Thou shall not visit the Ark Encounter or the Creation Museum because they are Christian facilities. That is what the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) continues to tell public schools in our country.
FFRF, a Wisconsin-based advocacy group formed some 40 years ago, has shared its message with more than 1,000 school districts in five states through letters, according to a press release sent out on Tuesday.
“Ken Ham, the evangelist who built these two notorious theme parks, has been clear about the proselytizing nature of his ventures from the beginning,” FFRF says in its statement.
Pointing to a letter released shortly before the opening of the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky, in July 2016, FFRF argues that Ham plainly states his motivation behind opening the park: “Our motive is to do the King’s business until He comes, and that means preaching the gospel and defending the faith, so that we can reach as many souls as we can … Millions of souls will hear the most important message of all … a message of hope from the holy, righteous Judge who, despite our sin, wants us to spend eternity with Him!”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation also says it is reminding numerous school districts, as it has earlier, because “unfortunately, [Ken] Ham continues to encourage public schools to plan field trips to visit his pet creations.”
The Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum are both owned and operated by Answers in Genesis, an evangelical Christian organization based in Kentucky.
“Museums like the Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian, or Chicago Field Museum — mostly they teach that we supposedly evolved [from] apelike creatures,” Ham told “Good Morning America” back in 2016. “Why shouldn’t we be able to use the same technology and really challenge people to consider the Bible as the true history of the world?”
In a phone interview on Tuesday, Ken Ham told LifeZette the FFRF is a small group trying to get Christianity removed from the culture so that it — FFRF — can impose atheism.
“The Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum are Christian facilities, but there is nothing at all that would be a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution if teachers brought their students as an educational experience to see what Christians are saying,” he explained. “It would be no different than, for example, a school saying, ‘I want to take the students to a mosque to learn more about the Muslim religion.’”
If a teacher were to instruct students visiting the Ark Encounter or Creation Museum that they must believe the same things the facilities teach, Ham says that would be a problem.
“If any public school wants to bring its students to the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum as an educational experience, then I will offer them free tickets to get in,” Ham said.
“Also, if the FFRF bullied them or threatened them, then we will have attorneys who are experts in constitutional law pro-bono give them the legal advice they need, or if FFRF sues them, they would then defend them pro bono.”
Ham added that if the FFRF did sue a school, he’d like to see it go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This needs to be shown to the FFRF that schools have every right to do that, and it’s about time we stood up to the bullying of this small group of atheists who want to do nothing but impose atheism on the culture and on the public schools.”
The Freedom From Religion group has long protested, among other things, public displays of religious belief in many locations across the country — including nativity scenes and Christian crosses.
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, it seeks to educate others on nontheism while protecting what it calls “the constitutional separation between state and church.”
With 31,000 members, FFRF is also known for arguing against the National Day of Prayer and tax-free housing allowances for clergy.
Chris Woodward is a reporter for American Family News and OneNewsNow.com. He is based in Tupelo, Mississippi.