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ICC Note: A parks and recreation department in Virginia recently cancelled an upcoming trip to the Creation Museum in Kentucky following complaints from an atheist activist group. The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) issued a letter of complaint to the director of the department, stating that this trip served as a government endorsement of religion, since the trip was organized by the city. In a similar fashion, the FFRF has previously reached out to public schools, urging them to also forgo trips to this museum.
By Heather Clark
02/18/2017 United States (Christian News Network) – A prominent professing atheist organization has convinced the parks and recreation department of a Virginia town to cancel an upcoming field trip to Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter and Creation Museum in Kentucky by asserting that the trip is an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion.
The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently sent a letter to the director of the Christianburg Parks and Recreation Department after “concerned residents” contacted the organization about the trip, planned for April 3.
It contended that since the trip was organized by the city, it violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” FFRF also stated that the trip wrongfully excluded residents in Christianburg who are not Christian.
“While organizing and encouraging citizens to attend family-friendly recreation is a laudable goal, advertising and organizing a trip to a Christian ministry constitutes government endorsement of religion and alienates those Christianburg residents who are not Christian and who are non-religious,” attorney Andrew Seidel asserted.
“It is a fundamental principle of Establishment Clause jurisprudence that the government cannot in any way promote, advance or otherwise endorse religion,” he wrote. “Advertising and organizing such an event sends the message that residents are expected to support such religious events.”
FFRF told the department that citizens may organize the trip on their own, but the government must “refrain from holding religious events or holding events that benefit religious organizations.”

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