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Episcopal "Liberals" & Evolution
More Nonsense from Episcopal Clergy

[COMMENT:   Dear Reader, how would you respond to the article below?  See at end for my response.    E. Fox]
 

Bishops Support Evolution Petition
08/29/2005

The Bishop of Eastern Michigan, the Rt. Rev. Edwin M. Leidel, Jr., has commended to the clergy of his diocese an internet petition that supports the teaching of evolution in public schools.

Approximately 7,200 clergy from across the United States, including 25 retired and 13 active Episcopal bishops, as well as a large number of clergy, have endorsed the “Open Letter Concerning Science and Religion.”

The active bishops joining Bishop Leidel are: the Rt. Rev. David Andres Alvarez-Velazquez, Bishop of Puerto Rico; the Rt. Rev. Joe Burnett, Bishop of Nebraska; the Rt. Rev. C. Christopher Epting, Presiding Bishop’s Deputy for Interfaith and Ecumenical Relations; the Rt. Rev. Leo Frade, Bishop of Southeast Florida; the Rt. Rev. Wendell N Gibbs, Jr., Bishop of Michigan; the Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr., Bishop of Ohio; the Rt. Rev. James Kelsey, Bishop of Northern Michigan; the Rt. Rev. Rustin Kimsey, acting Bishop of Navajoland; the Rt. Rev. Robert Moody, Bishop of Oklahoma; the Rt. Rev. F. Neff Powell, Bishop of Southwestern Virginia; the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefforts Schori, Bishop of Nevada; and the Rt. Rev. Keith Whitmore, Bishop of Eau Claire.

While the petition affirms scripture as being “authoritative in matters of faith and practice,” it calls for a non-literal reading of the Bible as “Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts.”

According to the petition, “the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests.” The petition further rejects attempts to treat evolution as “one theory among others” and urges public school boards to “preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge.”

Prof. Michael Zimmerman, dean of the College of Letters and Sciences at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, initiated the ‘Clergy Letter Campaign’ in 2004 in response to a “series of anti-evolution policies” passed by a Wisconsin school board.

“The misperception that science and religion are inevitably in conflict has created unnecessary division and confusion, especially concerning the teaching of evolution,” Prof. Zimmerman said. “I wanted to let the public know that numerous clergy from most denominations have tremendous respect for evolutionary theory and have embraced it as a core component of human knowledge, fully harmonious with religious faith.”

Prof. Zimmerman endorsed A Catechism of Creation: An Episcopal Understanding, a document produced by the Episcopal Church Network for Science, Technology, and Faith as an appropriate teaching resource in support of the petition.

Bishop Jefferts Schori, who earned a doctorate in Oceanography from Oregon State University, told National Public Radio on Aug. 8, “creation and revelation continue in divine-human partnership as God works in the minds of scientists, inviting us all to share in discovering the wonderful mysteries of creation”. For this reason she finds “no difficulty in holding together my faith and the best of recent science.”

Free will, Bishop Jefferts Schori said, applies equally “to the contingent nature of all creation.” The Darwinian theory of evolution, she suggested, “is fully in accord with a contingent understanding of the nature of all things.”
 

An Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science

See below to endorse the following letter
Click
here to learn more about the "Clergy Letter Project"

Within the community of Christian believers there are areas of dispute and disagreement, including the proper way to interpret Holy Scripture. While virtually all Christians take the Bible seriously and hold it to be authoritative in matters of faith and practice, the overwhelming majority do not read the Bible literally, as they would a science textbook. Many of the beloved stories found in the Bible – the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark – convey timeless truths about God, human beings, and the proper relationship between Creator and creation expressed in the only form capable of transmitting these truths from generation to generation. Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts.

We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris. We urge school board members to preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth.

[Click here for Earle Fox's take on this kind of thinking.]

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