Creation Museum Causing “Discomfort” for Visitors?

on August 21, 2010

While we know our Creation Museum may be something of a headache for many evolutionists, this is the first we’ve heard of the widely acclaimed museum causing “discomfort” for visitors.

The claim comes from Morehead State University sociologist Bernadette Barton, whose previous work has dealt with exotic dancing and Star Trek, and who is currently conducting survey research on “lesbian and gay voices from the Bible belt.” Barton presented recent work to the American Sociological Association that argues that “the Creation Museum can be uncomfortable for non-fundamentalist visitors,” LiveScience reports. This commentary on the museum was picked up by some major news websites, like MSNBC and Yahoo News

Barton visited the museum three times to research the subject, not only working through exhibits but also observing other visitors. “I was seeking to understand the fundamentalist framework,” she says—and we’re glad she at least visited the museum before passing judgment, although only she knows how open-minded her visits were. “I went there seeking to understand how people adhere to [a] set of beliefs that can, in my opinion, have sometimes destructive consequences,” she adds.

So how did Barton arrive at the idea that the museum is discomforting? First, LiveScience reports that homosexual students who accompanied her “were on edge at the museum” because of the biblical material against homosexuality (we suppose that a museum exhibit that shows the origin of marriage as a man and a woman, Adam and Eve, will cause some visitors to be uncomfortable) and because of signs “warning that guests could be asked to leave the premises at any time.” A guard and his dog allegedly “circled a student pointedly twice without saying anything,” adding to the sense of intimidation, while a “museum patron” reportedly said, “He did that . . . because of the way you’re dressed. We know you’re not religious; you just don’t fit in.”

LiveScience also spoke with Answers in Genesis astrophysicist Jason Lisle, who explained that guard dogs are necessary for the safety of museum visitors and staff because of ongoing threats against the museum, while the expulsion warning is necessary in case of guests who intentionally disturb other visitors.

It’s hardly shocking, of course, that non-creationists, and especially those living in an unbiblical lifestyle, may find parts of the Creation Museum discomforting. After all, those same individuals would likely be equally uncomfortable in a Bible-believing, Bible-preaching church. And clearly, the museum’s security team is necessary because of the hostility creationists endure—including “discomforting” experiences from school classrooms to publicly funded museums. Perhaps Barton’s next research project should focus on the Bible-believer/creationist’s experience in the secular world!

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