Written by Don Byrd
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has written letters to public school districts around Northern Kentucky explaining why field trips requiring students to visit the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum would violate the Constitution. The correspondence, which went out earlier this month, comes after Museum founder and Creationist activist Ken Ham reportedly encouraged schools to schedule trips and offered to make admission free for public school groups.
As I posted earlier, Genesis has no place in the public school science curriculum. If creationist science is disallowed, then a creationist “museum” would surely seem to raise red flags. That is especially true given the admittedly religious purpose of the theme park, which is owned by Answers in Genesis (AIG).
The Louisville Courier-Journal reports:
In a June 2018 blog post, Ham wrote “the whole purpose of building these attractions was evangelistic. … We make no apology for the fact that AiG is an evangelistic, biblical-authority ministry.”
Andrew Seidel, the [Freedom From Religion F]oundation’s director of strategic response, told the Courier Journal the group wants public schools “to understand that taking other people’s children to an amusement park that is dedicated to proselytizing for Christianity” violates the First Amendment.
“I don’t want to drag a public school district into court over this issue,” Seidel said. “We’re just trying to make sure they understand.”
With all of the culturally, historically, and scientifically significant places to take school children for field trips, we can surely leave religious theme parks off the list and in the discretion of parents. No student or parent should have to choose between full participation in the public school curriculum and their religious beliefs.