Pa. Neighbors Feud Over Darwin, 'Design'

To that one out of three, what really happened is denied by so much in our culture -- such as in every dinosaur movie that depicts a time without humans, in every passing newspaper report that casually describes a universe billions of years old, or in every museum built on the foundation of Darwinism. If you're in that one out of three, it's the world against you, but you've got God on your side.

'In Conflict With the World'

In a town where people could always agree to disagree, there is no compromise on this particular subject. People are fed up. Feelings are bruised.

For instance, Buckingham questioned Ream about child abuse. And Ream brought up Buckingham's public admission of an addiction to painkillers, asking why the board didn't kick him out for that.

Ream said he did not intend his comments as a cheap shot at Buckingham.

"In his perspective, I'm sure he may have seen it that way," Ream said. "But that is not how it was meant.

"My criticism was on the board's part -- for when he requested his resignation so he could get cleaned up, that they didn't accept it," Ream said. "I thought that that was inappropriate for the rest of the board not to give this person the freedom they need to get themselves taken care of."

Mummert believes both sides have been acting badly.

"I've seen unkind statements come from the side ... supporting things that I agree with," he said.

On the other hand, he's felt attacked by his opposition on the issue.

"There's been some very unkind ways that that has been expressed, and accusatory statements," he said. "They've made a lot of accusations that are just generalizations: If you believe in creationism, you're a nonthinking person."

The argument in Dover is of a special kind, where to let the other side win a little is to lose your own cause entirely.

"Unfortunately, I think somebody simply has to win," Ream said. "My side right now is for science education."

Mummert said, "I can't make you believe what I believe," and that he recognizes the rights of all faiths in America. But he does not want to be told -- condescendingly, he feels -- that there are places where his faith does not belong.

"Part of what is so frustrating to me is this dichotomy in the life of all humans, where we want to keep God over here in this little building," he said. "'OK, so you come here and we'll tell you all about God.' Now, you come out to the public education, and we're not going to say anything about God.

"To me, the point behind that is that 'we really don't think there is a God.' OK? 'But if you want to believe in a God, if that's helpful to you ... run off to your little church and you can believe in your God. Just don't bring it back here into the rest of the world, OK?'

"I can't live that way," Mummert said. "And so, I will find myself in conflict. I will find myself in conflict in the world."

ABCNEWS' John Donvan and Elissa Rubin originally reported this story for "Nightline" on Jan. 13, 2005.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...