WRITING OFF CREATIONISM
by Kenneth B. Cumming, Ph.D.*
The issue of separation of church and state has aroused the passions of
many, as our nation comes to grips vath the intent of the people and their
understanding of the Constitution. Swomley (1988) says:'
The urique American doctrine of separation of church and state is not
a by-product of the First Amendment's religious clauses. Those clauses
were intended to guarantee the religious liberty already implicit in the
Constitution's provision for a wholly secular government. The historian,
Charles A. Beard, wrote that the Constitution 'does not confer upon
the Federal Government any power whatever to deal vath religion in
any form or manner' (The Republic). James Madison called it 'a bill of
powers' which 'are enumerated, and it follows that all that are not
granted by the Constitution are retained' by the people (Annols of
Congress of the United States)."
Although the terminology of separation of church and state doesn't ap-
pear in the Constitution, many Americans think it does, and this has led
to great confusion. Peacocke (1988) states the situation:2
It was Thomas Jefferson who used this phrase in a letter written to a
group of Baptist pastors in Danbury, Connecticut in 1802. The purpose
of the letter was to assure those Baptist pastors that Jefferson's
somewhat unorthodox view of Christianity would not be pressed on
the church in the United States during his presidency.
President Jefferson assured them that there was a wall of separation
that supposedly protects the Church from any undue meddling by the
State. The irony is that the phrase never implied that the State needed
to be protected from the Church: Jefferson was guaranteeing the
church the benefit of the wall.
The contemporary anti-Christian religious establishment has turned
the issue completely on its head by redefining the phrase. This trick
is called 'historical revisionism.' Historical revisiorism twists history
and interprets it for one's own purposes."
Dr. Cummin is Dean of the ICR Graduate School.
Just such confusion was aptly illustrated in a recent regional competi-
tion for Southern California's high school journalists called a "Write-off'
which was held at Wilson High School in Hacienda Heights on March 12,
1988. Over 300 students participated in the event, making contributions
to news, features, editorials, sports, and graphics. Winners from the ac-
tivity advanced to Redondo Beach for state-wide competition on April 23.
This year's theme for writers was a pseudo press release conference
called by the Concerned Women for America to announce a mock suit
against California's Superintendent Honig for violating the rights of Chris-
tian students to hear creationism arguments in science classrooms of
public schools. Mrs. Dawn Wipperman served as the spokesperson for
CWA and led the news conference with a prepared statement of issues.
Miss Margaret Hawley acted as the expert testifying for the teacher's
p(?sition in the suit. She is a science teacher at Sunnyvale Junior High
School. The writer represented the creationist position, and, after an
introduction to just what Darwin's theory meant, he emphasized that
there were scientific and philosophical components to both theories.
Many of these students were not aware that there is any scientific evi-
dence for creation. (I wonder why?) Further, because creationism is dis-
allowed from the textbooks, they didn't realize that creationism can be
as scientific as evolution, and that both are equally religious (belief
systems) when addressing the ultimate questions of origins. Once these
writers caught on to the underlying issues, many for the first time, their
questions were many and penetrating.
After preliminary instructions by Mrs. Georgia Moore, coordinator for
the event, the students applied their skills to meet a short deadline.
Following are two first-place winners, one in news and the other in edi-
torial categories of journalism. The texts are presented as originally
First Place News' by Jennifer Cheng of Alhambra
The Concerned Women of America announced at a press conference
Saturday their launching of a campaign for the equal representation of
evolutionism and creationism in the classroom.
"Both creationism and evolutionism are assumptions. Both require a
certain amount of faith. Both should be represented" said Dawn Wip-
perman, Communications Coordinator of the CWA for the Greater Los
Angeles area. Wipperman then referred to a 1981 court ruling to justify
the campaign. The court ruled that the schools may not teach evolu-
tionism dogmatically. However, the California Science framework,
which determines the information to be put in textbooks, has yet to allow
for the teaching of theories other than evolutionism.
Kenneth Cumming, Ph.D., who is the Dean of the Graduate School at
the Institute for Creation Research, supported the CWA. He believes
it was an issue of fairness.
Both Cumming and Wipperman agreed that in the teaching of
"good science," all points of view must be presented.
Margaret Hawley disagreed with the CWA's view. Federal law
requires the separation of Church and State, said Hawley. The teaching
of creationism would necessarily involve the use of the Bible as a text-
book. Hawley then asked, "Would that not be a merger of Church and
In response, Cumming said, "No. Creationism can be taught without
involving religion." He believes that when the truth is known, religion
and science will come together.
First Place Editorial' by Laura Daroca of Diamond Bar
Where can one draw a borderline between science and religion?
Scientific experiments and faith? When the teaching of evolution and
creationism in school is the subject, a border must be erected.
Since the beginning of America's freedom from Great Britain, there
has been a direct division between Church and State.
The above questions can be answered by the Founding Fathers
themselves. Science is a matter of hypothesis, scientific methods, and
theories. Creationism is about Adam and Eve, God creating the earth in
seven days, and faith. Evolution is facts, not faith.
Since faith and God is the controversial point, creationism must not
be taught in school because of the separation between Church and
What if students could be allowed to pray in school? There would be
anarchy. One can imagine the teacher in the front of the class splitting
students up into groups. "All right! Hinduism in the right corner, Prot-
estantism in the back, Jewish in the middle. Atheists-you go outside."
The same would happen if there were evolution and creationism
taught in school. Each religion has its own "creator" and belief in how
that "creator" carried out the formation of man. Hindus, Jews, Catho-
lics, Protestants, and atheists each have a different view.
When this same issue came up in the schools of California, conflict
Dawn Wipperman said that all theories should be allowed in school.
Dr. Kenneth Cumming agreed with Wipperman by saying that both
have to do with faith and that creationists and evolutionists agree on
some points of Darwin's theory.
But the issue is not whether creationists and evolutionists can sit
around a table and agree on four out of the five hypotheses of Darwin's
theory. The issue is creationism taught in school has to do with the
separation of Church and State, and our whole governmental system.
Margaret Hawley, who was directly trapped in this situation, called
it a "Catch 22." If she teaches both to please the few who believe crea-
tionism should be given a chance, then those who believe religion and
school should be separate will step in.
It is a Catch-22, but the decision has already been made once too
often, beginning with the Founding Fathers. Church and State must
remain separate in order to keep up the faith in freedom of religion and
separation of Church and State so hallowedly inscribed in the document
called the Constitution.
Notice that in the news article there was an excellent agreement be-
tween what was said and what was reported. In concise terms, Jennifer
stated the reason for the occasion, quoted highlights from the speakers,
and made no commentary on the interpretation. When it came to the
editorial where interpretation is expected, there was not time or oppor-
tunity for the writer to check out the validity of the concepts introduced
at the conference. Therefore, Laura went with her previous understanding
of the issue to polarize the conclusions. She assumed that there was a
division between Church and State that was written in the Constitution
as such. Further, she stresses that "Evolution is facts" and "Creationism
is about Adam and Eve, God creating the earth in seven days, and faith."
In spite of being told in the information session that both are equally
scientific and/or religious, she went math her preconceived training that
creation is religion and evolution is science.
Here we have the grass roots of the matter. Our public school students are
being taught only one perspective of origins. It results in implanting funda-
mental knowledge that is incomplete.
This limited knowledge, when called
upon to make decisions, is then the
resource for critical judgments. In
this case, we have influential
writers in school newspapers, who
will, in some cases, become writers
later for national media, that
reinforce partial knowledge to their
peers. They are the shapers of
opinion and belief that excludes
religious and alternate science
concepts from their knowledge.
One might say that the reader
should "beware." But, one might
also say that public education
should "take care." For public
schools to sponsor one religious
position, humanistic evolution,
could be unconstitutional.
1. Swomley, John M., "Education in Religious Schools, The Conflict
over Funding," Phi Kappa Phi Journal, Winter 1988, p. 12.
2. Peacocke, Dennis, "Separation of Church and State, Clearing Up
the Misconceptions." The Forerunner, April 1988, p. 13.
3. Moore, Georgia, Permission was granted to ICR to use complete copies
of the first-place winners and the graphic art in this article.
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