Reform Jewish leaders testify against adding creationism/intelligent design

On Wednesday, three Reform Jewish leaders testified in Austin, Texas against a language change in the school curriculum which would require teaching “strengths and limitations” of scientific theories. Texas’ current curriculum requires teaching the “strengths and weaknesses” of scientific theories.  Testimonies from two of the rabbis is excerpted below:

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, of Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, said:

“I strongly oppose the revised version where the strengths and limitations of scientific explanations could be evaluated. It seems to me that discussing the limitations of widely accepted, sound scientific theories, such as the theory of gravity, the theory of relativity, or the theory of evolution would take up valuable class time that could be better spent ensuring that our children receive the best scientific education at a time when our country is falling behind the rest of the world in scientific achievement….


Rabbi Ana Bonnheim, Assistant Director for Education at the Union for Reform Judaism’s Greene Family Camp, said:

“On the surface, teaching about the ‘strengths and limitations of scientific explanations’… may not seem like teaching religious beliefs. Yet…When science teachers answer questions about evolution and origins of life by pointing to the divine or supernatural, they are incorporating religion into science classrooms.

“For me as a rabbi, science and religion are not at odds … Moses Maimonides … who is perhaps the greatest philosopher of our tradition, was also a physician. He taught that scientific inquiry can lead to more thoughtful religious questions and better educated religious individuals. The place for the quiet discussions about spirituality in science is not in public schools but around the kitchen table, in religious school classrooms, or in a clergy member’s office.

“Sadly and painfully, my Jewish ancestors had a long history of persecution in places where there was no separation of church and state. When we permit religious beliefs to be taught in our state schools, we begin to blur the line that keeps religion and government separate. We are so fortunate to live in a country that respects individuals of all faiths. It is essential to maintain the boundaries that will protect religious groups of every faith.”

About Blog of the National Coalition Against Censorship

Blogging Censorship is where National Coalition Against Censorship staff weigh in on the censorship issues on their minds.
This entry was posted in Sarah Falcon: Author and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s