Closed Minds, Closed Doors: United Methodist Church Commission Is Censor of the Year
It is unclear who on the Commission participated in deciding to exclude Discovery Institute from the church’s upcoming General Conference, and thereby censor discussion of intelligent design. When we inquired, we were told only that the “leadership” of the Commission made the decision. The UMC — with its motto of “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors” — refuses to disclose who made up this shadowy “leadership” group. So the best we can do is bestow COTY on the Commission.
Certainly, we mean no criticism of United Methodists as a whole, many of whom support ID and free speech, and have vigorously objected to their church’s act of censorship. That is much to the annoyance of some UMC leaders, including Bishop Michael Coyner of Indiana, as our colleague Donald McLaughlin (himself a United Methodist) pointed out.
Why was the UMC Commission the obvious winner? After all, at least in the initial move to bar us, they did not set out to hurt or intimidate any particular scholar or scientist (as past COTY winner Jerry Coyne did) or to mislead the general public (as did Neil deGrasse Tyson). Instead, the Commission stands out by exemplifying what appears to be the culpable ignorance, confusion, and shiftiness of leaders who ought to know better — who should welcome insights revealing the design of life! — but who prefer to clap their hands over their ears. Who knows what these folks really had in mind, but an excessive, fawning concern about what prestige academia thinks of you, combined with intellectual laziness in researching the matter for oneself, are together the typical reasons that clergy go astray on this issue.
The Commission deprives the people they supposedly serve of information vital for their faith. ID is a science- not faith-based argument, drawing data from biology, cosmology, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and other disciplines. More.
Actually, if the United Methodists were thinking of a science to cultivate instead of naturalist atheist profs, they could try demographics:
“The United Methodist Church has only 15 years to reverse its decline in the United States if it is to have a sustainable future, an economist warned church leaders” (May 20, 2015). But U.S. membership decline continues (November 20, 2015)
Demographics is one of the only serious social sciences.
And right now, like Gonzo trying to get aboard the Ark in the Muppets Space Movie, they’re doomed.
See also: United Methodist Church leadership contradicts Methodism’s co-founder, John Wesley, on Intelligent Design
Faith and Science — the Confused View of the United Methodist Church
It actually doesn’t matter to United Methodist leaders what’s true