Creationist Sues Grand Canyon for Religious Discrimination

He wants to take rocks out of the park to study further, NPS declined request
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2017 7:37 AM CDT
Creationist Sues Grand Canyon for Religious Discrimination
The South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Grand Canyon, Ariz.   (AP Photo/Rick Hossman)

Somewhere between 15% and 40% of Americans believe our planet is only 10,000 years old, in spite of the literal heaps of evidence that it is far older. One such American, young-Earth creationist Andrew Snelling, is suing the National Park Service for not letting him remove rocks from the canyon to study, reports the Atlantic. Snelling holds a PhD in geology, has given lectures and guided biblical-themed rafting tours through the park. He cites First Amendment rights to free speech and religious freedom, Fifth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection, the 2000 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and President Trump's executive order in May to protect religious freedoms from "undue interference by the federal government."

NPS rejected his 2013 request to collect 50 to 60 fist-sized rocks, reports the Phoenix New Times, saying all research in the park is restricted, especially if it involves removing any material. One park officer also noted that the type of rock he wanted to study can be found outside the park. Meanwhile, three mainstream geologists asked to peer review Snelling's request denounced the work as scientifically invalid, though some argue that Snelling should be allowed to proceed so his work can be argued on its merits. "I just expect to have fair treatment," he says. Others argue that scientists like Snelling are the ones being inflexible in the face of evidence that contradicts their beliefs. NPS declined to comment. (Arizona's Senate Education Committee is led by a woman who believes Earth is 6,000 years old.)

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