Now more than ever!
For the past 11 years, hundreds of religious congregations, congregations from a wide array of religious persuasions and from all corners of the world, have come together to celebrate the interface between religion and science. From Baptists to Buddhists, United Methodists to Unitarians, Jews to Muslims and so many more, almost a million people have celebrated the weekend closest to the birth of Charles Darwin (12 February 1809) as Evolution Weekend.
On this weekend, for 11 years, religious leaders and parishioners have raised the quality of the supposed debate between religion and science. They have made it clear that their deeply held religious faith does not preclude accepting, promoting and, yes, celebrating the best modern science has to offer. They have made it clear, in fact, that there really isn't a debate between religion and science, that both have much to offer. They have also made it clear that the loud but relatively small group of religious fundamentalists who claim that religion and science are often in direct conflict with one another are not speaking for the majority. And they have made it clear that the version of fundamentalism being promoted by this group is at odds with their own religious beliefs.
For 11 years, religious leaders and parishioners have collectively recognized that science is a powerful tool, a way of gaining insight into the world around us, a means to bring us together.
For 11 years, members of The Clergy Letter Project, the sponsor of Evolution Weekend, have worked collaboratively across religious differences in their shared belief that religion and science can strengthen one another.
This year, this message, this celebration, is more important than ever.
There are those among us who are promoting the conviction that scientific fact and personal opinion are interchangeable.
There are those among us who are asserting that some religious beliefs are more righteous than others, that, perhaps, some shouldn't even be considered religions at all.
At a time when "alternative facts" are equated with reality, it is important for people of faith to again affirm their trust in a worldview that, building on the Enlightenment, prizes the scientific method.
At a time when mosques and temples and, more importantly, those who worship within their walls, are under attack by people who despise difference, it is important for people of faith to again come together and affirm their shared humanity.
At a time in the United States when some among us claim that only certain types of Christians can be patriots, it is important for people of faith to again come together and celebrate the goodness that is in all of us.
And at a time when evolutionary theory continues to be under attack in our public schools, when one narrow religious perspective is passed off as a scientific perspective even as the experts recommend otherwise as has just occurred in Texas, it is important for people of faith to again come together to let their voices be heard.
This is what Evolution Weekend has been about for the past 11 years. And this is what Evolution Weekend 2017, 10-12 February, is all about this year.
Now more than ever, the message of Evolution Weekend, of the compatibility of religion and science, of respect and dignity, and of understanding is of critical importance.
If you agree with this message, join us. Find a congregation near you and participate in its celebration. You will be welcomed with open arms.
If you agree with this message, join us. Join The Clergy Letter Project by dropping me a note (firstname.lastname@example.org) - there's no cost.
Together we are making a difference. Now more than ever!