Friday, September 30, 2005


By Tweed:

The long simmering cold war between God and scientific reasoning is beginning to heat up in americas museums.

NY Times (Sept. 20, 2005) (Ithaca, N.Y.):

Lenore Durkee, a retired biology professor, was volunteering as a docent at
the Museum of the Earth here here when she was confronted by a group of seven or
eight people, creationists eager to challenge the museum exhibitions on
evolution. They peppered Dr. Durkee with questions about everything from
techniques for dating fossils to the second law of thermodynamics, their queries
coming so thick and fast that she found it hard to reply. . . .

That encounter and others like it provided the impetus for a training
session here in August. . . . Similar efforts are under way or planned around
the country as science museums and other institutions struggle to contend with
challenges to the theory of evolution that they say are growing common and

Dr. McCarty of "New Testiment Tours of the Wasteland," one of God's senior commanders of special operations, is seeking volunteers to help enforce the word of God in America's museums. Volunteers take crash courses to help them navigate the strange and unknown worlds of "science" and "New England." Recently, New Testiment Tours of the Wasteland ("NTTW") has benefited from a religious draft, sponsored by a group of Baptist churches in Mississippi and Alabama. Inductees are trained and assigned specific missions.

McCarty recognizes the difficulty of his assignment: "We know they're pretty thick upta' New York City and such. And, my god, can you think of a worse place - pretty, mind you, cause it is all God's country. But Charlie's dug in deep up there." "Charlie" is the word used by many religious fighters to refer to scientists, taken from the name "Charles Darwin."

But "Charlie" is not going down without a fight, McCarty notes. "Charlie's pretty tough - you can take away his president, you can call him a liberal, complain about his taxes, gerrymander congressional districts, make em' feel guilty for not believing, but Charlie still fights, I'll give em' that."

Members of NTTW entering a museum in Seattle

McCarty and others do not dwell on defeats, and there have be some. A recon group of five out of Arkansas never returned from a routine sweep of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, thought by many to be within the protection of the army of god. Four members were eventually located - one in New York, reading poetry on a Soho street corner, another on an archeological dig in suburban London, a third in a methodone clinic in Chicago and the fourth playing bass in a "third-stream" group in Boston.

Incidents such as these have some members of NTTW wondering about their mission. One young recruit, after expressing his intention to fight for god and to destroy those who would question His word, also divulged his concerns about the missions. "We're supposed to be spreading the word of God - you know, love thy neighbor, we're all God's children - but our missions seem to be alienating the populace. Sometimes, I don't know if its Charlie over there or just some kid on a school trip to the museum. . . . And sometimes I think we hit the wrong targets."

Other veterans of the battle speak of attocities committed by some members of NTTW, such as when a member participating in a magic trick performed by a street magician demanded that the spectators acknowledge that it was God's will that turned the six of diamonds he had put in his pocket into the queen of spades. Others refer to the infamous "precinct 34" incident, which occured a few months ago in New York City. Though reports are sketchy, it appears that members of NTTW forced their way into a New York precinct house and demanded the release of all those arrested, citing scripture about forgiveness. Unfortunately, in the confusion, a rapists and street mime escaped.

Some say that incidents such as these demonstrate the inherent contradictions of this new initiative. These critics note that it may be all well and good to attribute to God the world, but that the lack of recognition of human achievement and practical needs leaves an incomplete and skewed vision of the world.

God Defending Operation "Museum Shop" on CNN's Larry King

But defense of these actions has come from the Almighty Himself. "I'm not saying this will be an easy engagement or that it won't take a long time," God intoned, "people must be patient - this will be a long hard slog."

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