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Atheists to Park Departments: Stop Unconstitutionally Promoting Trips to Religious Attractions

Williamstown, KY—American Atheists has sent letters to two park and recreation departments, demanding that they cease promoting upcoming trips to Answers in Genesis’ Creation Museum and Ark Encounter.

By organizing and actively promoting these religious trips, the Tuscaloosa County, Alabama and Person County, North Carolina park and recreation departments are violating the Establishment Clause, American Atheists alleged in its letters.

“It is outrageous that these government agencies are using taxpayer money to plan and advertise for trips to attractions created by Answers in Genesis, an ‘apologetics ministry’ that advocates creationism and the notion that the Earth is only a few thousand years old,” said Nick Fish, president of American Atheists.

The departments are including the religious events with visits to secular attractions such as the Cincinnati Zoo, the Newport Aquarium, or the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in an “all-or-nothing” package, forcing atheist, secular, and non-Young-Earth Creationists to endure religious proselytizing from Answers in Genesis in order to attend secular attractions.

American Atheists has also filed open records requests for all communication between the departments and Ken Ham, Answers in Genesis, The Ark Encounter, and The Creation Museum.

“When government officials use their positions of authority to promote their own religious views they weaken the very foundations of our nation,” said Geoffrey Blackwell, litigation counsel at American Atheists. “We need to know if government employees are actively coordinating with the religious extremists at Answers in Genesis to use tax dollars to fund their fantastical version of history and their discrimination.”