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A Jewish organization is demanding an apology from a Georgia lawmaker after a memo using his name claims that evolution was a myth propagated by an ancient Jewish sect.
The Anti-Defamation League sent a letter to state Representative Ben Bridges on Thursday chastising him for writing the "highly offensive" memo, which attributes the Big Bang theory to writings in the Kabbalah.
Bridges has denied writing the memo, although one of his closest political allies, Marshall Hall, said the legislator gave him the approval to draft it.
The memo asks readers to challenge the "evolution monopoly in the schools" by logging onto Hall's anti-evolution Web site, www.fixedearth.com.
Hall, a 76-year-old former high school teacher whose wife ran Bridges's election campaign, said neither the site nor the memo is anti-Semitic. "I think they tar people with that brush a little too readily," he said.
The Jewish group, however, is unconvinced and asked Bridges to immediately 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.
"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 said. "This scenario is derived concept-for-concept from Rabbinic writings in the mystic 'holy book' Kabbala dating back at least two millennia."
Bridges has long opposed the teaching of evolution in Georgia classrooms and has introduced legislation requiring only that "scientific fact" be taught in school.