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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Cincy-Area Creationist Museum: Seeks Police Powers

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The Answers-in-Genesis Creation Museum that now plans a June opening in suburban Cincinnati wants Kentucky's governor to grant its security guards special police powers to make arrests and control crowds. The $25 million museum is on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River and will be stocked with exhibits that portray the Earth as about 6,000 years old, an interpretation that takes the Biblical story of Genesis as literally true. Dinosaur models were being installed this month. The museum makes no bones about its religious roots, and is a Christian effort to counter Darwin's theory of evolution.

Museum officials anticipate large crowds, and recently asked Boone County, Ky. for an ordinance granting prolice powers. The Cincinnati Post said the request was rejected. The museum then petitioned Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher for executive action allowing its security staff to function as peace officers.

Tom Scheben, a spokesman for the Boone County Sheriff's Office, told Post reporter Shelly Whitehead the creationist museum had worries about protests. "They're concerned about people coming onto their property and trying to create a ruckus or do damage. I don't know if they've had any problems yet. But we've not been out there for anybody trying to create harm."

A museum spokesman said the creationists did not intend to establish an armed camp and did not plan to operate a full-scale police department. He said Christian group instead anticipated drawing big crowds to what the creationists hope will become a major tourist attraction. So far, no word from the Republican governor, who is seeking reelection this year. And no word if the creationists are preparing for protests.

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