My old Kentucky home
It has been eighty-five years since the State of Tennessee prosecuted John T. Scopes for the crime of teaching evolution in a public school, and it was only days ago that the Commonwealth of Kentucky, my native state, demonstrated how little we have advanced.
Ark Encounter, a creationist theme park, is scheduled to open in a couple of years in Grant County. It is a joint venture of Ark Encounters and Answers in Genesis—the latter being the nonprofit organization that operates the ludicrous Creation Museum in Boone County.* This enterprise has the blessing of the Hon. Steve Beshear, governor of the commonwealth, because it will create jobs. And the project is apt to be doubly blessed with tax incentives.
One Dr. Robert Bevins of Georgetown College in Kentucky wrote to the governor protesting state support for “an ethically bankrupt amusement park.” His letter is quoted in full, with comments, on a Facebook page operated by one Ken Ham, and you might find it instructive to read the comments and gauge the tone that Christian supporters of the enterprise bring to the discussion. (Hint: Doesn’t sound particularly Christian.)
I, for one, back the First Amendment and unequivocally support anyone’s right to take the opening chapters of Genesis literally as a scientific and historical document. And if believers should inculcate such an understanding in the madrassas they operate for their children, that, too, is constitutionally protected, however much it may leave the little ones ill-fitted to live in the current century.
But, as a Kentuckian born and bred, I wince.
*Treated at some length in Charles P. Pierce’s Idiot America.