Its Evolution Weekend!
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:39:21 PM EST
Its Evolution Weekend -- the eighth annual discussion and reflection on the relationship between religion and science held in hundreds of churches and other houses of worship around the country and the world. Organizers say "that those claiming that people must choose between religion and science are creating a false dichotomy."  

The Religious Right has succeeded in dominating public discourse on the intersection of science and religion for a long time now. Among many other things, seesaw battles have been waged in many states over the teaching of creationism or intelligent design; and faith based "abstinence" programs as against thoughtful, comprehensive sexuality education.

But beyond the courtroom and legislative theatrics, and conflict-driven media coverage, mainstream science and religion have been getting organized. Those who posit that religion and science are inherently in conflict are two sides of the same counter productive framing of the argument. Most Americans understand, believe and accept that faith and science are not necessarily in conflict. Those who support religious pluralism and sound science and science education are natural allies against the religious supremacism, Christian nationalism and crackpot science of the Religious Right.

In addition to celebrating the remarkable efforts of Evolution Weekend, it is worth recalling two thoughtful approaches to the compatibility of religion and science were coincidentally published in 2008.

One was a book by the National Academy of Sciences, and the other was a groundbreaking theological statement by the mainline Protestant denomination, the United Church of Christ, that sought to end the "feud" between science and religion. The UCC backed it up at the time with an ad campaign targeted to science blogs.

United Church of Christ (which has more than a million members) has devoted a section of its national web site titled: Not Mutually Exclusive, that includes many resources.  (It is also important to note that the UCC is not the only Christian church with serious, non fundamentalist approaches to religion and science.)

The UCC reported:  

With hopes of mending a millenniums-old feud between religion and science, the UCC has launched a new web-based advertising campaign geared toward the scientific and technological communities.

"Our hope is to begin to move the church to the place where its public image, public witness and public identity is one of a community of faith that is eager to engage science and to welcome and honor scientists," said the Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC's general minister and president.

The advertising effort is being propelled by the release of a meaty Pastoral Letter on Science and Technology -- authored by Thomas and a nine-member working group of scientists and theologians -- that calls the church to "open ourselves and our theology to the momentous conceptual changes of our times."

"Many today are hungering for an authentic spirituality that is intellectually honest and at home in a scientific era," the pastoral letter states. "They are searching for a new kind of wisdom to live by, one that is scientifically sophisticated, technologically advanced, morally just, ecologically sustainable, and spiritually alive."

The 2,400-word pastoral letter, titled "A New Voice Arising," is being distributed in February to each of the UCC's 5,700 local churches. Accompanying materials suggest how churches can host opportunities for further study and science-related group sharing. The UCC's blog will devote the first week of February to posts and discussions about religion, science and technology.

The New York Times reported on Thomas' pastoral letter:

In an interview, he said he wanted to encourage engagement between science and religion "in ways that can enrich each other and challenge each other, particularly at a time when the prevailing public impression is that faith is an enemy of science or vice versa." He said he was referring to recent books attacking religion but also "the creationist approach, the continuing caricature of the opposition of evolution and religion."

The National Academy of Sciences book was discussed in a nationally syndicated Religion News Service story at the time:  

A top panel of U.S. scientists has published a new book asserting that belief in the theory of evolution and religious faith "can be fully compatible," and that creationism has no place in science classes.

The 88-page "Science, Evolution, and Creationism," produced by the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, is an updated version of two previous books supporting evolution scholarship.

The 2008 version is different, according to the 15-person committee that designed it, because it is aimed at clergy and school board members and discusses the role of faith in human knowledge.

"Science and religion address separate aspects of human experience," the book says. "Many scientists have written eloquently about how their scientific studies of biological evolution have enhanced rather than lessened their religious faith. And many religious people and denominations accept scientific evidence for evolution."  

These are, of course, bright spots in what has been, and in many ways continues to be, a dark era.  Natural, common sense realignments in politics and religion are overdue and deeply necessary to address the significant advancements of the Religious Right in all areas of life for the past several decades.




Display:

WWW Talk To Action


Censorship Challenge: Texas Pastor Seeks Restrictions On `Dangerous' Library Books
Back in the 1990s, some Religious Right activists in Virginia got the bright idea to begin attacking America's public libraries. The idea was to......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Suspended St. Louis County Officer Dan Page Made Rounds on Rightwing Radio Shows
St. Louis Police Officer Dan Page drew national attention when he shoved CNN's Don Lemon during a broadcast of the protests in Ferguson, and......
By Rachel Tabachnick (1 comment)
Cop Who Shoved CNN Host Don Lemon Lassoed in Another Conspiracy Rodeo
Rachel Tabachnick broke an important story this evening showing that the rant by Officer Dan Page that got him suspended from the St.Louis County......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Exile Excitement: Some Fundamentalists Seek Escape From Decadent Society
OK, now we've done it. Those of us who advocate things like separation of church and state, secular government, LGBT rights and self-determination when......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Controversy Over White Nationalist GOP Candidate Still White Hot
The 2004 Constitution Party candidate for president Michael Peroutka's current race for County Council in Maryland -- as a Republican -- it is still......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Race, Republicans and the Religious Right
The Republicans have a race problem, and by this I don't just mean that racial minorities don't much vote for them, particularly in the......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Rev. William Barber on Religious/Political Inclusiveness
A few weeks ago, I posted about the extraordinary oration of Rev. William Barber at Netroots Nation. (A transcript of the speech is now......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Short Takes
Salon.com  Columnist Thomas Frank considers how snark can cut more than one way. What does it mean when being "on the left" is defined......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
David Brat as a "Libertarian Catholic" is an Oxymoron
David Brat, the Tea Party Young Turk who recently shocked the GOP establishment with his primary win over Majority Leader Eric Cantor, is reportedly,......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
Kountze Cheerleaders Take on the Courts
The entire town of Kountze, Texas is in a frenzy with business banners, suv window paintings and legal action supporting their local cheerleaders. The......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
A Talk to Action Anthology on Neo-Confederacy, Nullification and Secession (Updated)
A number of posts over the past year have addressed the growing Neo-Confederate movement, the advocacy of nullification of federal laws, and even the......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
Good Incentives Gone Awry: Kentucky Officials Are Adamant About Propping Up The 'Ark Park'
I've lived in the Washington, D.C., suburbs since 1986, so when it comes to museums, I am spoiled. Just a short subway ride away......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
White Hot Controversy for a White Nationalist GOP Candidate
The controversy over Michael Peroutka's theocratic, white nationalist candidacy for county council, in Anne Arundel County, Maryland -- has gotten white hot after he......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Not Just Whistling 'Dixie': Peroutka Stands Up for Southern Secession - UPDATED x2!
Cross-posted from The Huffington Post. Michael Peroutka, the Republican candidate for Anne Arundel County Council, stood up for secession and the white nationalist League......
By jhutson (1 comment)
Short Takes
Pando Daily:  Journalist Mark Ames has published a must-read story about how Reason,the flagship magazine of libertarianism, published a special issue in 1976 promoting......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)

Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (1 comment)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (3 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
John Hagee: Jews will make deal with Antichrist before End Times
When John Hagee opens his mouth, you expect to hear lunacy.  An appearance earlier this month on TBN was no different.  On Friday, People for the American Way stumbled on a special prophecy-focused edition......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Doug Phillips Resigns From Vision Forum over "Inappropriate Relationship"
Doug Phillips resigned as president of Vision Forum earlier this week, citing an "inappropriate relationship."   Phillips posted an announcement on the Vision Forum website, stating, There has been serious sin in my life......
Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)
A Wiccan Witch In Salem
Since it's only two weeks from Halloween, I made my usual foray into Christian Right Country to find out what their plans are for this Halloween. I don't know where to be sad or......
irishwitch (0 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.