Texas Citizens for Science

THE WARREN CHISUM-BEN BRIDGES MEMO CONTROVERSY

Special Report
on
Anti-Science and Anti-Semitism in Texas
by Steven Schafersman, TCS President
February 16, 2007

The odious Texas Representative Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, Chairman of the Texas House Appropriations Committee, distributed a disturbing anti-science and anti-Semitic memo to the other members of the Texas House of Representatives on Friday, February 9, 2007. Not content with repeated attempts to impose his radical religious right agenda on the citizens of Texas by trying to legislate religious school vouchers and requiring all public schools to offer a Bible course, promoting the teaching of creationism in science classes and abstinence-only sex education in health classes, sponsoring a Constitutional amendment to ban gay and lesbian marriage and civil unions in Texas, giving priority to heterosexuals over gay and lesbian families to provide care to foster children, and attempting to return the full powers to censor textbooks to the State Board of Education (see House Bills 220 and 2534 Will Return Texas to Its Dark Ages), Rep. Chisum sunk to a new low of bigotry by distributing a memo--reproduced below--of State Representative Ben Bridges, Republican of Georgia, that advocates young-Earth creationism, geocentricity, a non-rotating and non-revolving Earth, and attributes evolutionary biology to a conspiracy of Jewish "Kabbalists" documented in ancient "Rabbinic writings." The late journalist Molly Ivins referred to Chisum as "the Bible-thumping dwarf from Pampa," referring both literally to his physical and and figuratively to his moral stature, so this episode certainly confirms that characterization.

Ben Bridges' memo contains anti-science and anti-Semitic rants against evolution and other sciences. It obtained its information from a creationist-geocentric Earth website of the self-named Fair Education Foundation, Marshall Hall, President. Hall's wife is Bridges' campaign manager. The website condemns the "Copernican and Darwinian Myths" of heliocentricism and evolutionary biology. Bridges' memo claims that biological evolution has a "religious agenda," a common claim of creationists. Unusually, however, the memo claims the religion is a sect of Judaism, the "Pharisee Religion," as proven by its mystic "holy book," the Kabbala. Creationists always claim the religious basis of evolution is the "religion" of secular humanism, so Chisum, Bridge, and Hall are certainly promoting a new twist on the origin of biological evolution, although not one recognized by historians of science.

Marshall Hall presents the classic case of an obsessive and paranoid Biblical literalist. In a bizarre exposition that can be found at http://www.fixedearth.com/HB 179 PART III ADDENDUM.htm, Hall attributes evolutionary biology, modern physics, and the Big Bang theory to a scientific conspiracy composed of Jewish physicists, NASA administrators, media moguls, and "Kabbalist-friendly scientists." Hall believes modern secular science is false , something he calls "Kabbalic 'science,'" and the "stated theological mission of Talmud/Kabbala-based Judaism is to destroy the credibility of Jesus and Bible-based Christianity." Hall engages in the most derogatory form of personal bigotry by singling out Jewish scientists, such as "Kabbalist" Carl Sagan and "Kabbalist Geologist/Biologist" Stephen Jay Gould, for their work in promoting evolutionary science. Next, Hall rails against Jewish physicists who have won a higher percentage of Nobel Prizes than the percentage of Jews in the population. From this, he wonders

if there is some incredibly rare merging of "coincidence" at work in this steady progression of "scientific" discoveries which just happen to have succeeded in transferring the evolution-based Kabbalic "creation-scenario" of the Pharisee Religion into textbook "science."

Hall's writing is practically incoherent, jumping quickly from subject to subject, with different sizes and colors of fonts and yellow highlighting, obviously the work of a disturbed mind. Why a Texas State Legislator would want to promote this dangerous and bigoted nonsense is a cause for concern.

Rep. Chisum has never hidden his contempt for the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution, for reliable and accurate science education, for gay people and their Constitutional rights, and for sexually-active teenagers, but anti-Semitism is a new public expression of his character. His willingness to work for every radical religious right-wing ideology and cause is no doubt what earned Rep. Chisum the job of Appropriations Committee Chairman, appointed to that position by equally reprehensible Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, who shares Rep. Chisum's radical ideological agenda and religious beliefs. To make room for the radical Chisum, Speaker Craddick removed the competent, fair, and traditionally conservative Jim Pitts of Waxahachie, Texas, who challenged Craddick for the House Speakership, but lost and suffered the expected punishment of relegation. The Appropriations Committee chairmanship is the second-most powerful job in the Texas House of Representatives, so the top two Texas Representatives have now made clear their intent to promote their radical right-wing religious ideology using the machinery of the state. This incident proves another observation of Molly Ivins, who noted that whenever the Texas Legislature is in session, villages all over Texas temporarily lose their idiots.

In a February 15 Dallas Morning News new report (reprinted below), Rep. Chisum says, "The stuff that causes conflicts between religious beliefs, you know, I'd never be a party to that. I'm willing to apologize if I've offended anyone." He also admitted he had not visited the Fixed Earth website and actually read the garbage on it. That's so special. Rep. Chisum should visit the website, understand what he's done, and then apologize to people of Jewish ethnicity or religion, since he has said he's willing to do it. And while he's apologizing, Chisum should apologize to the scientists, science teachers, and science students of Texas for promoting creationist pseudoscientific nonsense. He hasn't said he's willing to apologize for that, but he should.

It is the responsibility of Texas Citizens for Science to inform the public about their elected officials who have the power to damage science education in Texas by publicizing this controversy. Please see the Fair Use statement at the bottom of the page.


THE MEMOS



NEWS REPORTS AND BLOGS

Memo: Stop teaching evolution

Georgia lawmaker's plea comes to Texas through No. 2 in House


By ROBERT T. GARRETT / rtgarrett@dallasnews.com
The Dallas Morning News
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/DN-evolution_14tex.ART.State.Edition1.298e1cb.html

AUSTIN – The second most powerful member of the Texas House has circulated a Georgia lawmaker's call for a broad assault on teaching of evolution.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, used House operations Tuesday to deliver a memo from Georgia state Rep. Ben Bridges.

The memo assails what it calls "the evolution monopoly in the schools."

Mr. Bridges' memo claims that teaching evolution amounts to indoctrinating students in an ancient Jewish sect's beliefs.

"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," writes Mr. Bridges, a Republican from Cleveland, Ga. He has argued against teaching of evolution in Georgia schools for several years.

He then refers to a Web site, www.fixedearth.com, that contains a model bill for state Legislatures to pass to attack instruction on evolution as an unconstitutional establishment of religion.

Mr. Bridges also supplies a link to a document that describes scientists Carl Sagan and Albert Einstein as "Kabbalists" and laments "Hollywood's unrelenting role in flooding the movie theaters with explicit or implicit endorsement of evolutionism."

Mr. Chisum said he knows Mr. Bridges from their joint service on a committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

"That is a courtesy to a member of the Georgia legislature, is all that is," said Mr. Chisum, a social conservative who opposes abortion rights and wants the state to prefer heterosexuals over gays and lesbians in recruiting foster parents. He authored the 2005 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Mr. Chisum was asked if Mr. Bridges' memo reflects his own views.

"No, absolutely, although I'm a Christian, and I believe in creation," he said. Creation science is the idea that the Earth was created in six days some 6,000 years ago.

"You ought to teach creation as well as the fact of evolution," Mr. Chisum said, though he said "all of those kinds of sciences have holes in them. ... But I'm not about teaching religion in schools."


Editorial

Not in Kansas anymore

Just when Kansas returns science to the classroom, Rep. Chisum tries to goad Texas toward Dark Ages.

Feb. 15, 2007
Houston Chronicle
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/4557923.html

It started off as a such a good week — both for science and for the American students who must understand it to compete with their peers abroad. The Kansas Board of Education finally joined most of the United States in accepting the teaching of evolution in public schools.

Then Texas' own state Rep. Warren Chisum, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, had to mail colleagues a freakish memo denouncing evolution as a religious plot disseminated by one "Pharisee Religion."

The mix of nonsense, free-floating anti-Semitism, misuse of power and seeming obliviousness to all of the above were like a dip into the Dark Ages.

Evolutionary science, Chisum's memorandum told lawmakers, was the creation of "Rabbinic writings" in the "mystic holy book Kabbala." As such, the memo went on in a medley of type fonts, underlined sentences and misplaced capitals, teaching evolution in public school violates the Constitution.

The document linked to Web sites including "fixedearth.com," which asserts that Earth is the center of the universe. Chillingly, the links also offer overtly anti-Semitic rants, contending that evolutionary science supports a "centuries-old" Jewish conspiracy against Christian teachings.

Circulated under Chisum's letterhead as Appropriations Committee chairman, the memo actually was penned by Rep. Ben Bridges of the Georgia Legislature. "I ... greatly appreciate his information on this important topic," Chisum assured his Texas colleagues.

Chisum has offered — wanly — to apologize about the Jewish references.

Unsavory as they were, though, the memo's incoherent ravings about rabbis and Kabbala may not be its most dangerous offense. Most literate people know the Hebrew Bible and rabbinical writers as the sources for Judeo-Christian accounts of Creation. Chisum's far-fetched theology doesn't quite track.

But recent events in Kansas do show how religious agendas can distort education and economic decisions. Until this week, Kansas was known internationally for high school science class guidelines that challenged evolutionary science.

Voters resolutely routed the guilty Education Board in the last election. The new members have restored Kansas' science class guidelines to the scientific mainstream.

In Kansas, as elsewhere, battles over evolution have been fought by advocates of "intelligent design," who urged that science teachers introduce theological assumptions as if they were hypotheses based on empirical observation. The campaign took what might be a mortal wound last year in Dover, Pa., when a federal district judge ruled teaching creationism in science classes was unconstitutional. Kansas seemed the last redoubt of this campaign — until Rep. Chisum revived it.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Chisum said he's "willing to apologize" about his references to Jews. He said he didn't know about the ranting on the memo's recommended Web sites.

But presumably he knew, and liked, the preposterous contents of his memo itself. It's hard to know what's worse: Chisum's careless spreading of words he condemns — or his unremorseful promotion of ideas that would fling Texas' students and economy years behind their competitors.


Warren Chisum: Science is a religion, too

SciGuy
Science Blog by Eric Berger
Houston Chronicle
February 15, 2007
http://blogs.chron.com/sciguy/archives/2007/02/warren_chisum_h.html

Warren Chisum is a powerful and influential member of the Texas House of Representatives who hails from Pampa. He also clearly is a man of strong faith.

Last Friday Chisum circulated a memo to all members of the Texas House. Included were a cover page (see pop-up scan here) and a letter from Ben Bridges, a Georgia state representative (see pop-up scan here). The gist of the message is that teaching evolution in U.S. schools is unlawful. It is time, they say, for the "evolution monopoly" in schools to end.

If you have a reasonable understanding of science, this is all completely ludicrous, but let me walk you through the argument proposed by Bridges and Chisum anyway. In 2004 Judge John E. Jones, a Republican church-goer, ruled that teaching intelligent design in schools violated the constitutional separation of church and state. The central thesis of the Bridges-Chisum argument is that evolution science is also based on religion, and therefore is also unconstitutional. Here's a quote from the memo:

All of that can now be changed! 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. This scenario is derived concept-for-concept from Rabbinic writings in the mystic "holy book" Kabbala dating back at least two millennia.

I know, it's a completely overwhelming argument. However, if you're still doubting -- which I find hard to believe -- the Bridges-Chisum memo says all of the supporting information can be found on the Fixed Earth Web site, where you can also find indisputable evidence that Copernicus was wrong, and the Sun actually rotates around the Earth. (Phil Plait is ready to debate geocentrism, if there are any takers.)

This would all be really funny if the Texas legislature didn't have some sway over the State Board of Education (which is subject to the Sunset Law) and if Chisum weren't a powerful Rep (he's chairman of the Appropriations Committee.) The Texas House could pass a bill ordering the board to stop teaching evolution, or perhaps Chisum could easily enough lean on some of the board's more conservative members to take action.

The fact is Chisum and Bridges are not only wrong about the science, they're in a position to act upon their stunning ignorance of science. I'm all for religion, but suggesting that teaching evolution in "is causing incalculable harm to every student and every truth-loving citizen" strays much too far beyond the realm of faith into that of rational lawmaking.


Anti-evolution memo stirs controversy

By Jeremy Redmon
Thursday, February 15, 2007
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
http://www.ajc.com/blogs/content/shared-blogs/ajc/georgia/entries/2007/02/15/antievolution_m.html

The Anti-Defamation League is calling on state Rep. Ben Bridges to apologize for a memo distributed under his name that says the teaching of evolution should be banned in public schools because it is a religious deception stemming from an ancient Jewish sect.

Bridges (R-Cleveland) denies having anything to do with the memo. But one of his constituents said he wrote the memo with Bridges’ approval before it was recently distributed to lawmakers in several states, including Texas, California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

“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,” the memo says. “This scenario is derived concept-for-concept from Rabbinic writings in the mystic ‘holy book’ Kabbala dating back at least two millennia.”

The memo calls on lawmakers to introduce legislation that would end the teaching of evolution in public schools because it is “a deception that is causing incalculable harm to every student and every truth-loving citizen.”

It also directs readers to a Web site www.fixedearth.com, which includes model legislation that calls the Kabbala “a mystic, anti-Christ ‘holy book’ of the Pharisee Sect of Judaism.” The Web site also declares “the earth is not rotating … nor is it going around the sun.”

The Anti-Defamation League says the assertions in the memo border on anti-Semitism.

“Your memo conjures up repugnant images of Judaism used for thousands of years to smear the Jewish people as cult-like and manipulative,” Bill Nigut, the ADL’s Southeast regional director, wrote in an e-mail to Bridges Thursday. “I am shocked and appalled that you would send this anti-Semitic material to colleagues and friends, and call upon you to repudiate and apologize for distributing this highly offensive memo.”

Bridges denied writing or authorizing the memo.

“I did not put it out nor did I know it was going out,” Bridges said. “I’m not defending it or taking up for it.”

The memo directs supporters to call Marshall Hall, president of the Fair Education Foundation Inc., a Cornelia, Ga.-based organization that seeks to show evolution is a myth. Hall said he showed Bridges the text of the memo and got his permission to distribute it.

“I gave him a copy of it months ago,” said Hall, a retired high school teacher. “I had already written this up as an idea to present to him so he could see what it was and what we were thinking.”

Hall said his wife Bonnie has served as Bridges’ campaign manager since 1996.

Bridges acknowledged that he talked to Hall about filing legislation this year that would end the teaching of evolution in Georgia’s public schools. Bridges said the views in the memo belong to Hall, though Bridges said he doesn’t necessarily disagree with them.

“I agree with it more than I would the Big Bang Theory or the Darwin Theory,” Bridges said. “I am convinced that rather than risk teaching a lie why teach anything?”

Bridges sponsored unsuccessful legislation in 2005 that would have required Georgia’s teachers to introduce scientific evidence challenging evolution.

Asked about the ADL’s call for an apology, Bridges said: “I regret that these people have been offended, but I didn’t offend them because I didn’t put the memo out.”

A Texas lawmaker says he is now “willing to apologize” for giving fellow legislators the memo Tuesday, The Dallas Morning News reported today.

“The stuff that causes conflicts between religious beliefs, you know, I’d never be a party to that,” Texas House Appropriations Chairman Warren Chisum told the Morning News Wednesday. “I’m willing to apologize if I’ve offended anyone.”

The newspaper reported Chisum made his comments after he learned the Anti-Defamation League was demanding an apology in a letter to his office.

The National Center for Science Education, an Oakland, Calif.-based organization that defends the teaching of evolution in public schools, said the assertion that evolution is linked to an ancient Jewish sect is “bizarre.”

“Evolution is recognized as a central unifying principle of the biological sciences by the scientific community and the education community,” said Glenn Branch, the center’s deputy director.


Chisum contrite over memo

Legislature: Group says evolution handout contains anti-Semitic material

By KAREN BROOKS and ROBERT T. GARRETT / The Dallas Morning News
Thursday, February 15, 2007
http://www.wfaa.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/politics/local/stories/DN-chisum_15tex.ART.State.Edition1.2063416.html

AUSTIN – House Appropriations Chairman Warren Chisum said Wednesday that he's "willing to apologize" for giving colleagues a document that contains what the Anti-Defamation League called "outrageous anti-Semitic material."

"The stuff that causes conflicts between religious beliefs, you know, I'd never be a party to that," Mr. Chisum said. "I'm willing to apologize if I've offended anyone."

Mr. Chisum's comments came after he learned that the Anti-Defamation League, which works against anti-Semitism and other forms of hate, was demanding "a repudiation and apology" in a letter to his office. He said he hadn't seen the letter late Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the Pampa Republican distributed a memo written by Georgia GOP Rep. Ben Bridges to Texas House members' mailboxes. The memo advocated that schools stop teaching evolution and contained links to a Web site that warns of international Jewish conspiracies. It also directed readers to the group that created the Web site – the Atlanta-area Fair Education Foundation.

Mr. Chisum said he hadn't looked at the Web site and didn't realize that he was distributing that type of material. He expressed chagrin that he didn't vet the material more carefully.

He said he believes creation and evolution should both be taught in schools, and he separated himself from what he called "goofy stuff" on the Web site.

"I did not go to the Web site, which I understood maybe I should've done," he said.

League officials said they also sent a letter to Mr. Bridges' office and are investigating whether the document has been distributed in any other statehouses across the country.

"I've been director here for almost 31 years," said Mark Briskman, director of the league's North Texas chapter. "I've not remembered anything of a similar nature."

The memo points to "indisputable evidence" that "evolution science has a very specific religious agenda" and refers readers to a Web site that asserts the universe revolves around the earth. It also suggests that Jewish physicists are part of the force behind a "centuries-old conspiracy" to destroy the Christian teachings of Earth's origins.

The sentiments brought criticism Wednesday from some social conservatives, liberals and Jewish House members from both parties.

"I don't agree with bashing Jews, that's for sure. I don't agree with bashing any ethnic or religious group," said Rep. Charlie Howard, a Sugar Land Republican and one of the House's staunchest religious conservatives.

Rep. Scott Hochberg, a Jewish Democrat from Houston, said he was disturbed by the memo and the "nonsensical, anti-Semitic rant" in the Web site – but that he believed Mr. Chisum's statement that he was "blindsided."

"I take him at his word," Mr. Hochberg said.

Mr. Chisum said all he thought he was doing was "a Good Samaritan" deed for a fellow legislator.

"If that's a sin, well, shoot me."

kmbrooks@dallasnews.com,

rtgarrett@dallasnews.com


Rep. Bridges: Evolution is the product of a Pharisee Jew conspiracy

Josh Marshall
Talking Points Memo Blog
February 15, 2007
http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/012504.php

It's times like these you've just got to miss that dear lady Molly Ivins.

Meet our new friend, Georgia State House Rep. Ben Bridges (R), chairman of the retirement committee in the state house.

Bridges is now in a bit of trouble for spilling the beans about evolution being the product of a Pharisee Jew conspiracy to bamboozle normal Americans and destroy Christianity.

“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,” reads the letter that went out under Bridges' name. “This scenario is derived concept-for-concept from Rabbinic writings in the mystic ‘holy book’ Kabbala dating back at least two millennia.”

It seems that the actual author or analyst, I guess you might say, was a fellow named Marshall Hall, the husband of Bridges campaign manager, Bonnie Hall. Then they sent it out over Bridges' signature to state legislators in Texas, California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Ohio. And they didn't stop by letting the cat out of the bag on evolution. They also blew the whistle on all this hokum about the earth revolving around the Sun.

Barnes' memo pointed fellow state legislators to the information at fixedearth.com which rails against the “a mystic, anti-Christ ‘holy book’ of the Pharisee Sect of Judaism” and claims that “the earth is not rotating … nor is it going around the sun.” They've even caught on to the "centuries-old conspiracy" on the part of Jewish physicists to destroy Christianity.

Now, it was down in Texas that things started to spin out of control. Warren Chisum (R), House Appropriations Committee Chairman in the Texas state House, took the memo from his friend Bridges and used the House operations system to distribute the memo throughout the legislature. (Here's Chisum's cover letter and the Bridges' memo.)
http://blogs.chron.com/sciguy/archives/ChisumPageOne.html
http://blogs.chron.com/sciguy/archives/ChisumPageTwo.html

The ADL caught wind of the Bridges memo and now Chisum says he's "willing to apologize if I've offended anyone" if anyone got their big nose bent out of shape.

Reports the Dallas Morning News: "Mr. Chisum said he hadn't looked at the Web site and didn't realize that he was distributing that type of material. He expressed chagrin that he didn't vet the material more carefully."

Indeed, even Bridges is now saying that he didn't have anything to do with the memo.

Hall doesn't agree. He said he wrote it and got Bridges' approval to send it out. "I gave him a copy of it months ago,” Hall, who is a retired high school teacher told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “I had already written this up as an idea to present to him so he could see what it was and what we were thinking.” And of course the two have teamed up to ban the teaching of evolution in Georgia back in 2005. So, Bridges' denials are ringing a tad hollow.

And the views expressed in his memo are just too compelling for Bridges to deny outright.

Asked if he agreed with the Kaballah evolution conspiracy theory and the earth's lack of motion, he told the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “I agree with it more than I would the Big Bang Theory or the Darwin Theory. I am convinced that rather than risk teaching a lie why teach anything?”

(ed.note: Additional research provided by Eric Kleefeld.)


Lawmaker Apologizes for Memo Linking Evolution and Jewish Texts

By RALPH BLUMENTHAL
February 17, 2007
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/17/us/17texas.html

HOUSTON, Feb. 16 — A leader of the Texas House of Representatives apologized Friday for circulating an appeal to ban the teaching of evolution as derived from “Rabbinic writings” and other Jewish texts.

“I had no intention to offend anyone,” said the lawmaker, Warren Chisum, a Republican from the Panhandle who is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Mr. Chisum said he had received the information from Ben Bridges, a Georgia legislator, and “I never took it very seriously.”

On Feb. 9, Mr. Chisum, 68, an 18-year veteran of the House and second in power only to the speaker, Tom Craddick, sent a memorandum to all 149 other state representatives in Texas.

The one-page memorandum, marked “From: Representative Ben Bridges,” declared that “tax-supported evolution science” was based on religion and therefore unlawful under the United States Constitution.

It continued, “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.”

“This scenario,” the memorandum stated, “is derived concept-for-concept from Rabbinic writings on the mystic ‘holy book’ kabbala dating back at least two millennia.”

The memorandum said that inquiries could be directed to the Fair Education Foundation, a group in Georgia, and gave its Web address, fixedearth.com. The site features items belittling the Holocaust and portraying Earth as stationary as depicted in the Bible, with Jewish thinkers like “Kabbalist physicist Albert Einstein” responsible for contrary scientific theories.

Representative Bridges, a five-term Republican from Cleveland, Ga., northeast of Atlanta, did not return calls to his legislative office on Friday.

The president of the Fair Education Foundation, Marshall Hall, said he had sent the memorandum to Mr. Chisum at the request of Mr. Bridges, whom he called a longtime friend and supporter. Mr. Chisum, in a letter accompanying the memorandum, said he distributed the memorandum “on behalf of” Representative Bridges. He said he knew Mr. Bridges through the National Conference of State Legislatures “and greatly appreciate his information on this important topic.”

The memorandum was condemned by some Texas lawmakers and by the Anti-Defamation League.

In a letter to Mr. Chisum dated Feb. 14, Mark L. Briskman, director of the league’s North Texas-Oklahoma regional office, said, “We are shocked and appalled that you would share this outrageous anti-Semitic material with your colleagues in the Texas House.”

Questioned Friday about his apparent endorsement of the memorandum, Mr. Chisum appeared to back away from it. “I read it, but he didn’t ask me to edit his memo,” he said. “It does not reflect my opinion.”

In a letter to Mr. Briskman, Mr. Chisum 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.”

Mr. Chisum said he had “engaged” a Jewish colleague, former Representative Steven D. Wolens, a Democrat, to intercede on his behalf.

Mr. Wolens, a lawyer who is married to the mayor of Dallas, Laura Miller, confirmed that he would. “I always found him respectful to me and people of the Jewish faith,” Mr. Wolens said.


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Texas Citizens for Science
Last updated: 2007/02/17