Did you know that a camp that trains children in atheism / secular humanism started—not so coincidentally—in Kentucky, and in the same year we had a highly publicized zoning battle over our Creation Museum a few miles away? I’m sad to say these atheist camps are now spreading to other states.
Now, who would have ever thought of Kentucky, USA, as a battleground between Christianity and humanism? We expect such battles in the liberal parts of the country—like the West and East Coasts—but not in relatively conservative, family-friendly states.
Ten years ago we thought it would be easy to rezone a piece of property to build offices and a small (at the time) Creation Museum! But an atheistic organization called “Free Inquiry Group” (FIG), headed by atheist attorney Ed Kagin (who is currently the director of American Atheists in Kentucky), led a charge in opposing the Creation Museum.
And what a battle it was! AiG made front-page headlines on and off for months! On the evening news one night, a local Cincinnati TV station led off with a story about the opposition to the museum and put President Clinton’s renomination for president by the Democratic National Convention as the second story.
At first, it was so obvious that the opposition was because we were Christians. I remember being at a public zoning meeting where one person actually said that ‘the separation of church and state’ forbade us from building a creation museum in Kentucky!
Think about it: a private museum—funded by private donations—shouldn’t be built on privately owned land because of the (non-existent) separation of church and state! Incredible!
At one of the zoning meetings, a lady stood up and pointed at me and vehemently said, ‘He’s Jim Jones [the suicide cult leader], coming to get our kids!’
Actually, we are ‘AiG, coming to teach kids the truth concerning God’s Word, praying that they would trust the Lord Jesus for salvation, and thus live forever with the Lord in Heaven!’
The reality was that the atheistic/humanistic FIG that opposed us was out to get their kids and train them in a philosophy of hopelessness and purposelessness that would keep them separated from God for eternity.
In the same year that the zoning battle began, sparked by the Free Inquiry Group, so did Ed Kagin’s ‘Camp Quest’ for children.
Mr. Kagin’s website states:
Camp Quest is the first residential summer camp in the history of the United States for the children of Atheists, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists, Humanists, Brights, or whatever other terms might be applied to those who hold to a naturalistic, not supernatural, world view.
[Camp Quest is now operated by Camp Quest, Inc. an independent non-profit Kentucky Corporation …]
On the same website:
Camp Quest was conceived, and has been operated for the past ten years, as a summer camp for the children of the irreligious, for those who have accepted Atheism, or lack of a belief in a supernatural world, by whatever name such may be called, as a conclusion, not as a belief.
Camp Quest has spread from Kentucky to Ohio, Minnesota, Michigan, Ontario (Canada), California, and Tennessee.
Interestingly, the average number of students attending these camps is only 20, ranging in ages from 7–17. A very small number, but one that will no doubt continue to grow.
By comparison, though, I think of the hundreds of thousands of K–12 students who have attended our Bible-upholding assemblies since 1996. Praise the Lord!
Ten years ago, when we were going to build the AiG offices and Creation Museum on the first property we were looking to buy, we had planned for a 30,000-sq-ft building, and it was miles from the interstate.
Well, the Lord allowed the opposition (led by Mr. Kagin) and the subsequent loss of that first property to guide us to a new property beside I-275 instead. Because of the larger, better located property, we decided to build a 95,000-sq-ft building—over three times the size of the original plan!
In addition, Patrick Marsh, living in Japan at the time, contacted us to ask if he could be our exhibit designer. Patrick had worked with Universal Studios, the 1984 Olympic Games in LA, Asian theme parks, etc.
Patrick came on board, and during the delay in finding a suitable piece of land, we decided to take the Creation Museum to a whole new level of technology and exhibits—and thus a whole new level of excellence.
Now, prior to even opening to the public, the Creation Museum has expanded even further. Because of recent research and even higher attendance expectations, we have already expanded the café and have made a new and larger lobby by enclosing the portico out front.
As a result of the opposition of Kagin and others to the Creation Museum in 1996, AiG will now reach hundreds of thousands more each year with the truth of God’s Word and the wonderful message of salvation!
“we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
On the 10-year anniversary of the beginning of the battle for the Creation Museum, how we praise God for His faithfulness! The AiG ministry has grown: over 200 staff, involved in many different outreaches to take the message of the authority of the Word of God—and the creation/gospel message—to millions.
And the museum is nearing completion—it will be open this coming spring.
As the secular media and others visit, all are amazed at what has been accomplished. The quality—the professionalism—and the fact that this whole facility can be built for only $25 million (plus $1.4 million for the recent expansion of the café and lobby/portico), of which $23 million has now been supplied. Praise God!
While the end is in sight to open the museum debt-free, please don’t forget the many core ministry outreaches that require support through our general fund. These include the website, correspondence to all ages worldwide, our radio program, the new curriculum materials, video productions, speaking events, Answers magazine, etc.
We see the Lord’s hand of blessing every day at AiG. Here is a recent, wonderful testimony about a young girl and her mother:
The AiG conference [near Knoxville] was wonderful. Ken [said] one book in particular, A is for Adam, had more children come to know Jesus than any other [AiG book]. My ears perked up and I bought the book.
My 4 1/2 year [old] daughter and I read the book every day for a week. One day she looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said she didn’t want to go to hell. She said she wanted to be where Jesus—and where her mommy and daddy—was going to be.
My little girl bowed her head and prayed to ask Jesus into her heart that day. It was glorious. I thank God for how you have touched our lives.’ –G.D., Knoxville, TN
Thank you for your partnership, one that has been raised up for this time to battle the culture war at a foundational level . . . and take the gospel around the world.
Your help is crucial, because we’re a team. Your gift will help see more lives changed—as God blesses—as the authority and accuracy of the Bible are proclaimed.