S.C. - Eight-year-old Olivia McConnell’s idea to have the woolly mammoth become the state fossil of South Carolina is being blocked by a senator, who wants to amend the proposed bill to emphasize God created all creatures.
When eight-year-old Olivia McConnell was perusing a menu at a restaurant that features all 50 of the official symbols of her home state of South Carolina, she noticed a glaring vacancy. South Carolina has a State American Folk Dance, a State Grass, a State Opera, even a State Lowcountry Handcraft, but McConnell thought something was missing: a state fossil.
The third grader at Carolina Academy wrote a letter to her state lawmakers, Rep. Robert Ridgeway and Sen. Kevin Johnson, in a bid to give the woolly mammoth that honor. Olivia has sound reasons behind her nomination: One of the first discoveries of a fossil in North America was that of a woolly mammoth’s teeth, dug up by slaves on a South Carolina plantation in 1725; all but seven states have an official state fossil; and, most adorably, “Fossils tell us about our past.”
Unfortunately for McConnell’s proposal, a pair of state senators are blocking her move to honor the furry fossil.
After Ridgeway and Johnson introduced a bill to amend the state’s code to include the Columbian Mammoth as the official state fossil of South Carolina, the state House passed it 94-3.
The state Senate hasn’t been so accommodating.
Sen. Kevin Bryant, a pharmacist and self-described born-again Christian proposed amending the bill to include three verses from the Book of Genesis detailing God’s creation of the Earth and its living inhabitants—including mammoths.
“I think it’s a good idea to designate the mammoth as the state fossil, I don’t have a problem with that. I just felt like it’d be a good thing to acknowledge the creator of the fossils.”
Bryant has since submitted a more on-topic amendment, describing the Columbian Mammoth “as created on the Sixth Day with the beasts of the field.”
Bryant himself sees the connection some people might make between his move to include the divine nature of the woolly mammoth in the bill. “I do support the teaching of intelligent design.”
For now, the bill is on hold, and McConnell is getting a lesson in state politics.
Perhaps a compromise can be reached: South Carolina’s official state fossil should be Senator Kevin Bryant. He may not be from the Pliocene Era, but his views sure are.