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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

Deposition of Bishop Kenneth W. Hicks - Page 2


Q. Did he indicate that there were a great number
of people there?

A. Yes.

Q. Did he indicate how long the hearing itself lasted?

A. No. No, he didn't. He didn't indicate that to
me. Now he may have. I don't recall that he did.

Q. When you found out that he was not able to present
your views to the committee hearing, what did you do?

A. I don't believe I had any -- I didn't take any
course of action at all. You know, I probably expressed
personal indignation and that's all.

Q. did you make an attempt that afternoon or any
time after that to contact any legislators concerning
the bill?

A. No. No, I did not. By the time -- by the time I
was free enough to get back in touch with Reverend Tanner
later that afternoon, the information I had was that it
had advanced too far. Then I didn't see that I could
make any kind of difference.

Q. Did you contact anyone concerning your feelings
about the bill between the hearing date and the
date that it was finally enacted by the legislature?

A. Any legislator?

Q. Anyone in particular?

A. No, I think not.


Q. Did you contact any legislators after the bill
was enacted?

A. The -- let's see. I don't recall that I did. The
only contact that I recall was sometime after the -- some
maybe be even months after the enactment of the bill when
I did write a letter to Senator Holstead. In fact, I
think there is a copy in there expressing really a mutual
appreciation of him as a person since he is a member of my
denomination, member of a local Church within this
community. And I wanted him to understand that the fact
that we were at opposite ends on this issue did not diminish
my appreciation of him as a person, as a Christian.

Q. Did you contact any other legislators after the
bill was adopted?

A. Not to my recollection. I think not.

Q. Did you ever contact the Governer after the bill
was adopted and signed by him?

A. No. No. No, I did not.

Q. When did you first learn that a lawsuit challenging
Act 590 would be filed?

A. I can't put a date to that. I can't even -- I
can't even put an approximate date to it except it would
have been within -- within some, you know, may be two
weeks of the time that the lawsuit was actually filed.
And I can't -- I really can't vouch to that. But it


was sometime approximately approaching the time that it
was filed that I knew there was some consideration
being given to this.

Q. Do you know who contacted you about that?

A. That contact would have been Sandra Kurjiaka. I
believe, that would have been the source of my

Q. Do you recall what Ms. Kurjiaka told you?

A. No. There had been -- there was common discussion
of this I think and it may be that I had some discussion
with somebody -- with somebody on the ACLU staff prior to
the announcement of the decision to do this, to proceed
with the suit. And my -- the nature of my -- it seems
to me that there was a prior conversation that I had with
somebody other than Sandra. But I can't vouch to that
because by the time I know that the decision by ACLU to
proceed with the suit was done, was made I know I had
indicated -- I had had occasion to indicate that the -- my
feeling that this would be an action that I would
appreciate. And would be a means by which this issue could
be tested. And in a manner that I, or anyone else that I
knew that might be interested in this as I was, would have
the means to proceed on. And so it was -- there was some
assurance, I recall on my part, that this would be pleasing
to me if this kind of procedure could be arranged.


Q. Do you recall who that somebody else was that
contacted you?

A. No, I don't know.

Q. When did you learn that you would be a witness at the

A. Just a few weeks ago. I don't know how long ago
really. Time passes so fast. But five, six, seven weeks

Q. Who contacted you and told you that?

A. You know there is a -- as I've indicated, there is
a great deal of time -- in fact, most of the time I
am not in my office. And my secretary relates
information to me. And I -- in the hurry of things, many
times I don't concentrate on who it was. But I take the
information and I really can't say -- I don't know whether
it was Bob Cearley's office, ACLU's office. I don't know
where that information came from.

Q. Have you discussed what you will be testifying to
with any attorney involved in this litigation?

MS. VEHIK: I'm going to have to object to
that. That's attorney client privilege.

MR. CAMPBELL: I didn't ask the
substance. I just asked whether or not he had discussed

MS. VEHIK: Okay.


A. I have discussed the trial with -- do -- do you
need to know with whom? With an attorney, yes.

Q. Who did you talk to?

A. Phil Kaplan.

Q. When was that conversation?

A. It was this week, a couple of days ago I believe.
I forget which day.

Q. How long did that conversation last?

A. Oh, an hour or so. Probably about an hour.

Q. Where did it take place?

A. In my office.

Q. Other then your reasons for opposing the teaching
of creation-science and your unsuccessful attempt to testify
before the Arkansas Legislature in opposition to Act 590
which the Plaintiffs told us you would be testifying to,
will you be testifying to any other matters of trial?

A. On any other matter of trial outside of this
litigation? Not that I am aware of, no.

Q. Outside of these two things. Outside of your
opposition to the teaching of creation-science and
outside of your unsuccessful attempt to testify before
the General Assembly. Will you be testifying to anything

A. I can't think of anything else that I would be
testifying about.


Q. Recognizing that you are not going to be testifying to
this at trial. But what is your opinion as to the origin of
the universe?

A. Well, I believe that it has a divine origin. I
believe in the faith data, faith statement that's
presented in the book of Genesis, "In the beginning
God created...." That does not -- for me that does not
require that I circumscribe God in terms of how he
did it or how it was done -- he or she -- or anything
of that sort. But I do believe that God created the
heavens and the earth. I believe it was created with
intention. I believe that it was created with order in mind
and I believe it was created with purpose, With ongoing
purpose. Yeah.

Q. Again, recognizing you are not going to be
testifying to this at trial. But what is your opinion on
the origin of man?

A. Well, for me personally I am open -- I believe that
humanity, as with all other forms of life, was created by
God. I am open to the manner in which that was done. In
terms of it having been done instantaneously, if it could
be verified some day that it was that way, you know,
that's okay with me. If it took ten million years to do
it, that does not bother me at all. In fact, I think it
would be kind of neat if God did it that way. This, you


know, one of the concerns that I have is that I see the
whole process being circumscribed here too much to fit a
literal view of the Biblical accounts. And when the
educational process has to come out in support of the
Bible, then I think that it's turned around. I don't
believe it ought to have to do that.

Q. Have you had an opportunity to read Act 590?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. What does "balanced treatment" mean to you?

A. Balanced treatment should mean the presentation
of data of both types that would be equal in authority,
equal in validity. I really haven't thought about it beyond
that. To the extent that that's possible, uh-huh.

Q. What does the phrase "prohibition against religious
instruction" mean to you?

A. Prohibition against religious instruction to me
would mean that the insertion of a divine authority of a
described nature, or the insertion of a Scriptural
authority by which that divinity is described is -- is
material that is -- that is theological and philosophical
and belongs to the orientation of a fellowship of people
that might agree on a particular point of view. And I think
the phrase "to prohibit", that would mean to prohibit or
prevent a particular view from being inserted into the arena
or discussion.


Q. Did you see anything in Act 590 which, in your
opinion, would prohibit a teacher from expressing his or
her professional opinion on the relative merits or
demerits of creation-science or evolution-science?

A. That would prevent a teacher from expressing? I
really need to think about that a bit. That would
prevent -- I think that as I have looked at the bill and
have studied it, I don't think that there is anything,
you know, to prevent the teacher from presenting it. My
contention is that I don't think it can be presented on
the creation side. I don't think it can be presented
and I guess that would be a prohibition. And you see the
contradiction comes in that there shall be balanced
treatment. And yet the provision requires that the
treatment of creationism shall be void of reference to
Bible, religion, God and so on.

My contention is that the
creation-science point of view could not end up being
balanced because it is not only forbidden by the bill, it is
forbidden by the First Amendment. I believe that
creation-science cannot be taught without some kind of
reference to a form of deity or to a Scriptural source by
which one gains an understanding of that Creator. That's
part of the contradiction or part of the ambiguity that I
see in it.


Q. Then is it your opinion that an atheist could not
be a creation-scientist?

A. I can't imagine how -- I can't imagine how one could.
One might -- one might be an atheist presumably and teach
printed material. Just passing it on through a lecture
method. But to consider that as reliable data or as data
that has some basis of validity, I can't see how an
atheist could deal with that.

Q. Section 4.(a) of Act 590 defines creation-science.
And it states that, "Creation-science means the
scientific inferences" -- excuse me. "the scientific
evidences for creation and inferences from those scientific
evidences. Creation-science includes the scientific
evidences and related inferences that indicate...." and then
it lists six items. I would like to ask you about each of
those items and then ask you how those items are consistent
or inconsistent with the Genesis account of creation. Item
(1) is the "Sudden creation of the universe, energy, and
life from nothing." How is it consistent or inconsistent
with the Genesis account of creation?

A. It is consistent with a literal translation or a
literal interpretation of the first chapter of Genesis.
The issue there would be was the first chapter of Genesis
written with that intention of it being a literal laying
out of the order of creation, which I think the best


Biblical evidence indicates that was not the intention.
That this was -- that the happenings on the various days
as indicated in the first chapter of Genesis are pegged,
so to speak, upon which the greater idea could be hung.
Namely that this whole thing came from God. And that
God did it in an orderly manner. That it occurred
through a process.

So, you know, from my point of view, it
is -- yeah, it is consistent literally with the book
of Genesis. But I don't think that a literal
interpretation of the first chapter of Genesis is the only
authoritative way of looking at the creation account.

Q. (2) is "the insufficiency of mutation and natural
selection in bringing about development of all living
kinds from a single organism." How is that consistent or
inconsistent with the Genesis account of creation?

A. Well, you think that and I must admin that I
don't know that sentence too well. The phrase at the
end of it, of a single organism, I think -- "the
insufficiency of mutation and natural selection in
bringing about development of all living kinds from a
single organism." Whatever it is saying, it seems to me
that that is beginning to say what the creative process
is and is not. And I think we have to be open enough in
our understanding or in our search for truth that whether


it began from a single organism or from multiple
organisms, let's pursue each of these points of view.

And that whichever direction the
pursuit of that origin search takes, if our understanding
of God is great enough, you know, the deity is not going
to be threatened and faith does not have to be threatened.

But the moment you begin to try to implant upon a
document that was written, the best information seems to
indicate, oh, approximately -- let's say 500 B.C. in an era
that was not a scientific era by minds who were not
scientifically oriented minds. By minds that were poetic,
imaginative, deeply religious. They were not minds that
cared about scientific detail. And I see this sentence as
beginning to place restrictions, you know, on what the book
of Genesis or the Genesis account has to mean.

To state it another way, I don't believe
that the Genesis account describes all that there is to know
about God. On the other hand, I don't see the definition
of God or the nature of God as being a pursuit that is
applicable to the scientific methodology. This is the
thing that concerns me is that when you are talking about
divine origins, then you are talking another field. You
are talking theology. You are talking philosophy. You
are talking ideas. But in terms of pulling up pieces of
data, you are not in that field.


And this is where I'm really troubled
in the second statement that it seems to -- there is an
insufficiency of mutation and natural selection springing
from a single organisms. So what? Single organism,
multiple organisms, which just revealed more about my lack
of scientific knowledge than anything else.

Q. Well, how is that consistent with Genesis?

A. How is the sentence consistent with Genesis? I
don't know that it is consistent with Genesis. And if it
is a premise, you know, that defines creation-science, I
would probably have to say that it is not consistent with
Genesis. I think that this is -- as I understand this, and
I have to admin that I'm not really sure what that means --
I don't think it is consistent with Genesis in the larger
view of Genesis which I happen to hold to.

Q. And how is it consistent with the literal reading
of Genesis?

A. Well, it is apparently disagreeing with anything
that is related to natural selection. It is disagreeing,
you know, from even the possibility that things do spring
from a single organism. And my conviction is until we
know that is the case, let's pursue it. Let's pursue the
possibilities of the process of natural selection. I can't
see anything wrong with that. There is something wrong with
it, of course, if one's view of God has to be limited to the


data -- to the literal data that is in Genesis. And as I've
indicated, I don't think that Genesis was written with that
kind of limit in mind and particularly when you couple the
first chapter of Genesis with the other account of creation
that, begins in Genesis two four which apparently was
written at an earlier time by perhaps 4- or 500 years.

You've got two separate pieces of
material that really in no way relate or are consistent
with one another except to confirm the idea that creation
came from divine beginnings, there was a realization
-- in fact, I think it is in the second chapter that there
came a time, so to speak, when the two human beings were
aware of their nakedness. Well, there must have been a time
that they existed when they weren't aware of their

There is nothing wrong with that.
That is expanding the grandeur of divinity it seems to me
rather than inhibiting it as I see the creation-science
approach doing.

Q. Would it be fair to say that the definition of
creation-science as it appears in Section 4.(a) of Act 590
is, in your opinion, based upon a literal reading of the
book of Genesis?

A. This is the way I understand it. The way I take
it; yes, sir.


Q. And that would include (3) which is "Changes only
within fixed limits of originally created kinds of plants
and animal;" (4) "Separate ancestry for man and apes;"
(5) "Explanation of the earth's geology by catastrophism,
including the occurrence of a worldwide flood;" and (6) "A
relatively recent inception of the earth and living

A. Yeah, and you see I don't necessarily -- I don't
necessarily quarrel with the possibility that some of these
things might indeed be the way it ultimately turns out.
My quarrel with it is with limiting inquiry to the
presupposition that this is where it has to turn out.

For instance, separate ancestry for man
and apes. Well, I personally believe that man and apes
-- that man is man and that apes are apes and that
chickens are chickens. That's the way I feel about it.
Now if somehow some evidence comes along, as it does
from time to time on a theoretical basis, that there was
a commonality back here somewhere, that there was a
commonality of being, and then eventually there was some
separation took place. For me personally -- I just say for
me personally -- I have no problem with that at all. And
particularly if it turns out, you know, that that's
verifiable. If that's verifiable, then that becomes the
part of the data of life. But by all means, we need to deal


with it and not shut it out it seems to me. We mustn't shut
out inquiry. We must not shut out investigating it just
because Genesis does not happen to pick up on that.

Q. Why do you think we are limiting inquiry under
Act 590 when both creation-science and evolution-science
can be presented in the classroom?

A. Well, it -- I've tried to indicate that I believe that
creation-science, even within the definitions that are
in 4.(a), you know, that that already sets forth some
"givens" that creation-science has in mind. And the
fact seems to be that the understanding of deity and the
understanding of scriptural truth must be protected at all
costs. And therefore, the process of putting
creation-science in place has to prepare the science
teachers or somebody -- another facilty in the school system
or something -- has to prepare them for dealing with this
indoctrinational material, with material that is accepted on
face value, which is faith material but it is accepted as

Well, those who have come through the
educational process to prepare themselves as science
teachers somehow or other have to be retooled. Whose
description of reality and creation realty is to be
superimposed? Whose description of the creative origin,
whatever that's defined as, is going to be the one that


is used? And here, then, is where I see all of the
religions of the world -- their various views of

And I see this, you know, saying either
that we are going to have to get over a substantial
amount of the scientific time to the discussion of
religions or else we are going to have to block those
out. And the State will decide what that creation look
will be like, how it will be circumscribed, how it will
be defined, what would be the attributes of it. And
that can't be done. That really can't be done under under
the First Amendment or it cannot be done by a mixing of two
fields that are as unrelated in their disciplines as science
and religion are.

Q. You mentioned that creation-science as it is defined
in section 4.(a) carries with it certain "givens." And
if I'm misstating you, please let me know. Is it your
opinion that the definition of evolution-science in section
4.(b) has no givens, carries no givens with it?

A. Yeah, it does have givens. But I find those
givens in evolution-science as being non-dogmatic. Much
more so than I do than the paragraph above. For
instance, the "emergence of naturalistic processes of the
universe from disordered matter and emergence of life
from non-life." Okay. The agenda, it seems to me it has


to be, then, that out of that disordered matter to try to
put into some formula or into some order that at least
represents the theory. It is a pursuit. It is an
inquiry. Whereas up here I see more of the closed system
under creation-science being presented. "The sudden
creation of the universe, energy and life from nothing."
That seems to be a given. It can't be -- isn't supposed
to be meddled with.

Q. Recognizing you are not going to be testifying about
this at trial, but in your opinion, how would you define
"academic freedom"?

A. Well first of all, I've never been called upon to
do it before. And so what I will say will be very
preliminary and very unprofound. But academic freedom it
seems to me includes the opportunity to investigate any
piece of data that might, in any way, apply to knowledge
about a given object or given situation. Academic freedom
it seems to me would have presupposing in it. The
opportunity to move out in an attempt to see if any of those
pieces of data were true or real, were verifiable. And to
see if the process of putting data together to reach a given
end, to see if it can be repeated. And to have that
opportunity to make that pursuit no matter where it might
lead or what might be disproved of it as a result of it or
approved as a result of it. That, I think, is at least a


part of what I would think of as academic freedom.

Q. Do you think that the presentation of divergent
views can aid in the learning process?

A. I believe that they do -- that they can indeed
stimulate and contribute to the learning process if
they are divergent enough.

Q. How would you define "religion"?

A. Amazingly enough, as close to it as I am, I don't
know when I've ever done that before, either. But
religion I believe would at least include a set of
beliefs, ideas, and values which together formulate a code
of ethics and a view of divine reality.

Now one could turn that around, I
realize, and say that religion is a set of values, insights,
beliefs about a divine reality, which when translated into
life forms becomes a code of ethics. I'll have to work on
that one.

Q. Do you always see some type of divine reality being
involved in religion? In other words, is a deity
necessary for religion?

A. My understanding of religion would -- I believe
would make that a given.

Q. Have you prepared any documents or any papers
concerning what you would expect to testify to at trial?

A. No, sir. No, I haven't. I believe everything that


I have written and read or had printed up from anything
I've said is right there.

Q. In your meeting with Mr. Kaplan, did you provide to
him --

MS. VEHIK: Objection.

Q. -- any type of written statement as to what your
proposed testimony would be at trial?

A. Any kind of written statement as to what my -- no.

Q. Bishop Hicks, I'm looking at some of the documents
which you brought with you to this morning's deposition.
First I have in my hand a letter addressed to Senator
Holstead, dated June 5, 1981 and signed by you. Is this the
letter which you referred to earlier in the deposition as
stressing your appreciation to Senator Holstead for his
efforts as a citizen, concerned citizen?

A. Yes.

Q. What caused you to write Senator Holstead a letter?

A. That came out of simply a pastoral concern that I
had that here was -- see, at the beginning of every
regular session of legislature -- since I have been
here I have had a breakfast at which we invite the United
Methodist legislators, members of the assembly, to a
breakfast that I host and come with their pastors if they
can. Jim Holstead has been there. I've appreciated him
as a person. As this took on -- as this took on the


connotations that it did, I felt a responsibility as
a pastor to assure him that I separate the issue and my
esteem for him. I just wanted him to know that.

Q. I have here, I would like to be marked as Hicks
Exhibit #1 which appears to be a memorandum to members of
the Interfaith Denominational Executives Roundtable from
Bishop Kenneth W. Hicks. Can you tell me who the
memorandum was written to and what its purpose was?

[Thereupon Hicks Exhibit #1 was marked
for the record.]

A. Let's see. This would have been -- the members of the
Interfaith Denomination Executives Roundtable is a group of
denominational executives of Arkansas. Typical of these are
Bishop of the Catholic Church, the Bishop of the Episcopal
Church, the head of the Presbyterian denomination, Rabbi
Palnick represents the Jewish community. Typical of that
kind of person. And currently I am president of that body.

And this was a memo that obviously I
sent to them indicating that, in the course of
conversation with the ACLU that, you know, that this kind
of relationship might be helpful. And this statement
was submitted for their consideration to see whether
they would join in this position or not.

Q. Did they ultimately join in that position?

A. Many of them have. The -- oh, with regard to just


as members of Interfaith Denomination of Executives
Roundtable, yes. I cannot and I don't have, you know, a
verification of who did not. To my knowledge, there was
nobody who refused. I'm just not sure whether everybody
responded. Many of these persons, of course, are in the
list of Plaintiffs.

Q. I have what I would like to be marked as Hicks
Exhibit #2 a letter dated July 20, 1981 addressed to you
from Bill Briant.

[Thereupon Hicks Exhibit #2 was marked for
the record.]

MS. VEHIK: I'm sorry. Can we go off the
record? We're having an emergency.

[Short break.]

Q. Who is Mr. Briant? That's B-r-i-a-n-t.

A. Bill Briant is one of our United Methodist
pastors. He is currently pastor of the Mountain View
United Methodist Church, which is out on West Tenth.
Prior to the delay of the trial -- I forget what the
earlier date was. Well, this indicates that this was
done at least in July -- Bill had occasion to be in my
office. And at that time there had been -- I had been
approached to be on the Phil Donahue show as this
indicates. And Bill indicated in the course of visiting
about this that, "I took quite a bit of science in


college. I have some ideas about this. If you think it
would be helpful to you in working up your own attitude
and background about this, I'd be glad to work up
something." And I invited him to do so and that is the
source of this.

Q. Bishop Hicks, I have no further questions. I
appreciate your courtesy in being with us today. Thank
you very much.

[Thereupon the taking of the above
deposition was concluded at 1:50 p.m.]

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