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Viewpoint discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of Dr. Andrew Snelling


I wanted to get this special report out to you right away, as it is a significant issue in the ongoing research in and around the Grand Canyon, and an area of concern for Canyon Ministries. Many of you who have been on river trips with us know Dr. Snelling, and understand his heart for the truth to be told.
On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, a lawsuit was filed in US District Court in Phoenix, Arizona, by Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of Dr. Andrew Snelling, the Director of Research for Answers in Genesis (AiG).

Dr. Snelling, a PhD geologist who has been doing research in the Grand Canyon for over 25 years, is also an advisory member of the Canyon Ministries Board of Directors, and just last week returned from a 9-day river trip jointly hosted by AiG and Canyon Ministries.  Dr. Snelling has written over 30 peer-reviewed articles on his research and is the author of Earth’s Catastrophic Past, Geology, Creation & the Flood.
The lawsuit stems from the fact the National Park Service denied issuing Dr. Snelling a research permit to collect rock samples in the canyon (which he has been permitted to do in the past) based, not on the merit of the research, but on his personal worldview (viewpoint). While the case has been brewing for some time, the filing comes on the heels of President Trump’s signing an executive order on the National Day of Prayer dedicated to the “protection for religious freedom.” The order rightly states, “The Founders envisioned a Nation in which religious voices and views were integral to a vibrant public square, and in which religious people and institutions were free to practice their faith without fear of discrimination or retaliation by the Federal Government.”
Dr. Snelling’s request is to study “A number of specific folds in Paleozoic sedimentary rock layers in the Grand Canyon…to determine whether they were due to soft-sediment deformation soon after deposition or due to much later ductile behavior of the lithified rocks under prolonged stress.”  In other words, were these folds created soon after their creation while the layers were still soft and pliable, or slowly over millions of years after they were solid rock?  (For the layman’s version of this issue, see Tom’s Musings – Bent Rocks.) 

Pictured up top is the Carbon Creek Fold, one of the 3 main sites Dr. Snelling is requesting to sample. This research is vital to the full understanding of the formation of the Grand Canyon, and has implications regarding the formation of the world and the age of the earth. 
For more information on the lawsuit, see the following articles:


Please pray this issue will be resolved quickly by Grand Canyon National Park issuing Dr. Snelling the permit he rightly deserves.


– Tom


About the Author
Tom Vail founded Canyon Ministries in 1997 after over 15 years of leading trips through the canyon. He began guiding as a non-believer, gave his life to the Lord and began investigating some of the “problems” he always had with the evolutionary explanation he taught on canyon geology. As he learned more about the Biblical model, creation, and the flood, he found it gave a much better explanation of what he saw in the canyon, and it became the focus of the ministry. Tom is the author of Grand Canyon, a Different View and co-author of the True North Series, which includes guidebooks on the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce, and Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Tom and his wife, Paula, live in Phoenix, AZ when they are not in the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
  1. Gail Carlson, DVM Reply

    Dear Dr. Snelling,
    The Truth shall prevail. This was a great victory to resume your studies. Carbon Canyon was one of my favorites on the 2013 trip. Blessings as you go. Will praying for you and your crew.

  2. claudine Reply

    Dear Mr. Snelling,

    Nay sayers tried to convince us the world was flat, they also tried to discourage Einstein, Disney, Edison, Wright brothers, and many more to give up. Don’t let anyone’s 40 years of false pride and discouragement get in your way – with God All things are possible!

    Praying in NY,
    Claudine Matthew 19:26

  3. Gayle Reply

    If the millions of years people have the truth all locked up, why would they feel threatened by research?

  4. The truth Reply

    What they don’t tell you is that he’s going to an area that even some of the most important scientist are not allowed to go because it’s millions of years old and their objective is to preserve it. He’s destroying history just to try and prove a point. No matter what evidence he finds it won’t be abundant or sufficient enough to prove his point right, nor any other point wrong. Therefore, he is destroying precious history for no good reason.

    • Tom Vail Reply

      Just to set the record straight, the permit does not allow Dr. Snelling to go into any “culturally sensitive” area nor anywhere any other scientist with a valid permit is not allowed to go. The National Park Service does a very good job of insuring resources are protected, regardless of how old you might think they are. And you are correct, the results will not “prove” the theory, but it may be sufficient to call into question existing theories and indicate the need for additional research. Tom Vail

  5. Julia Reply

    Praying! 🙏🏻🙏🏻

  6. Dianna Harris Reply

    Always a cliff to climb. Praying 🙏🏻 the LORDS 👑 WILL be done and the TRUTH 📖🕊 be told.

  7. Melissa Meader Reply

    Thank you for the update. Will be praying about this case.

  8. Leann Reply


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