Posted February 4, 2007
I recently received a request from Michael Zimmerman, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of Biology at Butler University in Indiana, to help him promote Evolution Sunday, February 11, 2007. Professor Zimmerman is also the founder of The Clergy Letter Project, which you can read about here http://www.evolutionsunday.org. The Clergy Letter Project is terribly important because it counters the view that evolution is inherently atheistic, and the signers of the document are the natural allies of us who want to promote good science education and keep all species of creationism out of the public schools and indeed out of the public agenda. Beyond that, I will let Professor Zimmerman speak for himself:
The Second Annual Evolution Sunday will occur on February 11, 2007.... This date is an opportunity for congregations across the country (indeed, around the world) to join together to discuss the compatibility of religion and science. Evolution Sunday is being sponsored by The Clergy Letter Project, a collection of more than 10,400 members of the Christian clergy who have signed a letter asserting that Christianity and modern evolutionary science need not be at odds with one another.
[T]hese Christian clergy members assert that they "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." They go on to urge that modern evolutionary theory rather than any form of creationism or intelligent design be taught in our country's public schools and conclude by requesting that "We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth."
One of the main goals of The Clergy Letter Project is to demonstrate to the broad spectrum of Christian believers that, unlike what is being shrilly shouted by many fundamentalist ministers, a choice does not have to be made between religion and science. Because the two are compatible, congregants should feel comfortable accepting both. Additionally, the signers of The Clergy Letter want to go on record making it clear that those fundamentalist ministers are not speaking for the majority of Christian clergy.
Last year, ... The Clergy Letter Project sponsored the First Annual Evolution Sunday event, [in which] 467 congregations from every state, the District of Columbia and five countries participated.... Evolution Sunday received a great deal of very positive national publicity with articles in virtually every major newspaper in the country. Indeed, the one in the New York Times was the most e-mail[ed] article for the week it appeared. Additionally, it is clear the event hit a nerve with creationists: both the Discovery Institute and Answers in Genesis issued press releases condemning Evolution Sunday.
The Second Annual Evolution Sunday event has now been scheduled for 11 February 2007. If you are a part of a congregation, please think about having it participate. It is only by broadening the base in this way that we will be able to reach out to a growing number of people and, hopefully, improve the understanding that people have about the interrelationship between science and religion....
To sign your congregation up or to sign The Clergy Letter, contact Professor Zimmerman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, you may find more than 50 sermons delivered by clergy last year at www.evolutionsunday.org.
Please limit comments to Evolution Sunday and The Clergy Letter Project, and avoid discussion of theology or "the timeless truths of the Bible."