It’s official. Tennessee has won the national competition for dumbest state in the union.

The race was close this year. Alabama, as usual, put up a good fight. Arizona, with its emphasis on shooting unarmed immigrants, and Michigan, where the Governor was empowered to cancel the results of local elections and take over any city or town he wanted to, were surprisingly tough competitors. Florida, by electing George Zimmerman Lt. Governor, and pissing on Ozzie Guillen, made a good run down the stretch. But when the dust settled, nothing and nobody could top Tennessee.

The state legislature has now passed a modification of its sex education law, called a ‘family life instruction’, which warns against “gateway sexual activity.”

You may have though that sexuality was a personal matter, especially among self-described conservatives, but that just shows how wrong you can be.

The law describes what teachers in the public schools may not do in health education instruction. Among the proscribed activities is hand-holding. Any instructor who violates this prohibition may be sued by a “parent or guardian (who) shall have a cause of action against the instructor... for actual damages.” That’s going to be one hell of a trial, suing a teacher for demonstrating hand-holding because, as a gateway activity, it led to little Suzie’s pregnancy.

What are they doing in that state? Has there been an epidemic of people running their heads into stone walls? Drilling holes in their skulls?

What’s next? Legislation against the use of crayons as a gateway to graffiti? Outlawing literacy as a gateway to check forgery?

I now understand why it was Tennessee which prohibited the teachings of Darwin: they are living, empirical evidence that evolution is a lie.

Of course, the new law will have substantial consequences. Some sayings will be barred, such as ‘give me a hand,’ and ‘let’s give them a big hand.’ Radio stations will be closely monitored to keep them from playing dangerous gateway pop songs.

“I want to hold your...” –– you’re under arrest.