Make no mistake about it, in kennie ham's own words, his 'Ark Encounter' is a ministry, nothing more and nothing less. He said it back in 2011 when he posted for one of his earliest Ark Park job openings:
"Our work at Ark Encounter is not just a job, it is also a ministry. Our employees work together as a team to serve each other to produce the best solutions for our design requirements. Our purpose through the Ark Encounter is to serve and glorify the Lord with our God-given talents with the goal of edifying believers and evangelizing the lost."Those are his words, not mine. I just added the underlining for a little emphasis. Back a couple of weeks ago, kennie wrote this about the reasons he built his ark:
"Yes, our motive is to do the King’s business until He comes. And that means preaching the gospel and defending the faith, . . ."So when you think of his ark park, in fact when you think of his pseudo-museum as well, you have to think an incredibly narrow Evangelical Christianity viewpoint and, most certainly, a ministry.
That being said, should public school students visit either his ark park or his pseudo-museum on school trips?
Let's ask it a slightly different, but more accurate way. Would you support your local public school making a school trip to a Catholic Church for Mass?
Of course not! Don't get annoyed for me picking out the Catholic Church, I figured it was better to have a specific religion in the question, because that makes a much better analogy to Ham's places of worship. So why would you send them to ham's church to be preached at? That's what it is, isn't it? It's a ministry for preaching the gospel. Plus, if you have ever visited his pseudo-museum you know it's not even the gospel of Christianity, but it's the gospel according to kennie ham.
OK, as reported over on The Panda's Thumb, "Atheist group warns public schools against field trips to Ark Park …", the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a “warning” to more than 1000 school districts in Kentucky and neighboring states, advising them against field trips to the Ark Park. Of course, kennie had to respond . . . nothing really unexpected. But what bothered me was how he tried to re-label his ark park . . . here is a quote:
"To repeat: as long as a school trip fits an educational, recreational, or historical purpose, for example, it would be constitutionally appropriate."
He not only has a license to discriminate against Kentucky workers who don't share his religious beliefs, now he wants public schools to fund trips to his ministry so he can market his incredibly narrow set of religious beliefs to students, claiming educational -- of only his personal religion, historical -- of a flood that has no evidence of actually happening, or recreational -- people always have so much fun being preached at, don't they?
I have said it before and I have to say it again. Kennie Ham's idea of religious freedom is not based on the Constitution, not matter he claims, nor is it based on even the idea of actual religious freedom. He doesn't want anyone to have the freedom to believe as they wish, he demands that everyone believe as he does! And if you don't wish to give him the opportunity to preach to school children, he calls you an 'antireligious zealot'. Zealotry, bigotry, and discrimination seem to be the hallmarks of kennie and his ilk, not those who don't wish to give him free reign in his preaching.
I hope public schools keep as far away from his religious zealotry as possible. Even if you share some of his beliefs. A visit to one of his 'edifices to himself' isn't to share your common ground, but so he can tell you how wrong you are because you don't share all of his beliefs, narrow as they are