But peace, I must not quarrel with the will
Of highest dispensation, which herein
Haply had ends above my reach to know...
John Milton

You may have heard of the Battle of Big Bone, now part of the history of the American Religious Civil War (ARCW). We won. It should be remembered down the ages at the picnics of the Daughters of the ARCW.

The arkonuts arrived from Australia, California, and Florida. They had triangulated on Boone Country, Kentucky, home of Big Bone Lick State Park, for a "creation museum" and theme park designed to teach "creation science" (an oxymoron on the order of "grape nuts") and to counter, with biblical truth, the godless evolution being vended at the fossil finds of Big Bone Lick. The enterprise was targeted for rural land on Highway 42, between Big Bone Lick and the town of Beaver Lick, Kentucky. One wit suggested that "Answers in Genitals" might be more appropriate to the location than the proposed "Answers in Genesis." But I digress, and this is a family friendly publication.

The genesis gambit had been in the planning for some time. Only a small legally mandated announcement of the proposed zoning change and a small sign on the targeted property informed the secular world that a request had been make by the arkonuts to rezone the land from rural to recreational so they could legally do their thing. A sharp eyed member of a local secular humanist outfit, the Free Inquiry Group, Inc.--FIG for short--spotted the newspaper post and, in the manner of a true patriot who has seen the signal lights, raised the alarm to be up and to arm.

Some FIG members got the word out. At the standing-room-only public zoning hearing the news item announced, the arkonuts, who had good reason to believe their scheme would survive the legal hoops as slick as goose grease on marble, were stunned to be met with reasoned opposition from both secular and religious neighbors. Their plan, proclaimed as god’s will, was suddenly, plainly, and most unexpectedly, in deep trouble. On national fundangelical radio stations, and on call-in-your-contribution-cause-god-needs-money 800 numbers, the faithful were urged to pray that secular science lose to the truths of Genesis and that god would bring to Kentucky, and to his glory, a museum of creationism. The prayers failed, because prayer doesn’t work. At least not for creationists trying to limit god to their understanding of bronze age myths.

Sensing the need to regroup, those who teach children that dinosaurs were on the ark and that the Earth was created six thousand years ago, made the fatal strategic error of requesting more time to polish their presentation before the final hearings. This permitted the quickly formed and disorganized opposition to get organized. Public hearings were held, a TV debate, in which your narrator participated, was conducted, and--most importantly--citizens of the county learned, largely by door to door visits, just who, what, and why the arkonuts really are. By the time of the final public hearing, over one thousand voting residents of the county had signed petitions urging a denial of the zoning change. The plan was unanimously defeated. And it went down for zoning reasons, not religious ones, i.e., the requested change to recreational use was a subterfuge for the true commercial use this new international headquarters for nonsense intended. If they had wanted to build a church, even to teach that the earth is flat, or that things fall up if dropped, FIG would have fought for their First Amendment right to preach their thing..

Now to the point. FIG has a membership of around sixty souls, maybe some one hundred on the mailing list. Only two FIG members live in Boone County, and only four FIG members ever opened their mouths at any public hearing. And to what cause did the arkonuts attribute their defeat? Why to those godless secular humanists of FIG, of course. Those thousand good Christians who came together and stopped them were ignored.

So here’s how their leader, Ken Ham, described their situation on Australian radio in December , 1996, during Hanukkah, just a few days before his plan sank like an overloaded ark (he doesn’t know we have a tape of it, but we do):

Actually, overwhelmingly, we had the support of the local community. It’s really only a small number of people who have stirring up (sic) opposition to this museum and most of them belong or associated with (sic) a group called "Free Inquiry" which is a local humanist group which of course are against anyone believing at all in the supernatural and actually the Boone County Courthouse the Fiscal Court and the Zoning Board have received overwhelming support from local residents. In fact we have a long list of churches, businesses, organizations in Northern Kentucky who support us so really its got overwhelming support from the community...there’s been a lot of exaggeration about what’s gone on here, mainly because there’s a very vocal humanist group who are very anti-god and anti anything to do with the bible and they’re the ones that have sort of stirred up the controversy, but actually, as I said, the residents of Northern Kentucky overwhelmingly support someone to come in and give people an opportunity to have a family center...we’ve been very low key in all this...and certainly there’s been a few residents, just a small number who’ve been stirred up by this vocal minority here...because the local humanist group went to the press... (sic semper sic).

When the plan was defeated, Ken Ham announced on the Internet that the defeat was clearly god’s will, and revealed unto them that god had other plans for their ministry. Guess so. And now you know the rest of the story.

Edwin Kagin
May, 1997

[Update: In 1998, Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis attempted a second time to build their museum/warehouse/office complex on land in Boone Country, Kentucky--far away from Big Bone Link State Park, but nevertheless land that again required rezoning from recreational to commercial. They were again defeated, this time at the Zoning Board stage, by a coalition of rural neighbors who opposed their efforts by demonstrating that the proposed AiG complex would be devoted primarily to commercial activities that would have a negative impact on the rural environment. Again, Ham and AiG blamed their defeat on the "secular humanists" despite the fact that, this time, Ed and Helen Kagin and other FIG members stayed away from the controversy and did not oppose AiG's rezoning attempt by speaking at the Zoning Board hearing (because the proposed museum was not on the main road to Big Bone Lick and thus would not attract tourists traveling to the state park and suck them in to AiG's pseudoscientific propaganda displays). AiG appealed the zoning decision to the Fiscal Court, but they lost there, too. This means AiG has lost four times in their attempts to build their commercial enterprise on recreational property. The irony, of course, is that Ham and AiG could have built their museum/office complex three years ago on nearby and easily-accessible commercial land with no problem whatsoever, but for some reason they continue to want to be located in the country, presumably for aesthetic reasons. Answers in Genesis museum donors and monetary supporters should question that organization's leaders' ineffective, costly, and counterproductive activities, for the leaders must have some sort of fiduciary responsibility to the organization and its supporters. Ken Ham and AiG have stated that they plan to appeal the Fiscal Court's ruling in a Kentucky appeals court. Steven Schafersman, November, 1998]

Copyright 1999, 2007 by Edwin F. Kagin