More than 10,000 Christian clergymen from many different denominations joined scientists and educators on Monday to launch an organization that opposes the teaching of creationism and intelligent design in public schools.
To defend teaching evolution in school, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the nations largest gathering of scientists, launched Alliance for Science with the support of over 10,000 mainline church leaders and pastors. The clergymen agree with the new organization that the theory of evolution [is] a core component of human knowledge and should be preserved in the science curriculum. Furthermore, the Christian leaders believe that creationism and intelligent design should not be taught in public schools.
"These 10,000 members are saying that intelligent design, creation science, is not only bad science as defined by the world scientific community," Michael Zimmerman, founder of the Clergy Letter Project, told Agape Press, "but that it is also bad religion. It is not consistent with their view of their faith.
The support from clergies in defending evolution has drawn surprise from some observers, including the Medical News Today, the largest independent health and medical news website, which said the support for evolution among the 10,000 Christian clergy is particularly noteworthy.
According to Zimmerman, who is dean of the College of Letters and Science at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, the letter has been signed by clergy members in every state and territory in the United States.
Thousands of signatures from mainline church leaders and pastors including Methodist, Episcopal, and Presbyterian churches were collected for the project, which rejects the literal interpretation of the creation story in the Bibles Book of Genesis, Agape Press reported.
"We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests," stated the letter signed by more than 10,000 clergies, according to CNN.
Among those who supported the letter was Warren Eschbach, a retired Church of the Brethren pastor and professor of Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pa.
"The intelligent design movement belittles God. It makes God a designer, an engineer," said Vatican Observatory Director and ordained astrophysicist George Coyne, according to CNN.
"The God of religious faith is a God of love. He did not design me," he said.