|» ||Atheist Group Threatens Public Schools Over Trips to the Ark Encounter|
Ken Ham says these schools can legally visit the attraction.
Earlier in January the anti-Christian group known as Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent warning letters to some 1,000 public schools in Kentucky and other states. The letters warned that “public schools and public school staff may not constitutionally organize trips to the Ark Encounter or [its sister attraction] the Creation Museum.”
Now, Ken Ham, CEO of the Ark Encounter and its sponsoring organization, Answers in Genesis, has reacted with a letter of his own, which was mailed to more than 170 public school superintendents in Kentucky.
Ham says religious liberty experts maintain that “if public school classes tour the Ark or museum in an objective fashion to supplement a school’s teaching of world religions, literature, interpretation of history, etc., then the field trip, with free admission, is an educational experience.” Ham did admit that public school students could not be brought to the Ark or museum for the purpose of religious indoctrination. The Establishment Clause of the Constitution would prohibit such a trip.
Nate Kellum, a religious freedom attorney who heads the Center for Religious Expression, supported Ham’s position. In fact, Kellum wrote a letter which apparently accompanied Ham’s letter to the Kentucky school superintendents. Kellum in his letter said FFRF failed to cite a single case in which a field trip to a religious facility was found to be unconstitutional. Kellum’s group regularly works with public officials to help them understand and respect First Amendment (freedom of religion and expression) rights.
Ham added he would have no objection to a public school class visiting a mosque for the purpose of learning what Muslims teach as long as teachers did not defend Muslim beliefs. Just like a trip to the Ark Encounter, such a visit would simply be adding to a student’s education.
Ham repeated his pledge not to charge admission to public school students who visit the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum, and he warned, “If the FFRF dares threaten or bully a public school, we have access to expert constitutional law attorneys like Mr. Kellum who will provide their services to the school, pro bono, even if that means handling a case that could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Comment: Atheists appear to genuinely fear what students might learn from visits to the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum. This despite the fact they claim that attendance to these attractions is falling along with their appeal. But this fear is as it should be for “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12a, EHV).
Although Congress regularly allows for prayers during official sessions, most Christians would likely agree that public schools should not sponsor prayers or religious instruction. After all, if Christian prayers and doctrines were allowed to be taught, then these schools would also have to constitutionally allow Islamic prayers and doctrines, Jewish prayers and doctrines, and even Wiccan witchcraft prayers and doctrines to be taught.
What harm though can come from merely learning the facts about a religion or other organization? Can learning the facts about smoking be an encouragement to begin or continue the dangerous practice? I know at one time, if not currently, public school literature classes often studied Bible stories, along with Shakespeare and the writings of Greek philosophers. This didn’t mean that teachers were encouraging students to adopt any particular view.
Meanwhile churches and Christian parents could in many cases do a better job of teaching the young people the truth of God’s Word. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6, KJV). After all, the ultimate goal for every Christian is not to visit a replica of Noah’s Ark but to visit Noah himself along with the other saints and loved ones in heaven and, of course, the Son of God. Even little children can understand and believe that salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior.
Reference: The Dispatch, “Ken Ham defends Ark Encounter field trips as atheists threaten schools,“ The Global Dispatch (Thursday, January 17, 2019). (“Free to share and use” photo of the Ark Encounter, from intermonk.)
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QUESTION OF THE DAY
What is considered a normal pulse for men?
A normal resting pulse or heart rate for men is between 60 and 100 beats. It will tend to be lower for well-conditioned athletes or people taking some medications such as beta blockers. It will naturally rise during periods of physical exertion or emotional stress. A physician should be consulted if the pulse is consistently below 60 BPM (without beta blockers) or higher than 100 BPM.
Source: Richard S. Lang, “Ask Dr. Lang,” Men’s Health Advisor [January, 2019], page 8.
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