Reports of the National Center for Science Education
NCSE Begins Clergy Program
A vital aspect of NCSE's work is cooperation with organizations sharing common concerns. The number and diversity of groups supporting evolution education is reflected by the nearly 100 position statements NCSE collected in Voices for Evolution - a number that has grown since the second edition was published in 1995 (see [centerfold page on which Voices will be offered for sale]).
NCSE has built close working relationships with a number of these organizations, which frequently rely on our expertise in evolution/creation issues, tell individuals needing help to call NCSE, and in turn provide us with needed assistance. However, while our ties with scientific, educational, and civil-liberties organizations are well-developed, our formal ties with religious organizations are less extensive. We also need to develop resources that will be useful to clergy, religious educators, and other people of faith who wish to be voices for evolution both publicly and within their faiths.
Our first steps in this direction have been significant. NCSE contributed to the development of evolution resources on the web site of the Dialogue for Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Since then, NCSE's Executive Director Eugenie C Scott has joined the DoSER Advisory Committee and participated in a panel discussion of "The Creation/Evolution Controversy: A Philosophical Examination" at a Science and Religion Workshop held by the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences in June 2000.
Now we are taking further steps to build a grassroots network of religious leaders. NCSE will develop and distribute materials that congregational leaders and religious educators can use to inform themselves and their communities about evolution/creation issues. We will also inform interested individuals of opportunities to speak out for evolution education, since NCSE's experience has been that religious individuals speaking from their faith's perspective are most effective in pointing out that evolution is not inherently anti-religious.
In order to identify people who want to be involved and find out what they need, NCSE has sent a questionnaire to a pilot group of clergy in Kansas asking about conditions in their communities and their willingness to work on this issue. We received a very good response and are now working with other organizations to reach more interested individuals. We are also working with an increasing number of interfaith groups and social action agencies of some denominations.
Now you can help. Tell NCSE whether you or someone you know is interested in learning more about our clergy network - or in telling someone else about it; write to Molleen Matsumura at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at NCSE, PO Box 9477, Berkeley, CA 94709-0477.
NCSE wishes to thank Caroline McKnight and the Rev. Bob Meneilly of the Kansas MAINstream Coalition for their assistance.
By Molleen Matsumura
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.