By Darla Shelden
The Oklahoma City Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State has announced its second annual hot-button debate on Thursday, March 15, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
The event features a debate on the resolution “Intelligent Design should be taught in public school science classrooms.” The debate will be held on the campus of Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC), 7777 S. May, in rooms CU2 and CU3.
James Nimmo, OK-AU Communications Chair said, “One task of Americans United is to offer educational opportunities on hot button issues involving First Amendment state/church separation. All Americans are free to exercise their private beliefs with others who share them.
“However, to impose those private beliefs, through the power of law or with tax money, on others who have different beliefs is not in the spirit or the letter of the First Amendment.”
The event debaters will be Abbie Smith and Dr. Steve Kern will be voicing opposition to the resolution: “Intelligent Design should be taught in public school science classrooms”.
Smith is a graduate student studying the molecular and biochemical evolution of HIV within patients and within populations. She also studies epigenetic control of endogenous retroviruses (ERV). Smith has a BS in Biology from Truman State and is currently finishing her Ph.D in Microbiology and Immunology at Oklahoma University.
“Honestly, this isn’t going to be an actual ‘debate’, because there is no actual scientific ‘debate’ on this issue. This is going to be a fantastic science outreach opportunity for me to tell a bunch of folks about how scientists use evolution every day in the lab to extend/improve our lives,” said Smith.
Debating in favor of the resolution will be Dr. Steve Kern, pastor of Olivet Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. Kern, a musician and author, has written several theological non-fiction works including “No Other Gods.” Dr. Kern was in the opposing position at the 2011 debate where the resolution was whether the United States was established as a Christian nation. Dr. Kern is married to Oklahoma State Rep Sally Kern.
Kern states on his blog, “Evolution contradicts the biblical message that God created all things good (without the presence of sin and evil), man fell into sin thus bringing about the curse of death as Paul declares in Romans 5:12, which then God began His work of redemption that culminated in the person His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Intelligent design parallels, but is not identical to creation science. It is the view that there is scientific evidence to support the Biblical Genesis account of the creation of the earth and of life.
The event moderator will be Rev. Jim Shields, board member of the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma. This debate is a free educational public event and all are invited to attend regardless of religious, political, or scientific viewpoints.
Recommended parking for the event is available at Area “D” – Entrance “CU1” to access debate rooms CU2 and CU3.
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947; the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.
For more information about the Oklahoma City Chapter of Americans for Separation of Church and State and the debate contact OK-AU Communications Chair James Nimmo at 405-843-3651 or visit www.okau.org.