Yesterday was another eventful day in the life of AiG and the Creation Museum—one that showed the increasing intolerance of evolutionary religious zealots! We sent out a press release to reply to the media making inquiries about the latest attack on the museum, and I ended up doing some media interviews—all unexpected. It's another story of intolerance at its best (or should I say at its worst!) on the part of the very religious evolutionists who can’t tolerate people even having the opportunity to consider all the information about evolution. It was just one more situation that could have been featured in the Expelled movie. The Creation Museum was “expelled” this time!
It all started when the Creation Museum's promotion manager, Jason Goff, worked many hours with the Cincinnati Zoo (a leading zoo in the U.S.) to offer a zoo/Creation Museum combo ticket to help each organization promote their Christmas programs. The zoo has its famous (and quite spectacular) “Festival of Lights,” and the Creation Museum is unveiling its likewise spectacular Live Nativity and Road to Bethlehem program. Such a combo ticket would benefit both organizations and the local economy by bringing in visitors.
Actually, AiG often promotes local attractions (hotels, restaurants, etc.) on our Creation Museum website and in printed material to help bring people to the area and for visitors to have a complete vacation experience. For instance, we promote attractions such as the Newport Aquarium, Kings Island amusement park, etc.
The Cincinnati Zoo and Creation Museum put the combo ticket information (a special promotion for the weeks surrounding Christmas) on their respective websites this past weekend to begin the promotion. Just over 48 hours later, the zoo canceled the business relationship because they were inundated with negative calls, emails, etc. Much of the opposition was organized through the anti-creationist, ardently evolutionist website The Panda’s Thumb. You will be interested to read some of the comments I excerpted from this website to see the total intolerance and outlandish—and many quite ridiculous—statements these emotional religious zealots have made.
While we are saddened that the business relationship has ended, as is usual, “you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20). The story has received much attention: an Associated Press news article is being circulated around the country—look in your paper today; here is what it says coming from a Cleveland, Ohio, outlet, and this was on the front page of our local papers, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Kentucky Enquirer:
There was also a story on the local television news programs during their prime time news hour, and local and national media contacted us for interviews! We expect more media attention concerning this. We didn’t get to see the results of the combo ticket promotion—but the media has promoted us far more than we could have imagined.
I have listed below comments from The Panda’s Thumb website, then comments made in the local newspaper blog, and then AiG’s press release sent out yesterday afternoon.
Shame on the Cincinnati Zoo. . . . The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and the Creation Museum have made a joint marketing agreement and are selling “combo tickets” . . . . The Cincinnati Zoo is promoting an anti-science, anti-education con job run by ignorant creationists. . . . I believe the Cincinnati Zoo has betrayed its mission and its trust in a disgraceful way, by aligning themselves with a creationist institution that is a laughing stock to the rest of the world, and a mark of shame to the United States. I urge everyone to contact the zoo; write to their education and marketing and public relations departments in particular and point out the conflict between what they are doing and what their goal as an educational and research institution ought to be.P.Z. Myers continued:
While you're at it, it might be even more effective to contact the newsroom at the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Cincinnati weekly, City Beat. Let’s raise a stink and give these guys the bad PR they deserve.We hope the zoo understands that an anti-Christian, anti-creationist, evolutionary religious zealot (who doesn’t even live in the Cincinnati area or pay any taxes here) helped organize this campaign against the zoo/Creation Museum combo ticket. Sad that someone with an atheistic agenda can cause a business relationship to be dissolved—from a different state, no less—but that’s a sign of where our culture is really at today!
We don’t know how many complaints the zoo received (we have heard that it has been hundreds), nor do we know much about from whom the complaints have come, but from what we have seen on the Internet, we are fairly certain that the majority of complaints have come from people who have nothing to do with the zoo and are not members (as other AiG staff and I are), but have responded to an Internet campaign from evolutionists set on trying to stop anyone they can from even knowing about what is exhibited at the Creation Museum. They cannot beat us with the facts, and they know it. So they resort to censorship and underhanded campaigns.
Selected other comments:
1. Also smells very strongly of the typical creationist “what can we do to make people think we’re mainstream science educators?” principle
2. More likely they’ll do the usual “look at how this zoo fully supports creation,” armed with the complete and utter [expletive deleted] they’ve just seen in the creation museum.
3. Yes, the Cininnati [sic] Zoo has betrayed science, and common sense. There are people who take a literal interpretation of a something that is over 2000 years old without questioning it. If these people want to keep their believes [sic] private that is their right. However, to pollute the public sphere is just wrong. [How is that for tolerance?]
4. Please do write to Cincinnati Zoo and let them know what you think of the zoo lending credibility and prestige by association to the creationist [expletive deleted].”This next one is remarkable:
5. THIS MAY BE CREATION MUSEUM FRAUD Before everyone begins slamming the Cincinnati Zoo, let’s verify this.
6. Well I smell a lawsuit coming up. If the zoo really is part of the public school system and it really is promoting creationism, then they are in blatant violation of the constitution. This will be a good case to establish precedent and if persued [sic], should cause everyone to realize what a deceitful bunch of hypocrites the creationists really are. [A private zoo is part of the public school system?]
7. It’s amazing how “tolerant” all you liberals are of any viewpoints that contradict your own! There are millions and millions of well-educated Americans who believe in Creationism. . . . How often do you see these good people getting all upset because others disagree with them? I applaud the Cincinnati Zoo for showing more open-mindedness than all of the posters on this website. For one thing, they know that (probably) a majority of their paying customers believe in some form of Creationism.
8. Being an Animal Keeper at the San Francisco Zoo, it would seem pretty clear what my feelings are surrounding “evolutionary theory.” With that said, I think its a great idea for people to visit both a museum that focuses on Creationism and a zoological facility that doesn’t, then the people themselves can make a decision on what they believe. Also, in this challenging economic environment, zoo’s [sic] and other scientific organizations cannot afford to turn a cold shoulder to those that may have different belief systems, we actually need to stand up and welcome these people.Here are selections from the Cincinnati Enquirer website:
Some complained that the zoo, which receives public support through a tax levy, should not become involved with a private museum dedicated to the teachings of the Bible’s book of Genesis. Others said a scientific institution shouldn’t link itself to a place that argues man once lived side by side with dinosaurs.
“They seem like diametrically opposed institutions,” said Dr. James Leach, a Cincinnati radiologist who e-mailed zoo officials about his concerns. “The Cincinnati Zoo is one of this city’s treasures. The Creation Museum is an international laughingstock.”
Zoo officials said they considered the promotion—dubbed “Two Great Attractions, One Great Deal”—a marketing deal no different than other cross-promotions they do with institutions like the Newport Aquarium or the Cincinnati Reds.
Instead, they found themselves mired in a heated debate between creationists and evolutionists over the origins of mankind. Thanks to the Internet, the opposition needed only a few days to organize a worldwide e-mail campaign and to set up a zoo boycott through blogs and a Facebook page.And some of the comments on the Cincinnati Enquirer site:
1. I have joined the ranks of those that want the person who is/was responsible for this (ahem) unholy alliance fired. I have e-mailed the Zoo, as a long time season pass holder, and stated my position on this. I would encourage others who are as outraged at this as I am to do the same.
2. The Creation Museum will prosper just as they have been since they opened. The zoo is struggling- this could have helped them but of course haters want to bury the truth as much as they can to live more comfortably. You have my patronage, Mr. Hamm [sic] and my respect.
3. What idiot would believe the earth was 6000 years old? The zoo has shamed itself. It will next be promoting with witches, neo nazis, KKK members and other neanderthals like those running the creation museum…I guess the folks that go to the creationist museum had trouble giving up their beliefs in santa claus, the easter bunny, and the fairy tale too. let these morons believe what they want, but put them in their own state (seems like they are already living in a state of denial) or send them to guantanamo.
4. Apparently this whole protest against this combo ticket was orchestrated by just one blogger, "Sleazy" PZ Myers. The hypocritical Darwinists pretend to be concerned about science, but they have hurt the Cincinnati Zoo's ability to get more visitors, revenue,…”And one of the comments made by a reader of the paper and found under today’s Kentucky Enquirer on-line article states:
5. I wonder for those all in the uproar...does this mean the Zoo should get rid of THIER Nativity? Or Menorah? What about the Peace Walk they have as a permanent fixture? It all has religious connotations. Hmmm? When does it stop?And in the Kentucky Enquirer article the reporter states:
The museum, which opened in May 2007, has been praised by supporters as a bulwark against evolutionary teachings. It also has been ridiculed by critics who say its displays, including a triceratops with a saddle on its back, are based on pseudoscience.It is amazing the things reporters dredge up from evolutionists in an obvious attempt to ridicule the Creation Museum. One can search on the Internet to find an enormous number of items such as dinosaur swing sets, etc. The dinosaur with a saddle at the Creation Museum is not part of any of the teaching exhibits—it is simply a fun item for children to get on and get their photograph taken—no different to similar sorts of things one will find in shopping centers, museums, and other places. As I say over and over again—we are not surprised—we are used to such integrity bashing.
Thank you, P.Z. Myers, for thousands of dollars’ worth of media promotion for our Bible-upholding museum! Actually, this will benefit the Creation Museum much more in the long run. Maybe we should try to get combo tickets with all sorts of other groups—think of the publicity we could all receive! Even the zoo has received a lot of publicity! It turned out to be a great combo publicity event for both organizations (though different to what we thought it would be when the combo ticket was arranged). As P.T. Barnum is attributed with saying, “I don't care what they say about me; just make sure they spell my name right!”
CREATION MUSEUM DISAPPOINTED BY CINCINNATI ZOO WITHDRAWAL:
Promotional Partnership in Aid of Local Tourism Canceled
PETERSBURG, KY., December 1, 2008 – After working for months with the Cincinnati Zoo on a special cross-promotion package to elevate local and regional tourism during the Christmas season, the Creation Museum learned today that the zoo – after a 2 ½ day business relationship – has pulled out of the arrangement because of a high volume of complaints.
“We are disappointed with the zoo’s decision and its impact on the families and visitors to the region who would have enjoyed taking advantage of this opportunity to make this a truly memorable Christmas,” said Answers in Genesis and Creation Museum founder and president Ken Ham. “Both the Creation Museum and the Cincinnati Zoo have put together spectacular Christmas displays, and we were excited to partner with them to promote these events in a combination package that would have been of great value to the community.”
“My family and I have been Cincinnati Zoo members for more than 10 years now, so I am also personally saddened that this organization I esteem so highly would find it necessary to back out of this relationship. At the same time, I have learned that the zoo received hundreds of complaints from what appear to be some very intolerant people, and so I understand the zoo’s perspective. Frankly, we are used to this kind of criticism from our opponents, and so being ‘expelled’ like this is not a huge surprise,” Ham continued.
The Cincinnati Zoo/Creation Museum short-term partnership allowed visitors to purchase one-day regular admission tickets to each attraction for a combined price of $25.95 (adult price), a savings of $9 over regular ticket price at each location. The tickets were available online only through the zoo’s website, with the Creation Museum helping to drive traffic to the zoo’s website and its promotion with the museum. The zoo already has promotional arrangements with other regional institutions, including the Cincinnati Reds.
“Our museum will continue to promote this excellent zoo on our website and also in the printed material we pass out inside the museum. We are committed to promoting regional tourism. It’s a pity that intolerant people have pushed for our expulsion simply because of our Christian faith. Some of their comments on blogs reveal great intolerance for anything having to do with Christianity,” Ham added.
Because this package will no longer be available, the museum has decided to continue to offer this savings on museum tickets Dec. 2-11 (except Dec. 6), offering $9 off adult tickets and $5 off children’s and seniors’ tickets. Thus the discounted rates would be $12.95 for adults, $11.95 for seniors and $6.95 for children 5-12.
The museum continues with plans for its Christmas display, “Bethlehem’s Blessings,” beginning Dec. 12, with much of the stunning lighting already in place. The centerpiece will be a live outdoor nativity scene, featuring human actors in each of the Christmas story roles, and of course sheep, donkeys, and camels – all the usual animals present during the birth of the Christ child – courtesy of the museum’s own petting zoo. Museum staff and volunteers will alternate as Joseph, Mary, the shepherds, and caravan traders. A special lighted trail, “The Road to Bethlehem,” will feature a glimpse of the first Christmas in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago.
Visitors to the museum grounds will also enjoy hayrides, seasonal lights and decorations, holiday food, and fun events and activities for children. Special Christmas exhibits inside the museum (tickets are required) include the Planetarium presentation, “The Bethlehem Star.”
The “Bethlehem’s Blessings” festivities get under way on Dec. 12, with a chance for the media to get a preview that evening beginning at 5:45 p.m. The live nativity will run from 2 p.m. until close (except on the 24th and 25th) and the seasonal light displays will begin at dusk each day.
The Creation Museum, located near the Cincinnati Airport, is a ministry of Answers in Genesis, a nonprofit Christian organization dedicated to confirming the validity of the Bible from the very first verse. Since its opening in May 2007, the museum has seen over 600,000 visitors, way above anticipated crowds of 250,000 for the first year. The usual museum hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday – Thursday; 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Fridays; 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturdays; and 12 p.m. (noon) – 6 p.m. on Sundays. For the special hours of the “Bethlehem’s Blessings” activities, go to www.CreationMuseum.org.
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(Psalm 145:9) The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.