Two Tulsa Interfaith Groups Oppose Evolution Textbook Disclaimer

Friday, December 10th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Two of Tulsa's interfaith religious groups now oppose a textbook disclaimer that calls evolution "a theory". The groups claim that by discounting evolution - a single religious viewpoint is being introduced into the public schools. Their viewpoint is opposed by the state's largest denomination.

It is surely the oldest question of mankind - how was man created? The debate between creation versus evolution continues in public school classrooms where science books will soon carry an evolution disclaimer. A coalition of liberal religious leaders opposes the disclaimer. They feel it brings religion into the classroom. "We see it representing one particular religious view that many do not share," said Interfaith Alliance spokesman Reverend Russell Bennett.

Tulsa Metropolitan Ministries joined the Interfaith Alliance in opposing the disclaimer which was ordered by the state textbook committee. The alliance goes a step further, saying it may take legal action to get the disclaimer removed. "Under the guise of creationism, this group is getting religion into the public schools,” explained Bennett. “You've got a lot of different religious views, so where are you going to stop at this? Let’s keep religion in religion classes and let's keep science in science classes."

The state's Southern Baptists take a different view. "What's presented in the disclaimer is not a religious statement,” said Sheridan Road Baptist Church’s Reverend Rev Tom Woodson. “It just mentions that macro evolution is not able to be testable and reproducible and proven and so therefore, remains a theory, not a scientific law."

The disclaimer doesn't change the teaching of evolution and students will not hear the Biblical view of creation. One set of religious leaders believes teaching anything other than evolution is a step toward state sponsored religion. Others feel their faith is eroded by teaching evolution without a disclaimer, continuing to fuel a debate that has no signs of ending.