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Museum group sued by fellow creationists
Lexington Herald-Leader ^ | June 17, 2007 | Andy Mead

Posted on 06/17/2007 12:56:37 PM PDT by DaveLoneRanger

There is trouble in paradise, with a fight of biblical proportions raging between a Kentucky-based creationist group and the Australian group from which it sprang.

Three days after the Memorial Day opening of Answers in Genesis' $27 million Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky, a group called Creation Ministries International filed suit in the Supreme Court of Queensland.

Among other things, the suit claims the Kentucky group stole subscribers for its Answers magazine by claiming that the Australians' Creation magazine was "no longer available."

The suit is the most public move in what has been a growing rift between groups that are spreading the same Garden of Eden creation message on opposite sides of the globe.

Both groups believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible, that the earth and everything else was created in six days around 6,000 years ago.

But in the last several years, they have increasingly feuded about finances and power.

Now each is accusing the other of acting in an "unbiblical" fashion -- a serious charge for people who believe that the Bible is God's infallible word.

"All I'll tell you is those allegations are totally preposterous and untrue," Ken Ham, the president of Answers in Genesis, said in a brief interview last week. "The Bible tells you not to have a lawsuit against your brother, so you can see who's obeying the Bible and who's not."

But a retired Australian judge who chaired a committee that investigated the dispute issued a 40-page report in April that laid all the blame on Ham and his organization.

Clarrie Briese, a former chief magistrate of New South Wales, wrote that the evidence was "overwhelmingly supportive" of CMI. He added that AiG and Ham "will doggedly continue to deny any wrongdoing on their part."

Ham, an Australian who came to the United States in 1987, has told an Australian newspaper that he considers the committee to be "a kangaroo court."

Although money is at the root of the lawsuit, personalities and power apparently play a large role in the rift.

Jim Lippard, an Arizona atheist and blogger who has been following various creation groups since the early 1990s, characterizes Ham as "a very charismatic and forceful person."

"My impression is that AiG is Ham's organization," Lippard said in an interview. "He wants to run it his way, and if anyone else wants to interfere with that ... he will do whatever he can to get that person out of the way."

Ham, 55, was born in Queensland and taught high school science there. He quit in the 1980s to establish a creationist organization that later became known as the Creation Science Foundation.

Twenty years ago, the foundation sent Ham to California, where he joined the Institute for Creation Research.

In 1994, Ham arrived in Northern Kentucky -- chosen for its proximity to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and a sizable portion of the nation's population -- and started Answers in Genesis.

The name was adopted by the Australian organization, which later changed its name again to Creation Ministries International.

It is CMI that is suing AiG.

In Kentucky, Ham began planning for his Creation Museum. The first order of business: building a financial base.

He spoke at churches. He conducted seminars. He launched a popular Web site. He started a radio program that eventually would be carried on 860 stations across the country.

All this allowed him to create a mailing list of people who were willing to give money. When the museum opened, it was paid for. Mark Looy, another AiG leader, said the average contribution to the $27 million effort was a little more than $100.

The high-tech museum features dozens of professionally done videos and displays that depict animatronic people and dinosaurs living side-by-side.

It opened to large crowds of believers, a smaller group of scientists and atheists who were protesting, and worldwide publicity.

But trouble with CMI had already been brewing for some time.

Dr. Carl Wieland, 57, a physician who began Australia's first creationist group in 1977, runs the Australian group. He and Ham worked together in Australia and have co-authored books on creationism.

Their relationship, at least on the surface, continued to be good until 2004, the Briese report said.

Then Wieland and others sent a letter to the U.S. group, saying AiG seemed top-heavy in administrators, and was vulnerable because of a growing focus on Ham instead of the ministry's message.

The letter suggested reforms that would have reduced Ham's power.

The Briese report includes excerpts from a recording of Wieland's side of a telephone conversation with Ham around that time, in which Wieland warns his old friend that "the whole thing is heading in the direction of a Ken Ham ministries rather than Answers in Genesis."

The report also details a complex and confusing series of events in which the board of CMI came to Kentucky, signed an agreement that gave extraordinary powers to the U.S. group, then returned to Australia and fired Wieland.

Ham's organization got the right to change and edit any materials written by the Australian group, to switch authors' names, and to set prices on creationist literature it purchases from CMI.

"That really gave away the whole ball game," said Lippard, the blogger.

But the Briese report said it soon became clear to board members that they had not realized what they were signing. They resigned, turning the Australian group back over to Wieland.

Australia's only national daily newspaper, The Australian, has picked up on a sordid part of the Briese report: It says that Ham has questioned the timing of Wieland's second marriage -- to a woman who once was Ham's secretary -- only two weeks after divorcing his first wife. And it says that Ham is collaborating with an Australian who was excommunicated from his Baptist church because he once accused Wieland's wife of witchcraft and necrophilia.

"I think to some extent CMI is bringing that up just for the unseemly aspect of it," Lippard said.

Last week, Ham criticized Briese, noting that Briese is a member of CMI, and saying his conclusions were drawn up before his committee met.

In an interview, Wieland defended Briese, who is best known in Australia for exposing a high-level legal scandal in the mid-1980s.

"He is as well known as John Sirica of Watergate fame in terms of someone who was sort of thrust into their role, someone who made a public stand against the highest officials in the land," Wieland said.

CMI has been open about its disagreements with Ham's group, posting the Briese report and related documents on its Web site.

AiG has sent e-mails to supporters defending itself, but its Web site apparently ignores the Briese report and the whole CMI controversy.

The AiG Web site did, however, have two articles about an earlier Briese inquiry into charges that an atheist author had leveled against creationists. When a reporter asked Ham last week how he could criticize Briese for his recent report while touting his work on the earlier one, Ham said he thought articles about the earlier report had been removed from the site. The next day, they were gone.

Early Friday, AiG issued a statement saying the CMI accusations are "baseless and without merit."

"CMI's interest appears to be more about scoring points by publicizing the conflict, rather than taking a biblical approach to conflict resolution," the statement said.

Wieland said he still hoped for Christian arbitration with Ham. But, he said, CMI was left with no choice but to sue.

"At the end of the day ... there has to be right-doing," he said. "Things can't just be swept under the carpet."


TOPICS: Australia/New Zealand; Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: answersingenesis; creatards; creationist; creationmuseum; crevo; dlrcravescock; noahsark
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• For documents about this issue on the Creation Ministries International Web site, go to www.creationontheweb.com.

• For atheist Jim Lippard's blog, go to http://lippard.blogspot.com.

• For the Answers in Genesis site, go to www.answersingenesis.org.

1 posted on 06/17/2007 12:56:41 PM PDT by DaveLoneRanger
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To: gobucks; mikeus_maximus; JudyB1938; isaiah55version11_0; Elsie; LiteKeeper; AndrewC; Havoc; ...


You have been pinged because of your interest regarding news, debate and editorials pertaining to the Creation vs. Evolution debate - from the young-earth creationist perspective.
To to get on or off this list (currently the premier list for creation/evolution news!), freep-mail me:
Add me / Remove me



This has been brewing for a while, and I read about the suit itself about a week ago. I'll sit back and let the two sides fix this, but alas, I must say I'm inclined to side with CMI. When AiG split from them, there was no announcement of any sort. They did indeed say that Creation Magazine was "no longer available" and they then advertised their new Answers magazine.

Ken Ham's approach has been top-heavy all the way. (He even has a reserved parking space at work, and a reserved chair for meetings.)

Further, Ken Ham states "The Bible tells you not to have a lawsuit against your brother, so you can see who's obeying the Bible and who's not." My point was that if you read what Paul wrote about lawsuits among believers (1 Corinthians 6), it was to maintain the integrity and reputation of Christian believers by avoiding public disputes and settling quarrels privately. This dispute has already gone public, and AiG has made it pretty clear they're not interested in resolving the matter privately.

But I was also discussing the matter with my pastor this morning. (Originally, he had intended to show my promotional Creation Museum video for the church, but I approached him this morning with this article, and we both agreed it might be best to hold off.) He pointed out that these directions were for Christian brothers -- not one corporation against another. The lawsuit is no less shameful for it, but one Christian ministry should not be permitted to get away with telling untruths about issues of such monetary significance as magazine subscription, and then use the warnings against lawsuits as a cover to avoid being accountable.

Again, like with Kent Hovind, innocent until proven guilty. But also like with Kent Hovind, my cynical side agrees with the prosecution.
2 posted on 06/17/2007 1:09:28 PM PDT by DaveLoneRanger (As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free.)
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To: DaveLoneRanger; wagglebee

That raises a question that perhaps many have. Are there any museums that promote and illustrate a Creationist version of science and archeology?


3 posted on 06/17/2007 1:09:28 PM PDT by Clintonfatigued (If the GOP were to stop worshiping Free Trade as if it were a religion, they'd win every election)
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To: Clintonfatigued

Um...the Creationist Museum mentioned in the article?


4 posted on 06/17/2007 1:12:35 PM PDT by DaveLoneRanger (As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free.)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Any others?


5 posted on 06/17/2007 1:16:44 PM PDT by Clintonfatigued (If the GOP were to stop worshiping Free Trade as if it were a religion, they'd win every election)
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To: Clintonfatigued
There’s one in Canada that opened recently. There’s a list of them here:

* 7 Wonders of Mount St. Helens Creation Museum — Silverlake, Washington
* A Key Encounter Nature Theatre and Planetarium — Key West, Florida
* Akron Fossils and Science Center Akron, Ohio
* Ark Museum & Dinosaur Park — Nashville, Tennessee
* Biblical Archeology and Anthropology Museum — Ridgecrest, Calfornia
* Big Valley Creation Science Museum — Alberta, Canada
* Creation Adventures Museum — Arcadia, Florida. Customized activities for small groups such as fossil digs and canoe trips.
* Creation Evidence Museum — Paluxy River, Glen Rose, Texas. It has a new building under construction.
* Creation Museum and Family Discovery Center — Cincinnati, Ohio. Currently under construction by the Answers in Genesis ministry
* Creation Studies Center — South Florida
* Creation Truth Foundation — Field Museum, Oklahoma
* Creation Truth Ministries Traveling Creation Museum — Alberta, Canada
* Genesis Expo on Portsmouth Hard of the UK by the Creation Science Movement
* Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum
* Grand River Museum — Lemmon, South Dakota. September 2002 the Grand River Museum purchased a new building.
* IBSS Museum Project the Institute for Biblical and Scientific Studies
* Lost World Museum — Phoenix, New York
* Mt Blanco Fossil Museum — Lubbock, Texas
* Museum of Creation and Earth History — Santee, California by the Institute for Creation Research.
* Museum of Earth History — Eureka Springs, Arkansas
* Noah’s Ark Museum — Uzengeli Village, Turkey
* Wyatt Museum Wyatt Archeological Research Inc — Tennessee

The list is taken from CreationWiki - I don't know if Kent Hovind's "museum" is on there or not, and obviously some of their information is out of date. Were I not banned, I'd change it, but ah well.

6 posted on 06/17/2007 1:27:28 PM PDT by DaveLoneRanger (As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free.)
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To: DaveLoneRanger
"The lawsuit is no less shameful for it, but one Christian ministry should not be permitted to get away with telling untruths about issues of such monetary significance as magazine subscription, and then use the warnings against lawsuits as a cover to avoid being accountable."

Well Dave, as I'm sure you are aware I have no dog in this particular race but from what little I know, it sounds like CMI might be "guilty" of a lawsuit, but Ken is guilty of theft, maybe not leagaly but ethically. So like you I'm inclined to root for CMI.
7 posted on 06/17/2007 1:28:35 PM PDT by ndt
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To: DaveLoneRanger
the latest outbreak, but it got personal before the AiG/CSF split

More at http://lippard.blogspot.com/2006/11/john-mackay-and-answers-in-genesis.html

8 posted on 06/17/2007 1:33:32 PM PDT by Oztrich Boy
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To: DaveLoneRanger
This reminds me of the Palestinians in Gaza.
9 posted on 06/17/2007 1:39:13 PM PDT by Jeff Gordon ("An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last." Churchill)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Sound to me like this will be a case of survival of the fittest creationists.


10 posted on 06/17/2007 2:03:44 PM PDT by M. Dodge Thomas (Research by an eyewear firm, which surveyed 100 members of a speed dating club)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

If there was ever an illustration of a ‘tempest in a teacup,’ this is it! And a teacup that is just about ready to be rinsed out for the last time. :)


11 posted on 06/17/2007 2:06:35 PM PDT by Continental Soldier
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Tragic.


12 posted on 06/17/2007 2:57:28 PM PDT by The Ghost of FReepers Past (Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light..... Isaiah 5:20)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

I didn’t realize there were so many people in the world that believe this 6,000 year old earth nonsense.

“God, please save the fools and idiots of this earth who look on your creation and can see nothing more than a flat earth. Help them wake up to the fact that the Genesis account of the creation of earth was merely an allegorical story meant for a primitive man who could not understand the mechanisms by which you brought life into being. Please God shut these people up before they do more damage to the faith by driving more people into the arms of atheists who may not believe in you, but at least have eyes open to see the wonder of the science you created. Please open their eyes to the fact that the search for truth and knowledge are not against the will of God. Amen”


13 posted on 06/17/2007 3:22:18 PM PDT by sentis1
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To: M. Dodge Thomas

“Sound to me like this will be a case of survival of the fittest creationists.”

LOL. Short......but oh so funny. Thanks.


14 posted on 06/17/2007 3:28:58 PM PDT by Bogtrotter52 (Reading DU daily so you won't hafta)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

I’ve met Ken Ham, only briefly; it is a shame, he did seem genuine.

I am not taking sides!


15 posted on 06/17/2007 3:47:25 PM PDT by RaceBannon (Innocent until proven guilty: The Pendleton 8...down to 3..GWB, we hardly knew ye...)
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To: sentis1

I see you’re relatively new to Free Republic. Welcome.

If this story depresses you, I’m afraid the latest polls will only depress you further; a majority of Americans believe in creation and/or doubt evolution, and 90% claim a belief in God.

I find your philosophies on religion (your ‘prayer’ here, and other things you’ve written) to be rather...unorthodox.


16 posted on 06/17/2007 3:49:16 PM PDT by DaveLoneRanger (As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free.)
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To: sentis1

At least we have something more reliable to believe than evolutionary thought which cant make up it’s mind on just how old we are...


17 posted on 06/17/2007 3:49:29 PM PDT by RaceBannon (Innocent until proven guilty: The Pendleton 8...down to 3..GWB, we hardly knew ye...)
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To: sentis1

Not only do we believe that God could have created the world in 6 days, He can destroy it in a matter of minutes. Good thing He’s giving us time to search for the truth. Ask Him, He’ll show you more than you can imagine.


18 posted on 06/17/2007 4:15:59 PM PDT by huldah1776 (Worthy is the Lamb.)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Oh, Gosh! Creative differences?


19 posted on 06/17/2007 4:23:28 PM PDT by NicknamedBob (My Bumper Sticker ==> "Hang on! My other cell phone is ringing.")
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To: DaveLoneRanger
the suit claims the Kentucky group stole subscribers for its Answers magazine by claiming that the Australians' Creation magazine was "no longer available."

Not a good sign.

20 posted on 06/17/2007 5:27:13 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Turning the general election into a second Democrat primary is not a winning strategy.)
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