Last week I related the experience of a pastor who had visited the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, with the Secular Student Alliance (SSA). Wearing the same badge as the SSA group and touring with them, he described how he felt rejected by several of the Christians in attendance.
Mark Looy, CCO of the Creation Museum, who was also present that day, thought the pastor’s views were too one-sided and responded with his own observations, which I am posting below.
We were amazed at how tolerant our 2,000 museum guests were of the rude behavior of dozens of atheists who toured our museum. (YouTube features some of that bad behavior.) At the same time, most of the 285 atheists were, thankfully, not disruptive. Yes, some of our guests were very unhappy with the behavior on display (when you pay admission to what is known as a family friendly place, you don’t expect to experience loud, boorish behavior, see offensive clothing, etc.), and so I did see some angry stares that signaled unhappiness that a visit was being disrupted. But I point out that the overwhelming majority of the 2,000 people took it all in stride (I walked through the museum several times to ask atheists to keep their voices down and to see how our other guests were reacting).I would guess (and after talking to museum staff) that the few angry stares came from a very tiny percentage of the 2,000 people there that day, hardly enough to indict the entire crowd.
Furthermore, I am proud of our staff’s behavior in trying to keep the disturbances to a minimum and in showing restraint. (Only one atheist was escorted out after being told not to film a private conversation – one that involved children.) We put on extra security personnel that day so that there would be a high-deterrent presence — that was because atheist bloggers were declaring ahead of time that they would be disruptive during their visit, from engaging in lesbian kissing to approaching our guests to question them about their Christian faith.
Our staff’s exemplary behavior was recognized by the tour organizer, who, despite her differences with us, wrote the following on a website:
“Now, I was absolutely blown away by how accommodating and friendly the Creation Museum staff were.They knew we were coming; they knew exactly who we were. And there had been a little bit of tension about the purpose of our visit before we went.But after we got there, the staff were just phenomenally polite and kind and helpful, and the security guards were very polite and helpful to us. We were expecting more tension, so to have everything so polite and so smooth was absolutely great. As an organizer, that was the biggest thing for me: just how well their staff handled our group.”–Lyz Liddell, SSA