A nearly-completed $27 million museum that will showcase the literal biblical account of creation has been drawing enough criticism to spur several opponents into slating protests against the museum on the day of its opening.
Set to open on Memorial Day, the Creation Museum, built just outside Cincinnati, is trying to give an alternative to evolutionary models of science. Challengers are calling the museum "fantasy," however, and have expressed fear that their children may be influenced by what the museum teaches.
"Many educated humans realize this is a myth," said Edwin Kagin, a Union attorney and the national legal director of American Atheists, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Myths aren't necessarily untrue, but they aren't literal, either."
The protestors, who are made up of non-Christians as well as Christians who do not favor literal interpretations of Genesis, have dubbed themselves Rally for Reason, and they feel that the new exhibit will create an unhealthy environment for children. The belief that evolution never existed and that the earth was made in six 24-hour days is not something that should be taught to children.
According to the group organizers, hundreds are expected to protest.
"My brothers and sisters in the faith who embrace [the creationist] understanding call into question the whole Christian concept," expressed the Rev. Mendle Adams, pastor of St. Peter's United Church of Christ in Cincinnati, according to the Enquirer. "They make us a laughingstock."
Contrary to the protesters, many groups have continued to show support for the new Creation Museum, which was created by Answers in Genesis (AiG) – an apologetics ministry that focuses particularly on providing answers to questions surrounding the book of Genesis.
"I think people will enjoy . . . being able to see a different side from what some scientific findings have shown," said the Rev. Bill Henard, senior pastor of Lexington's Porter Memorial Baptist Church, according to the Philadelphia Enquirer. He has even noted that his Sunday School classes will probably visit the display.
From a recent Gallup Poll that was done in March, it seems that many agree with at least part of the museum. 47 percent of the polled Americans responded that God created humans similar to their current form within the last 10,000 years.
The museum has been having a positive impact for its workers as well. One of the carpenters who has been doing work for the preparation, Jeremy Huff, even admitted to being "saved" while on the job.
"[B]eing around everybody, I've started to get closer to the Lord," explained Huff in the Courier-Journal. "I guess I was always on my way. I used to go to church, but I got away from it. And I wanted to accept the Lord into my heart, but I didn't really have anyone to help me. Now I think God put me here for a reason, and I'm working for God."
He added, "I didn't know enough before I came here. I realized I needed more, and I've learned a lot. And I think a lot of other people are going to learn too."
Mark Looy, vice president of outreach for AiG, has said that he will accommodate all protesters, and that they have a right to be outside, as long as they do not break any laws. He also said that families need not worry about opening day in that it will be secure. He has already hired a security staff to man the museum.