Geologist Ready to Rock Park Service
If you’ve been to the Grand Canyon, you know there isn’t exactly a shortage of stones. The 227-mile natural wonder is a geologist’s paradise — unless, apparently, you’re a Christian. Dr. Andrew Snelling found that out three years ago when he applied for a routine permit to study the area. As a published scientist with years of experience, Snelling never dreamed his request would be an unusual one. That all changed when the National Park Service did a little digging of their own: into Snelling’s faith.
Once they learned the University of Sydney graduate’s views on the earth’s formation, they were the ones casting stones of religious intolerance. To everyone’s surprise, government officials denied the request for a handful of rock and soil samples. They insisted that Snelling could find what he was looking for outside of Grand Canyon National Park. That seemed unfair, since the government rarely — if ever — turned down applications from esteemed researchers like this one.
Attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) explained that “when he persisted, additional challenges came and Dr. Snelling methodically answered or rebutted each bureaucratic complaint. Then Park officials changed their story, and issued a permit which required Dr. Snelling to traverse the Canyon in a separate trip and locate every proposed sampling site with GPS coordinates and photographs — without any assurance of ever being authorized to actually collect the samples needed. No other scientist has been subjected to such a demand.”
After a three-year wild goose chase for permission that should have come automatically, Snelling filed a public records request. He was stunned to find out that Park officials were specifically discriminating because of his Christian beliefs. So, Snelling did what too many victims of this kind of religious hostility have been forced to do: He filed suit. Obviously, park officials weren’t concerned that he’d disturb the area — but the scientific debate.
Unfortunately, this is the Left’s typical response when its positions are so indefensible. It silences its opponents. As most experts will tell you, it takes a whole lot more faith to believe in evolution than creation. The evidence just isn’t there. In fact, liberals are so afraid of an honest-to-goodness debate that they try to hide the truth by sidelining the truth-tellers. And they accuse us of being anti-science? Conservatives embrace the facts on everything from child development in the womb to gender — which puts us light years ahead of the party pushing the goo to zoo theory or phony climate change.
Either way, as ADF Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb points out, “Such disagreement is how science works. But when the government starts refusing access to even collect the information because it dislikes one scientist’s views, it undercuts science and violates the law. And this case perfectly illustrates why President Trump had to order executive agencies to affirm religious freedom, because Park officials specifically targeted Dr. Snelling’s religious faith as the reason to stop his research… Using someone’s views to screen them for a government benefit is unconstitutional.”
Although this case started under President Obama’s administration, let’s hope it’s resolved quickly under President Trump’s. There’s no room for government-sponsored persecution like this, even if the two sides are separated by a bigger ideological gap than this canyon!
Originally published here.
Scouts on the Outs With LDS
The Mormon Church has been one of the single biggest supporters of the Boy Scouts — until yesterday. After years of watching the BSA turn into an arm of LGBT indoctrination, the LDS Church — the “oldest and largest charter organization of the Scouts” — is beginning to walk away. When the BSA bled members over its decision to welcome boys and troop leaders who identify as gay, the Mormons stood by the group. Now, after a strong undercurrent of controversy, the church is finally changing that, announcing that it would no longer sponsor the program for teenagers aged 14-17. It’s a decision, experts say, that could cost the Scouts as many as 180,000 members.
In a statement, LDS leaders said, “In most congregations in the United States and Canada, young men ages 14-18 are not being served well by the Varsity or Venturing programs, which have historically been difficult to implement within the church. This change will allow youth and leaders to implement a simplified program that meets local needs while providing activities that balance spiritual, social, physical and intellectual development goals for young men.”
Although church officials didn’t draw attention to the BSA’s radical social policy, the reality is that LDS leaders have been struggling with the group’s leftward lurch for the last few years. In 2015, it hinted at a possible withdrawal, saying, “The church has always welcomed all boys to its Scouting units regardless of sexual orientation,” the statement said. “However, the admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the church and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America.” The Mormon Church is coming to the same conclusion that so many evangelicals already have: This isn’t your parents' Boy Scouts. As a vehicle for building character, the BSA is having a lot of engine trouble — thanks in large part to its capitulation on core values. Trail Life USA is a much better option for Christian parents looking to turn their sons into faithful men worthy of respect.
In the meantime, it would be instructive for other cultural institutions to learn from the Boy Scouts compromise of their charter principles — what remains is a hollow core of a once thriving institution that has lost its true north.
Originally published here.
In Mother Words…
Just the sound of the word “mother” evokes a feeling of tenderness and reassurance in the minds of most. Even Jesus, when He was communicating His compassion for the people of Jerusalem, used the metaphor of a hen gathering her chicks under her wing to protect and shelter them. (He saved the rooster for another occasion.) In the age of political correctness and gender confusion, suggesting that women and men have distinct, non-interchangeable roles is probably enough to get your picture posted in the nearest post office for crimes against the sensitive and easily offended! But while truth can be contradicted and denied, it cannot be changed.
To be emotionally and physically healthy, children need a mom and a dad. Not just parents that are present, but a mom and dad who are involved in their lives. On Sunday, we will celebrate motherhood. We will celebrate the women whose unconditional devotion to their children motivates them on a recurring basis to choose unparalleled self-sacrifice and causes them to remain devoted even in times of great suffering. Women like Christina Simoes, who may never walk again because of her devotion to her young son. When their apartment was engulfed in flames, the 23-year-old did the only thing that came naturally: She saved her son. Without thought to her own safety, she cradled him to her chest and jumped out the window. “I didn’t think about it. All I was thinking about was getting him out of there. He mattered way more than I did,” she said. Suffering from severe back injuries, she was interviewed a few years ago in the hospital. Knowing her little boy was safe was the greatest Mother’s Day present she could imagine. Like so many mothers, she shrugged off her bravery. “I don’t think that I’m any special hero at all. I’m just Cameron’s mom,” Christina said. It’s that same kind of selfless sacrifice that defines moms around the globe.
I’m grateful for the love and compassion of a mother — sometimes expressed in years past with a whack upside the head, but most often with a hug, a kiss and reassurance that things were going to be okay. I’ve had the privilege of not only have a great mother, but for the last 31 years being married to a woman who is a great mother to my children. To my mother and to my wife — thank you and Happy Mother’s Day.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.