A widely-shared social media post claims a creationist “sued the Grand Canyon.”
While he’s not suing “the Grand Canyon,” one man was suing the Department of Interior and National Park Service over their refusal to grant him a permit to collect samples from the landmark.
According to court records, Andrew Snelling, a geologist and “professing Christian,” filed a suit against the Department of Interior in May alleging discrimination after his application to collect rock samples was denied.
Snelling was requesting permission to study “the folding of Paleozoic sedimentary structures,” including the collection of up to 60 half pound rock samples from the folds.
The Grand Canyon does permit sample collection for research, but collection requires approval and a rigorous permit-application process.
Snelling alleges that park officials requested peer reviews of his research proposals -- something they had not requested for previous permit applications -- and that his faith was ridiculed in the geologists’ analysis of his application.
Park officials then denied Snelling’s application, saying that the samples he was requesting could be found in other areas outside of the park’s boundaries.
Snelling’s attorneys, however, say the reason behind the rejection was Snelling’s “Christian faith and scientific viewpoints informed by his Christian faith.”
Snelling is associated with Answers in Genesis, a Kentucky-based Christian organization which focuses its work on the “investigation of geological phenomena ... from a Biblical perspective,” court records state.
“This case is all about giving the freedom for a scientist to do good science without having to undergo a religious litmus test,” Snelling said in a press release. “The samples I have been blocked from collecting in the GCNP are to be subjected to routine lab processing and investigations any good scientist would perform. The results are to be openly reported for all scientists to draw their own conclusions, whether they agree with my worldview interpretation of the history of the Earth.”
Snelling dropped his suit last week after park officials granted him the permit he had requested.
“I am gratified that the Grand Canyon Research staff have recognized the quality and integrity of my proposed research project and issued the desired research permits so that I can collect rock samples in the Park, perform the planned testing of them, and openly report the results for the benefit of all,” Snelling announced after his permit was granted.