The principle of the separation of church and state is one that I have come to value as one of the fundamental ideals that has contributed to the advancement of our society. Falling within this principle is the current struggle between those that would teach evolution in or public schools and those that would teach creationism. I’ve seen the arguments for both sides and frankly, I don’t really see how there can be an argument any more. Even a minimally rational person should be able to see there is no rational thought behind teaching creationism or intelligent design in a science curriculum. This ongoing debate shakes my faith in the idea that most people, deep down, are basically rational beings.
But every time I start to lose hope, something always turns up that renews my faith in people. This time, I came across The Clergy Letter Project. More than 12,000 Christian clergy across the United States have signed a document declaring that science and religion can peacefully coexist, and that rejection of the theory of evolution is to embrace ignorance.
Now, I don’t know how significant 12,000 signatures are. A quick look at the Census Bureau’s website told me that there are more than 396,000 clergy in the United States, and many denominations didn’t report their numbers. But it still gives me a warm fuzzy. My hope is that someday, there won’t be any high school biology teachers like mine who chose to skip over the chapter on evolution. She explicitly told us she didn’t believe in it and refused further discussion.