June 2007 edition

Young Earth Creation Wars Heat Up
After Filing of Lawsuit Against Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis

by CFR Staff
June 7, 2007


The Marketing of Bedrock

The Creation Museum: Faith and Science at the Crossroads

Fellow Christians Aggrieved by Business Practices of Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis

Fellow Christians File Lawsuit Against Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis

The Trouble with Fred and Wilma: Why the Creation Museum is Bad for Christians

Aljazeera Covers the Creation Museum Grand Opening

Dr. Carl Wieland, Managing Director of Australia based Creation Ministries International says "We have had a lot of angry former subscribers (still only a tiny fraction of the 35,000 or so that were misled) contact us saying that they are not only relieved to find we and our magazine still existed, but angry that they had been given the impression by clever wording that the magazine was no longer available in the United States, period.”

Creation Magazine

The public soap opera between warring Christian Young Earth Creationist groups, once allies, now bitter rivals, continued last week, to the delighted chuckles and guffaws of the secular press, as well as long time critics of the Young Earth Creationist movement in the scientific community.

Charges and countercharges volleyed back and forth across the global communication network, as Answers in Genesis, the non-profit Christian ministry that recently opened the “dinosaurs co-existed with man” Creation Museum in Kentucky, sent an email to its supporters on June 1 claiming that it was under spiritual attack. The leading source of that spiritual attack, according to the email, was former sister ministry and fellow Young Earth Creationist proponents Creation Ministry International, the Australian based group that on May 31 filed a major lawsuit in Australia’s Supreme Court in Brisbane against Answers in Genesis and Ken Ham.

Plaintiff Creation Ministries International charged the defendants with deception in its handling of the termination of that group’s American distribution agreement for the Australian ministry’s Creation Magazine in February of 2006. Creation Ministries International alleges that not only did Answers in Genesis keep the list of 35,000 American subscribers for itself, it also immediately launched its own magazine, Answers, and marketed it directly to those former Creation subscribers, failing to tell them that Creation magazine was still in production and available.

Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the National Science Education Center, and a frequent critic of the Young Earth Creationist movement, was bemused by the internecine antics.

“ Obviously I can't speak to the details of the lawsuit, but if these two groups are contending over the value of their publications, it certainly indicates that creationism is big business these days. We're not talking about storefront churches, here.”

Hugh Ross, founder of the non profit Christian ministry Reason to Believe, which promotes Old Earth Creationism (which accepts the scientific method and agrees that the age of the earth is 4.5 billion years, as opposed to the Young Earth Creationists 6,000 year age), and is the frequent recipient of vicious theological and personal attacks by leaders of the Young Earth Creationists, had the following comment:

“ The Young Earth Creationists can't get along with one another. They like to split hairs. I see a strong veneer of legalism. They tend to take very dogmatic positions without any willingness to have those positions critiqued or adjusted.”

Ross has personal experience dealing with what he considers to be unethical actions of Answers in Genesis:

“ What disturbs us is I have done three debates with Answers in Genesis. They have altered every single debate in how they display it on their website. In one debate, Walter Kaiser and I representing Reason to Believe debated Ken Ham and Jason Lisle of Answers in Genesis. When they put the tape of the debate on their website, virtually every time they cut away from my answer, inserting their own material.”

Jim Lippard, the Phoenix, Arizona blogger who has watched the unfolding battle between the two Creationist groups as closely as anyone in America, had the following comment:

“[I]f you dig into the details, the case overwhelmingly supports Creation Ministries International, at least on ethical grounds. (I'm not an expert on the legal matters--the fact that the previous AiG-Australia board signed the one-sided agreement favoring AiG-US may be a difficult obstacle for CMI to overcome.) But most Christians don't care about digging into the details, they just listen to the pastors and leaders that they trust, which is why con men have such success preying on the religious. Ken Ham has apparently done quite well at getting people to side with him based on his own charisma and persuasiveness, but if you read any of his written work critically, you see that it falls apart.”

Answers in Genesis began its June 1 email to supporters as follows:

“While we have received opposition from the secular world during this time, the most disappointing attack has come from our former sister ministry, Creation Ministries Int'l (CMI). On the eve of the opening of the museum, CMI sent letters and used the internet to publicly report on a dispute that is well over a year old. CMI sent us a letter, only 24 hours before the museum ribbon-cuffing ceremony, informing us they were filing a lawsuit against AiG and its president, Ken Ham, in an Australia court. They have now done so. Immediately after the opening of the museum, they sent letters to numerous (perhaps hundreds) of people and used the internet to publicly report the dispute.”

On June 4, Creation Ministries International commented on this statement:

“ This makes it seem as though CMI timed these events to be as nasty as possible. However, the reality is otherwise. Firstly, legal processes like the serving of writs (lawsuits) cannot be timed like this; such processes are determined by the legal process. Legal proceedings were initiated months ago (we told AiG-US of this, associated with one more offer to meet to resolve the dispute, and that being rejected (ignored), and then another offer of binding Christian arbitration-see below). Secondly, when it looked like the serving of the writ was going to coincide with the opening of the museum, we asked for it to be delayed, if possible. Furthermore, to avoid public embarrassment of a sheriff of the court serving papers in person, we asked if there was another way. We were told that if AiG-US told our lawyers the name of their lawyers for service of the writs, they could be lodged with them rather than in person.”

The Answers in Genesis June 1 email continued:

“One of CMI's claims is that AiG-USA refuses to meet with its board. To the contrary our board met in person with the legally recognized and appointed board of directors of the Australian ministry (called AiG-Australia at the time) and signed a Memorandum of Agreement in October 2005, which had peacefully resolved the differences at that time (which included an agreement to arbitrate any future dispute).”

Creation Ministries international responded on June 4:

“ This is amazingly deceptive, even astonishing in its brazenness. The refusal to meet that we repeatedly bring up is a refusal to meet with the current Board, the ones in office for nearly 18 months now in this time of major dispute. Whereas the Board to whom AiG refers here is not the legally constituted Board of the ministry, but the previous Board which handed over the company after resigning en masse and seeking indemnity from penalties for their actions signing that 'agreement'.”

Answers in Genesis continued in its June 1 email:

“Unfortunately, the management of AiG-Australia later disavowed the agreement and, after an impasse and much frustration with management, the full Australian board resigned.”

Creation Ministries International responded again on June 4:

“This is a reversal of the order of events, giving another deceptively false impression. The management did not have the authority to 'disavow the agreement', and did not do so. The Australian management tried to meet with the Board to discuss the 'agreement', which was signed at AiG-US's urging behind the backs of all management here in Australia. (This was contrary to those previous directors' commitment to several senior staff before the joint board meeting that they would 'not sign anything' without consultation.) The Australian directors at the time failed to meet, and events culminated in their resignations. Their resignations were due to their own rash actions, not any 'rebellion' as AiG-US spokesmen have told third parties, poisoning the well for CMI. Furthermore, contrary to the impression given in this email from AiG-US, the Board of CMI (not the management) did not formally reject the 'agreement' until 28 February 2006, just before our re-branding as CMI.”

The claims by Answers in Genesis in their June 1 email, and the responses by Creation Ministries International in their June 4 website posting continued in mind numbing detail. Observers expect the wars to heat up even further as details of the lawsuit are revealed. Hints of old, but still tantalizingly lurid allegations of necrophilia, made against members of the Answers in Genesis staff are also part of the story, as are allegations by Creation Ministries International that Answers in Genesis sought to drive them into bankruptcy.

Blogger Lippard comments that “AiG is willing to talk about arbitration to derail and delay a legal process, but not willing to commit to making that arbitration binding. So if they like the result of the arbitration, they'll commit, but otherwise, walk away or engage in further delay to avoid any results they don't like.”

Perhaps long time Young Earth Creationist critic Hugh Ross sums up the continuing soap opera best, when he said in an exclusive interview with Christian Faith and Reason Magazine recently:

" We've observed that the psychology of the atheists apologist and the Young Earth Creationist leaders is remarkably similar. I think the real psychological root in both camps is fear. My experience is they are completely blind to it. It is the fear that blinds them to the unethical practices they engage in. Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis operate on a war mentality.”

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