Ken Ham is pissed off. The FFRF has been telling local schools that field trips to the Creation “Museum” and Ark Park are violations of the separation of church and state, and that they don’t get to pretend that going to a religious venue has a secular purpose. Ham insists that public schools trooping their students off to his exercise in bibliolatry is not unconstitutional.
As leading civil rights attorneys will tell you, if classes tour the Ark or museum in an objective fashion to supplement the teaching of world religions, literature, interpretation of history, etc., the field trip is an educational experience. Now, if students were brought to the Ark or museum and told by their teacher that the religious content should be accepted as truth, then we would acknowledge that the Establishment Clause of the Constitution would be violated.
As educators are aware, however, it is well established in the law that the Bible may be used in the classroom objectively, as part of a secular program of education. As long as the teacher doesn’t express a personal opinion about the Bible, there is no issue whatsoever.
This is a weird argument. So a teacher could take their class to a church service, and as long as they kept a straight face and didn’t say whether the hour-long ceremony they sat through wasn’t true, they’re off the hook? It’s just a secular fact-finding expedition? I call bullshit.
The entire purpose of those AiG carnival shows is to tell visitors that their “literal” interpretation of the Bible is true, that the scientific evidence must be reinterpreted biblically, and that science is wrong. They can’t seriously propose that their stuff is not religious and evangelical. I guess we already know that honesty isn’t one of the things AiG practices, though, so that’s not going to stop Ham from this grand lie.
But I’m not a lawyer. I actually have problems with trying to block creationists on purely Constitutional grounds of the separation of church and state, although I know that’s often been the bulwark of our defense against creationist incursions into the schools.
You ought not to take students to the Ark Park because it’s pseudo-science and flagrant science denialism. Why would you trek across the state to some obscure caricature of a “museum” where your students will be intentionally misinformed when you could go to the Kentucky Science Center or the Cincinnati Museum Center? Are you a responsible educator who looks for the best opportunities to teach, or are you a hack who drags kids off to irrelevant tourist traps where dogma won’t be challenged?
Jesus, I see stories about religious kooks a thousand miles away organizing bus trips to that garbage site, when they could be going to the Field Museum or the AMNH or the Smithsonian instead. It makes no sense. It’s not as if great science opportunities aren’t available all around the country, so you have no recourse but to go to a bad freak show and make up stories about how you’re exposing them to secular interpretations of science.
Ken Ham is just a con artist.