A biology professor at the University of Texas filed a formal complaint to remove a Christian research organization from a charity program sponsored by the state.
Texas State Employee Charitable Campaign allows all state employees to give to a charity of their choice each fall. The charities are pre-selected and approved by the state every year after an extensive review process.
The Institute for Creation Research, a 41-year-old nonprofit educational organization based in Dallas, which promotes a biblical view of creation, was among one of the charities in the program approved for two years by the state.
Professor David Hillis, an integrative biology teacher at the Texas university, is seeking to eliminate the research center from the list of charities because he believes the ICR is an “anti-science organization,” according to the American-Statesman.
Hillis, an outspoken opponent of the ICR, could not see how the organization met one of the program’s requirements – to provide direct or indirect health and human services.
“[The ICR] work[s] to undermine the mission of the university and of science in general, and especially the science that is the very basis for health and human services,” the professor stated. “How could such an organization, possibly be listed as a charitable organization to be supported by state employees?”
He and several other faculty and staff members at the university who shared the same opinions are determined to get the research center off of the list.
John Hoberman, a UT professor and another opponent of the group, stated that the institute’s activities did “not qualify as the sort of humanitarian activity we associate with charity in the proper sense of the word.”
“[The institute] is an adversary of the values a research university stands for,” he also added, according to the Statesman.
In response to the request for removal, the research center said in a statement, “ICR is concerned that a state employee is attempting to dictate to his fellow state employees how they give their own money to charities, or whether it is ethical for a state employee to sponsor discrimination against a Christian or other religious entity.”
They were also curious as to whether or not this was Professor Hillis’ or other UT employees’ first attempt to “make Christian organizations ‘back of the bus’ charities” as well.
Henry Morris IV, the ICR director of donor relations, commented on the group’s website, “The attempt of our adversaries to temporarily disrupt our operations is confirmation that ICR remains on the path of His truth.”
“The pursuit and communication of His truth is still the singular focus of ICR’s work, and by God’s grace and provision our ministry continues to expand and is now reaching more people today than ever before. But there is still work left to do, and our agenda is positively bursting with exciting new initiatives to uncover the scientific evidence for creation and communicate the relevant truth of Christ our Creator. This Christmas season, please continue to pray, and give as you are able, to see that this vital work continues.”
Morris noted that the ICR received minimal support through workplace giving programs like the Texas State Employee Charitable Campaign, and said that any loss of financial support through the state program was of little concern.
“Yet, state employees should be free to give to any approved charity of their choosing,” he affirmed. “Eliminating ICR as a viable choice would also eliminate the freedom of those Bible-believing state employees who desire to support our work.”
The State Policy Committee, a group that manages the state program, will decide whether or not to eliminate the ICR from the list of charities this weekend.