I respectfully request Congress consider investigating, in view of defunding, certain educational institutions, museums, and parks. While using public funds, many of these organizations propagandize visitors and discriminate against employees and potential hires on the basis of religious beliefs.
Visitors to the Smithsonian are informed that, "The occurrence of a flood story in . . . the Bible . . . as well as in other folk traditions, does hint that there may have been enormous flooding . . . in a far distant time. However, . . . after literally hundreds of archeological excavations . . . no all encompassing flood stratum has ever been found." Apparently, whoever wrote this has never driven the stretch of I-24 between Chattanooga and Nashville and observed the evidence of massive flooding near Monteagle.
The Smithsonian dismissed Dr. Richard Sternberg, a journal editor with the institution, for allowing publication of an article suggesting the possibility of intelligent design. Dr. Sternberg does not hold that view, but was dismissed anyway.
It would appear that taxpayer funded institutions, such as the Smithsonian, do discriminate on the basis of religious belief. I respectfully request the defunding of such institutions after the appropriate investigative process.
Philip W. Haymaker, Sr.
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Why should the government consider taking funding away from institutions for not stating Biblical claims? I am a Christian (a fairly conservative Southern Baptist, in fact), and have been all my life, but I believe that one of the main things that sets us apart from many countries is separation of church and state and the fact that we are allowed to practice religious freedom.
Maybe I am just a naive 18-year old mind, but I was under the impression that this meant everyone, including non-Christians—that means that we have a right to privately practice our religion, and that means that the state does not tell us things that are only set forth by sacred texts, regardless of whether we believe them or not. These institutions are not discriminating on the basis of religious belief, but leaving religion out of it entirely. You see, not only are they not conceding to what you and I may believe from the Bible, but they are also not conceding to the beliefs of those of any other religion.
How would you feel if you walked into the Smithsonian and it told you that the world came about via the idea of creation in the religion of Hindu or Zoroastrianism? I feel like one of the things that put such a bad light on those of us subscribing to Judeo-Christian belief systems in today's culture is the fact that we have a mentality that we are in the minority and are being oppressed. The fact is, as of 2001, 81.2 percent of Americans identify themselves as a part of these religions. 81.2% is an astonishing majority—I do not feel oppressed at all. I have never been criticized for my beliefs at school or in the "real world." I plan to go into research and development in physics and astronomy once I graduate from college, and I am not worried in the least about being denied a job because of my religious beliefs.
I am making an assumption that you heard about Dr. Sternberg from the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Well, with some research into the way this movie was made, there are some things that Ben Stein doesn't want you to know. First of all, the issue with Dr. Sternberg: the fact is Sternberg was never actually employed at the Smithsonian. He was an unpaid research assistant, his departure from the Smithsonian was planned far in advance, and he knew about it, as that is the nature of the job. Many of the scientists interviewed in this movie did not know what exactly they were interviewing for. One person reports being asked the same question multiple times just for the sake of eliciting a response that Stein wanted him to give. Others point out that their words were selectively edited and their responses were twisted to mean something that they had not said. Also, Stein omitted words from most of the quote he claims that Darwin wrote—in fact, the quote that he presents as Darwin having written is about one-quarter of the size that the actual quote in the book said, and states the exact opposite of what was originally written.
There are many other fallacies in this movie that one can find with research from sources of many points of view—not just evolutionist materials. Although many of my fellow Christians find this movie to be wonderful, it is doing us all a disservice by projecting half-truths or straight-up lies about the scientific community. As with any documentary that presents itself as fact, regardless of what viewpoint it is from, please approach it with caution. Think and research for yourself before accepting it as truth.
Sarah A. Axley