School cancels trip to creation museum
Meet Otis Kline, above. He is President of the Foundation Advancing Creation Truth (FACT) that operates Glendive Dinosaur & Fossil Museum in Montana – and right now he’s probably spitting tacks over the fact that Americans United for Separation of Church and State sabotaged a school trip to his cock-eyed venture.
Until recently Lincoln Elementary School in Glendive had taken all of its third-grade students to the museum. According to Americans United, although the name would suggest the museum teaches sound science:
In reality the attraction is run by a fundamentalist ministry that seeks to undermine evolution.
On its website, the foundation is clear about its mission.
The mission of the Foundation Advancing Creation Truth (FACT) and its related ministries is to glorify God as Creator and Sustainer, emphasize man’s accountability to Him, to affirm God’s revealed and inspired Word as the preeminent source of truth and authority, and to challenge mankind to think through the assumptions and consequences of the humanistic concept of evolution and its underlying premise that the earth is billions of years old.
The school had planned to take about 100 students to the museum, during school hours, in May. But the trip was called off in response to a May 6 letter from Americans United. In its letter, AU expressed concern about the obvious problems associated with taking public school students to see exhibits run by:
A religious organization dedicated to teaching creationism – a religious view – in the guise of science …
The facility advances the creationist idea that dinosaurs and humans once coexisted, a concept soundly debunked by mainstream science. It even has displays that show humans and dinosaurs fighting, in addition to “a biblical history room” and a model of Noah’s ark.
An official at the museum admitted that he presents creationist teachings, such as the idea that all animal species appeared at once, and dives directly into the religious foundations for those teachings in response to student questions.
Americans United Associate Legal Director Alex J Luchenitser said:
I don’t think there’s any way that children can enter that building without receiving the creationist message.
The school’s principal, John Larsen, admitted that the museum offers:
A different point of view than kids are exposed to in school.
Responding to criticism for scuppering the trip, Americans United said:
Public bodies are prohibited not only from using their own employees to impart religious doctrines to students, but also from allowing private individuals to do so at school activities or events.