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United Methodist Church under fire for banning intelligent design group

Tuesday, January 19, 2016  
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The slogan of the United Methodist Church (UMC) is “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors.” But UMC officials are now under fire for being closed-minded and intolerant after they banned Discovery Institute, an intelligent design group, from sponsoring an information table at the denomination’s upcoming General Conference in May. Intelligent design is the idea that life and the universe show evidence of being the result of purposeful design rather than unguided processes.

“Preventing United Methodist leaders from even hearing about intelligent design isn’t open-minded, it’s intolerant and exclusionary,” said Dr. John West, Vice President of Discovery Institute. “Mabye United Methodist officials should change their slogan to ‘Closed Hearts, Closed Minds, Closed Doors’? As a private organization, the UMC has the right to exclude us as an exhibitor. But UMC officials’ embrace of censorship undermines their own professed commitment to open doors and open minds.”

“As a United Methodist, I’m disheartened and appalled,” said Michael Flannery, a university professor who is also a Discovery Institute Fellow. “Methodist officials who are trying to stop discussion before it starts certainly don’t speak for me or for many other United Methodists in the pews.”

Discovery Institute is calling on those who think the United Methodist Church should live up to its slogan of encouraging open minds and open doors to contact Judi Kenaston, the chair of the UMC’s Commission on the General Conference, the group that made the decision banning Discovery Institute.

“Urge Ms. Kenaston and the Commission to live up to their church’s slogan and be truly open-minded,” said West.

The Institute has set up a web page ( to help make it easy for those who want to contact United Methodist leaders.

Discovery Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan educational and research organization with supporters around the United States. Its Center for Science & Culture supports the work of scientists and scholars who are researching evidence that nature is the product of purposeful design rather than unguided processes.



Robert Crowther
206-292-0401 x107

John West
(206) 292-0401 x107

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