Yes, you read that correctly. According to the London Telegraph:
The Church of England will concede in a statement that it was over-defensive and over-emotional in dismissing Darwin’s ideas. It will call “anti-evolutionary fervour” an “indictment” on the Church”.
The apology, which has been written by the Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, the Church’s director of mission and public affairs, says that Christians, in their response to Darwin’s theory of natural selection, repeated the mistakes they made in doubting Galileo’s astronomy in the 17th century.
The statement will read: “Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still. We try to practise the old virtues of ‘faith seeking understanding’ and hope that makes some amends.”
This is a pretty gutsy move considering the ideological chasms that exist in the Global Anglican Communion right now. As well proven as evolution is as a scientific theory, I’m sure many Anglican churches are deeply upset by this apology.
This gesture may be a little too late, but I think this apology makes a strong case that science and religion do not have to be adversaries. In fact, the head of the human genome project, Dr. Frances Collins (an evangelical Christian) writes in his new book that he found God through the beauty of science.
I wish more people on the Religious Right were similarly open minded.