller–formerly of the Chicago Academy of Sciences and Northwestern University, now at Michigan State–in a paper published in the August 11 issue of Science. The original is behind a pay wall, but reasonable summaries are here and here (more spice). Oh, here’s the one-sentence abstract:

The acceptance of evolution is lower in the United States than in Japan or Europe, largely because of widespread fundamentalism and the politicization of science in the United States.”

Miller is no alarmist and no sound-bite artist (as I learned when writing up his work on scientific literacy for the Reader November 18, 1994), so when he starts talking like this I pay attention.

He and his coauthors found that “individuals who hold a strong belief in a personal God and who pray frequently were significantly less likely to view evolution as probably or definitely true,” and this effect was stronger in the United States, presumably because of political pandering (my word, not theirs):

“The conservative wing of the Republican Party has adopted creationism as a part of a platform designed to consolidate their support in southern and midwestern states—the ‘red’ states. In the 1990s, the state Republican platforms in seven states included explicit demands for the teaching of ‘creation science.’ There is no major political party in Europe or Japan that uses opposition to evolution as a part of its political platform.”

The percentage of Americans who disbelieve or doubt one of the best-established scientific frameworks for understanding our world has actually risen–from 55 to 60 percent in the last 20 years.