In spite of the legality, Ken Ham posted on his blog today that he would make the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum available to all public schools at a cost of $1 per student.
That’s right, he is defying the U.S. Constitution and the legal warning from the Freedom From Religion Foundation and opening up his self-proclaimed ministries to public schools.
If public school students are booked as a group through their school to come to the Ark Encounter (or Creation Museum) for educational, recreational, or historical purposes during 2016, we will allow them to do so at a cost of $1 per child with accompanying teachers free. Just call our customer service line at 855-284-3275 to book the school group. It must be a legitimate public school group booked through their elementary, middle, or high school.
To make it worse, the failing government in Kentucky seems to be on Ken Ham’s side, again.
According to the Associated Press:
Sure, maybe he thinks outside groups shouldn’t dictate field trip decision, but they have every legal right to do so if the schools are violating the first amendment.
Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt sent a message to school districts Monday in response saying that neither outside groups nor state education officials should dictate field trip selection. A school’s site-based decision-making council approves trips.
Ham makes the case that the ticketing gate at the Ark Encounter is for-profit, but the ark itself is non-profit. So if this is true, students can go up to the gate, but cannot pass through and enter his religious non-profit park.
If in fact, the whole park is for-profit, then Ham better quickly end his discriminating hiring practices against employees.
Which is it, Ken?
Update: FFRF has responded to Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt and informed him that his statement is factually incorrect. FFRF is not “dictating field trip selection,” rather, they are informing schools about that schools have a constitutional obligation to ensure teachers do not “inculcate religion.”
The letter closes, making the case clear cut:
It would be an egregious abuse of government power to proselytize a captive audience of young, impressionable school children in this manner.
They continue by urging the state to take proper actions to make sure schools do not violate the law and request specific steps the office will take to make sure no constitutional violations occur.