United Church Observer backs ‘controversial’ evolution exhibit

Published May 1, 2008

An exhibit at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) celebrating Charles Darwin almost failed to open until an unlikely donor came through: the United Church Observer, the independent magazine of the United Church of Canada.

Before the Observer and the only other donor, the Humanist Association of Canada, came forward, the ROM had approached between 40 to 50 companies and patrons but none wanted to support the show, entitled The Evolution Revolution, because it was deemed too controversial.

Mr. Darwin’s theories of evolution and natural selection have outraged various religious groups but the Observer’s editor and publisher, David Wilson, said he saw no conflict in sponsoring the exhibit. “There is an inherent beauty in the theory of natural selection that illuminates the inherent beauty and wonder of creation,” he told the Toronto Star. Humanist president Pat O’Brien said that by co-sponsoring the exhibit, the monthly magazine has “really shown some leadership in the religious community.”

The Observer provided $40,000 in cash and advertising for the exhibit, while the Humanists donated $50,000.


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