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NCC releases a faith perspective
on teaching evolution in public school

Download the brochure here.

New York, March 27, 2006 – A National Council of Churches USA committee has released a resource on the teaching of evolution in public school science classes. 

The brochure, the NCC Committee on Public Education and Literacy says, is “to assist people of faith who experience no conflict between science and religion as they consider the issues around the teaching of evolution.” 

“Often today we hear about the teaching of evolution in public schools framed as though it were a debate between people of faith and people of no faith,” the committee said in a statement released today.   

“Many well informed and well educated people believe that the learnings of science and religion enrich each other,” and “embrace science as one way of appreciating the beauty and complexity of God’s creation,” the committee said. 

The resource addresses four simple questions: What is science? What is religion? Is it possible to think that both religion and science are important? How is religious liberty, as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, relevant to a discussion about the teaching of evolution in public school science classes? 

While many excellent resources about the teaching of evolution in public school science classes have been made available for public school teachers and the general public from the point of view of science, there has been a shortage of ready resources written from the point of view of religion, the committee said.  

Short statements from the book of Hebrews, from an Episcopal Church Catechism of Creation, and from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, and theologians John Haught and Marcus Borg bring additional perspectives to the resource on the meaning of the biblical story of creation in Genesis. 

The resource references a December 2005 court decision in Dover, Pa., that found unconstitutional the teaching of Intelligent Design (ID)  in public school science classes because  it “cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious antecedents.”  ID is not science.  

While the Dover court decision affirmed the teaching of evolution in public school science classes, the judge pointedly refused to criticize religious teachings about creation: “Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs’ scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny the existence of a divine creator.” 

Members of the NCC’s Committee on Public Education and Literacy represent: the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ; the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church; the Episcopal Church; the Presbyterian Church (USA); the Progressive National Baptist Convention; the United Church of Christ Justice & Witness Ministries; the United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society; and the United Methodist Women. 

For more information contact: Jan Resseger, Committee Chair (216) 736-3711, (216) 308-9611. 

Contact NCC News, Daniel Webster, 212-870-2252


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