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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Will It "Ad" Up?

The United Church of Christ (which counts Barack Obama among its 1.2 million members) is launching a Web-based advertising campaign aimed at the scientific community. The ads, which are said to promote both a pro-science and pro-faith message, will appear on more than 30 popular science blogs during February and will link to a newly expanded "faith and science" section on the UCC's Web site. "Frankly, when it comes to persons engaged in scientific inquiry—geneticists, mathematicians, chemists, engineers, science teachers, and students—the church has a history of communicating disinterest, distrust, and even hostility," the Rev. John Thomas, the UCC's general minister and president, said in a press release. To begin to counteract that message, Thomas and a group of scientists and theologians also wrote a pastoral letter on science and technology that has been endorsed by Alan Leshner, the chief executive officer of AAAS, as well as Charles Townes and Ian Barbour, both past Templeton Prize winners. "Many today are hungering for an authentic spirituality that is intellectually honest and at home in a scientific era," the letter states. "They are searching for a new kind of wisdom to live by, one that is scientifically sophisticated, technologically advanced, morally just, ecologically sustainable, and spiritually alive." —Heather Wax