Creationist researcher suing National Park Service because it won't let him study Grand Canyon rocks


In case the drawing of Jesus riding a T. rex on a paddleboard in Glacial Lake Missoula on today's Indy cover wasn't enough of a hint, this week's feature is about creationists. Last month, some locals invited Kentucky-based ministry Answers in Genesis to put on a creation conference at the University of Montana. It drew more than 1,000 people.

Turns out that as our story went to press, the Phoenix New Times reported that one of AiG's Missoula speakers, creation scientist Andrew Snelling, is suing the U.S. Department of the Interior for religious discrimination because National Park Service officials denied his research application in Grand Canyon National Park.

Snelling wants to collect rocks from the park to use for his work.
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The Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom filed the lawsuit on Tuesday, alleging the NPS violated his First Amendment rights to free speech and religious freedom, his Fifth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection, and the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2000, the New Times reports. The complaint also cites a May executive order by President Trump on religious freedom.

Here's the best part, from New Times:
In the federal complaint filed on Tuesday, ADF uses several key e-mails by scientists who put their feelings in writing to demonstrate the bias Snelling says he encountered.

"It is difficult to review such an outlandish proposal," Ron Blakely of Northern Arizona University told NPS officials in 2014, when he was asked for his opinion about Snelling's proposal. 

Click here to read the full story. And check out the Indy's cover story, "Muddy the Waters: Ken Ham, Greg Gianforte, and the creationist assault on science in Montana," too.

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