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Last week on this site, AiG reported on a renewed book-banning attempt being directed at a controversial text that is found on the shelves of gift stores in Grand Canyon National Park.
The effort to ban creationist Tom Vail’s beautifully photographed picture book Grand Canyon: A Different View—which includes text by some of AiG’s staff—once again is promising to become an international controversy. This has even been further provoked by Pulitzer prize-winning cartoonist Gary Trudeau, who published a Doonesbury strip on January 13 (careful—it contains objectionable language), in which he bashed creationists and President George W. Bush over the book.
Grand Canyon: A Different View offers the explanation that the Canyon’s formation came about through rapid processes associated with the Flood of Noah, just a few thousand years ago—rather than by slow erosion over millions of years, which is the standard story presented at the Canyon. In 2004 (see Deluged with pro-Flood email!), the first attempt to ban the book in Canyon stores received major media coverage, especially after 7,000 letters/emails were sent to the National Park Service (NPS) headquarters in Washington, DC. The book has since remained in Park gift stores, and for a while was a best-seller there. Now, recent attempts to get Grand Canyon: A Different View removed will probably propel the book right back to its best-selling status at the Park.
The controversy has re-surfaced because an environmental activist group called PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility) distributed a news release last month (see PEERing into the manufacturing of an anti-creationist urban myth) that contained a false claim: “Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees.” Later in the news release (which has been altered on PEER’s website), PEER urged the relatively new NPS director to order the removal of Tom Vail's book and to “allow park interpretive rangers to honestly answer questions from the public about the geologic age of the Grand Canyon” (more in a moment about that false charge).
Because the Park Service has yet to make a determination on whether Grand Canyon: A Different View will remain in the Canyon stores, PEER was attempting, yet again, to bring the book’s controversial contents to the public’s attention, and perhaps force the Park Service to make a decision on the book’s status.
One of PEER’s most bizarre assertions is that the book’s presence in the bookstore is akin to an establishment of religion by the U.S. government (i.e., its availability for sale somehow violates the First Amendment, according to PEER’s logic).
If you haven’t yet, please read our article from last week that summarizes the investigative work conducted by a leading evolutionist (no, he's not a booster of the book by any means), which revealed that PEER’s charges that the Bush administration and the National Park Service were catering to creationists were contrived.
An attorney representing Mr. Vail sent a letter last week to the Park Service to encourage officials not to ban the book, and to reject the misleading claims about the book made by PEER. This letter (from the Alliance Defense Fund) declared that any accusation by PEER (or anyone else) that the Park Service has not been forthright in giving an evolutionary explanation of the Canyon’s formation is “so much baloney.” It also praised the Park Service for acting in “complete propriety” over the years as it rejected efforts by evolutionists to have the book removed.
Of course, AiG argues that visitors to the Grand Canyon should be exposed to an alternative view of how the Canyon formed. You see, because rangers, park museums, and rim signage will not tell the Flood story, we think it’s reasonable that, at the very least, a bookstore should be able to carry a well-written book (with more than a dozen of its contributors holding doctorate degrees) and let the public decide what to purchase. No one is forced to buy the book, or to read/hear about Tom’s views at the Canyon.
Because evolutionist activists are putting increasing pressure right now on the new director of the National Park Service to remove Grand Canyon: A Different View, you may want to share your respectfully written opinion about this with the director of the NPS. Here is her contact information:
Ms. Mary A. Bomar, Director
National Park Service
Email: [email protected] (note that there is an underscore—not a space—between the first and last name in the email address).
Or reach her by “snail mail”:
Ms. Mary A. Bomar, Director
National Park Service
1849 "C" Street NW
Washington DC, 20240
Or by phone: (202) 208-4621