Review of the matters surrounding the Creationist Display at the Giant’s Causeway Visitors’ Centre

A member of the ‘Remove Creationist Display From Giant’s Causeway Visitors’ Centre‘ Facebook group has put together a paper reviewing all matters surrounding the creationist display at the Giant’s Causeway Visitors’ Centre which has been sent to Simon Jenkins, Chairman of the National Trust in London, and given him a week in which to respond.

The paper is set out into four sections:

    1. Factual falseness of the display and related issues.
    2. Illegal nature of the display
    3. Treatment of members/supporters
    4. Future safeguards against similar incidents

The paper goes into detail on the factual falsities of the display:

There is no objective evidence to suggest that the Earth is 6000 years old. It comes entirely from one theological view of a literal interpretation of the Bible that the Old Testament provides a complete genealogy from Adam to Jesus.

There is no debate on this issue and as mentioned in the National Trust’s press release [1] on 18th July “There is clearly no scientific debate about the age of the earth or how the Causeway stones were formed. The National Trust does not endorse or promote any other view.” – This clearly contradicts the display at the visitor’s centre. Either there is a debate or there isn’t a debate, all the evidence points to there being no debate.

Clearly detailing the 1960’s creation movement in America and the 1968 Epperson vs. Arkansa in which the Supreme Court prohibited the teaching of religious dogma or tailoring teaching to any religious sect, it is clear that historical cases have fought against this type of teaching as anything which is factually true or up for debate. In allowing the opinion of the creationist view the “National Trust is representing one very small denomination of one religion and not others”.

The paper states that the inclusion of the display is illegal according to a statement from the Equality Commission regarding the Northern Ireland Act 1998 Section 75:

While the National Trust is a private charity it was using, in part, public money and as such the money should be used appropriately according to the laws of the country any of its sites are in. It is the funding body (DETI) who are responsible for checking that there wouldn’t be any imbalanced views or that there is no promotion of said imbalance.

The paper goes on to detail how the National Trust have given “standardised responses” on Facebook and in emails to complaints made, as well as stating that the National Trust are well overdue the deadline in which to respond to complaints made regarding the display:

The National Trust’s complaints procedure states that once the National Trust has recognised a problem then they will seek to resolve it within 21 days. Given that the National Trust made a press office statement on the 18th July this would make the deadline for resolution the 8th August. The removal group made it apparent that we would give the National Trust time to do the review and reduce pressure through methods of communication and it was understood by both the removal group and the BBC [13] that the 18th August would be an acceptable timeframe. Come the 18th August the National Trust claimed not to know of this, given that cached results would not go back a month we have no choice but to accept this on good faith. It is, regardless, highly suspicious and many suspect that mention of the date was removed from communication deliberately. Given that the National Trust were more than aware that this (not unreasonable) timescale was accepted by the removal group and the national press then an effort should have been made to hold to it.

In conclusion, the review communicates that it is essential that any future National Trust projects maintain secular views and given that the Visitors’ Centre was funded in part using public money the National Trust have two options: “to remove the offending display, or a more inclusive display that involves several historic religious views, none of which should be portrayed as scientific views.

The full paper can be viewed and downloaded here [doc].

Equal Marriage NI Committee Elected

Last night, Wednesday 5th September, a public meeting was held in order to elect the Equal Marriage NI Committee who will head the campaign for the fight for equal marriage in Northern Ireland. While much heated discussion has taken place online in regards the running of the election and the committee, the night went ahead successfully and votes were cast and counted.

The following positions were elected:

John O’Doherty – Chairperson

Mark Brown – Vice Chairperson
Malachai O’Hara – Vice Chairperson
Nicholas Young – Campaigns Officer
Gavin Boyd – Communications Officer
Cara McCann – Treasurer
Matthew McDermott – Secretary
Pádraig Ó Tuama – Faith Representative
Ciaran Moynagh – Non Executive Officer
Adam Murray – Non Executive Officer

A full breakdown of the election results can be found on Gyronny.com.

Now the hard work begins as the campaign works towards securing full equality of marriage.
You can follow the campaign on Twitter and Facebook.