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Geologist Andrew Snelling filed a complaint against the National Park Service of the Grand Canyon for treating him differently because of his beliefs.
Snelling is a Young Earth Creationist, meaning he believes the Earth was formed in six literal days, has existed for less than 10,000 years and was reshaped by a global flood, according to Answers in Genesis.
In 2013, Snelling requested a permit to extract 60 fist-sized rocks from soft-sediment folds in the Grand Canyon for research purposes but was denied by Martha Hahn, chief of the Science and Resource Management Research Office for the Grand Canyon. Snelling asked for reconsideration using more details in his request, but the National Park Service allegedly told him to do his research elsewhere because of his religious convictions, according to Snelling’s complaint.
“It has been determined that equivalent examples of soft-sediment folds can be found outside of Grand Canyon National Park,” Hahn said, according to the complaint.
After several requests, the National Park Service stopped responding to Snelling completely. During this time, they issued permits to other researchers requesting equal or greater rock extractions, such as basketball-sized rocks, according to the complaint.
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“(The National Park Service) … treats Dr. Snelling differently from other similarly situated individuals and groups on the basis of the content and viewpoint of speech and sincerely held religious beliefs.”
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Snelling solicited the support of Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, who wrote a letter to the National Park Service requesting that the permit be issued, according to Science Magazine.
“I am confident there is a misunderstanding regarding the denial or lack of response to Dr. Snelling’s request for issuing the permit,” Franks wrote in the letter, according to Science Magazine. “Because I have the utmost confidence in the integrity of the National Park Service, I am sure there would be no discrimination based on different viewpoints.”