We recently wrote Hambo’s War on the Constitution, about public school field trips to the creationist tourist attractions of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else.
Ol’ Hambo was outraged that the trips were criticized. He ranted that there’s no such thing as separation of church and state, and school trips to the Ark Encounter or Creation Museum were fine educational opportunities, and a rare chance to contradict the Darwinist nonsense kids were being fed five days a week in public schools.
Well, ol’ Hambo is going to be enraged again by an op-ed (with a comments section) that appears in the Lexington Herald-Leader of Lexington, Kentucky. Their headline is Ark Park visit doesn’t qualify as college prep. It was written by Dan Phelps, president of the Kentucky Paleontological Society and vice president of Kentuckians for Science Education. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
In June 2018, 35 public middle and high school students from Bell, Harlan and Letcher counties were taken by Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College on a “college preparation” field trip that included the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter. … Information I received via an open-records request indicates the community college spent more than $1,300 for tickets to the Ark and Creation Museum plus additional travel expenses.
Your tax money is being well spent. Phelps explains:
Both the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter are run by the young-earth creationist organization, Answers in Genesis. It is a fundamentalist Christian apologetic ministry with the stated aim of instructing Ark and museum visitors that the Bible is literally true, and converting them to their version of Christianity.
That’s not news to us, but try to imagine the effect that may have on Kentucky residents. Phelps tells them:
By taking students to these venues, the community college’s program, which is a public, state-supported institution, unconstitutionally used tax monies to promote a specific religious message. Moreover, the Kentucky Constitution forbids the use of taxpayer dollars to support a ministry.
Phelps doesn’t provide a link, but we will: Constitution Of The Commonwealth Of Kentucky (pdf file). Section 5 of the Bill of Rights, on page 7, says:
Section 5. Right of religious freedom. No preference shall ever be given by law to any religious sect, society or denomination; nor to any particular creed, mode of worship or system of ecclesiastical polity; nor shall any person be compelled to attend any place of worship, to contribute to the erection or maintenance of any such place, or to the salary or support of any minister of religion; nor shall any man be compelled to send his child to any school to which he may be conscientiously opposed; and the civil rights, privileges or capacities of no person shall be taken away, or in anywise diminished or enlarged, on account of his belief or disbelief of any religious tenet, dogma or teaching. No human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.
And Section 189 on page 35 says:
Section 189. School money not to be used for church, sectarian, or denominational school. No portion of any fund or tax now existing, or that may hereafter be raised or levied for educational purposes, shall be appropriated to, or used by, or in aid of, any church, sectarian or denominational school.
That seems clear. But Hambo says there’s no such thing as separation of church and state. Well, let’s continue with the Lexington Herald-Leader:
The brand of creationism promoted by these attractions, among other things, claims the Earth and universe are only 6,000 to 10,000 years old, that humans coexisted with non-avian dinosaurs (some of which were fire-breathing dragons according to AiG), and that the bulk of the geological and fossil record are explained by the Biblical Flood of 2348 BC.
None of these ideas are consistent with modern science, history or reality. Most Christians and other religious people realize these ideas are not science. Young-earth creationism has no scientific credibility whatsoever. Students entering college would be handicapped by these pseudoscientific ideas if they wished to pursue a career in science.
We won’t quote the whole thing, because you’ll want to click over there to read it for yourself. It ends with this:
I hope Southeast [the public school that paid for the trip] will not violate the constitutional separation of church and state by taking area students to these sectarian and anti-science attractions in the future.
This is certain to arouse a righteous response from ol’ Hambo, and as soon as it appears, we’ll let you know. Stay tuned to this blog!
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