DefCon News: The US religious right divided

This is the latest news from the US organization fighting for the separation of Church and State in their Campaign to Defend the Constitution (DefCon):

DefCon Poll Shows Rift in Religious Right

The new anti-science Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, has nothing of value to teach about the development of life on Earth — but that doesn’t mean we haven’t learned anything from it.

A new poll released by DefCon reveals the enormous schism within the religious right represented by the museum. The poll shows that 95% of Evangelicals reject the Creation Musuem’s strange, dino-friendly version of Creationism. In addition, only 10% of self-identified Evangelicals support Intelligent Design. While religious right leaders like James Dobson lump all forms of anti-evolution together, the new Creation Museum is showing us just how deeply divided the religious right really is.

You can download the full poll results here (PDF), or click here to read an analysis by the Cincinnati Enquirer (the museum’s own home-town newspaper).

The other main lesson we’ve learned from the museum is just how concerned many Americans are about the continued assault on science education from the religious right. Nearly 25,000 people from across the country have signed our petition condemning the museum’s anti-science agenda. If you haven’t already, click here to sign the petition, spread the word, or get your own DefCon Creation Musuem bumper sticker.

Bush Again Bows to Religious Right on Stem Cells

Once again, with overwhelming support from the American people and the medical establishment, Congress passed a bill this Spring to relax restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. And once again, President Bush has caved in to the only major group opposing the potentially life-saving research — the religious right — in vetoing the bill.

Since last May, DefCon supporters have sent more than 100,000 emails to President Bush and congressional leaders urging them to support embryonic stem cell research. In light of the president’s unwillingness to buck the religious right on this crucial issue, it is clear that our best hope is securing a veto-proof majority. Click here to contact your senators and ask them to put lives above the religious right’s agenda.

Attorney General Gonzalez Visits the Discovery Institute

Last month, Attorney General Gonzalez became the latest political official to speak at an event sponsored by the Discovery Institute, the leading proponent of Intelligent Design. While Gonzalez’s speech focused on intellectual property and cybercrime, his decision to pay a visit to an organization leading the campaign to undermine science education in America is troubling. Senator John McCain made a similar trip to a Discovery Institute event in February.

Perhaps the most worrying aspect of the parade of politicians pandering to the Discovery Institute is that the Institute’s main financial backer, Howard Ahmanson, has a long history of attempting to undermine the separation of church and state. He spent 20 years on the board of the Chalcedon Foundation, an organization dedicated to replacing American civil law with “Biblical law.”

That the head of the Justice Department decided to make a special visit to Ahmanson’s current pet project raises deep concerns. Visit the DefCon blog for more information on Gonzalez’s speech to the Discovery Institute.

Please stay tuned to the DefCon Blog for daily updates.

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