Friday, June 29, 2007

Australian clergy push for intelligent design in public schools

Transcript of today's show:

Catholic and Anglican archbishops in Australia have said that intelligent design theory should be taught in public and private schools. Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey said intelligent design theory would give students a chance to question the mysteries of life that science can't explain. Education Minister Mark McGowan said he would not introduce intelligent design into the schools because it is not evidence-based. [source: Perth Now]

Listen to the 1-minute broadcast of this story [mp3]

Sound Off: Science & Faith. Our point/counterpoint regulars Shelley (the voice of science) and Peter (the voice of faith), comment on the story.

The Voice of Science: Shelley Greene, Ph.D., comments:
I see a trouble maker in Australia's midsts. Archbishop Hickey caught flak earlier this month when he decreed that Catholic politicians who supported stemcell research would be refused holy communion or face excommunication altogether. Hickey is now under investigation by the Australian parliamentary committee as to whether his comments were meant to threaten lawmakers, and thus manipulate votes on the issue. Hickey says his comments were not intended to be interpreted as threats. He will, however, exercise his Archbishop powers and
call on Catholic politicians "to examine their conscience before taking communion if they supported stem cell research." The Archbishop's assistant assures the media that no one will be bullied.

Okay, I'll go with that. But I will confess, I'm very wary of this guy. My mom always told me, "beware of men in cloaks who hold power over politicians." Yes, and what about men in cloaks who threaten these politicians? Do we want men in cloaks to meddle in educational affairs? Will Catholic teachers who refuse to teach intelligent design now be banned from confession? Stoned with rosary beads? Sent off to do missionary work in Darfur? Between you and me, I think Australia's Education Minister Mark McGowan should launch a national info campaign to keep Archbishop Hickey (and other cloaked do-gooders) far away from education decision-makers. Very, very far away.

The Voice of Faith: Peter Williamson, M.Div., comments:
The good Christians down under have lived in a spiritual leadership vacuum, ever since Ken Ham and Ray Comfort migrated to the US, where they believed they could reach more people and effect a greater impact. Sadly, it's true. I'm impressed, however, with Archbishop Hickey and his Anglican colleague-of-the-cloth, Archbishop Roger Herft. Herft has made a heartfelt appeal to the public that public school education has lacked an exploration of the spirit. He believes, as Hickey does -- and as I and many other truth-loving people do -- that our schools are doing a great dis-service to their students. Our educational systems, world over, north and south, are spiritually impoverished. One, small, infinitesimal step toward infusing our children's school experience with the deeper questions pertaining to soul, spirit, and our Creator, is the very proposal that Archbishops Hickey and Herft are offering. Introduce intelligent design into science courses. Incite healthy discussions. Get kids thinking about the question of human origin, free from the small and demeaning box of the ape theory. Open the door, let their minds soar, let them consider -- and discuss -- the inspiring idea that a Divine Creator-designer is the architect of all living creatures. I pray, and I urge others to pray, that the light go on in the Australian public school system. I deeply hope, and have a giddy optimism, that Archbishops Hickey and Herft can begin to fill the spiritual leadership void that many truth-seeking souls would benefit from.