A Bible-based creation museum in California, one of the few in America, was officially denied membership into the San Diego Museum Council last week, prompting its president to wonder whether there was a bias "against God" at play and also to compare the struggle to civil rights-era Alabama.
Image source: The Museum of Creation and Earth
"I’m afraid we are being opposed for nothing more than the old prejudice against God," Tom Cantor, president of the Creation and Earth History Museum in Santee, Calif., told KPBS-TV.
"It’s like we’re in Selma, Alabama in the 1950s and I want to have a museum on black Americans," he said. "Do you think I’ll be accepted by the council of museums in Selma, Alabama?"
But the San Diego Museum Council, a coalition of museums in the area, said the reason the organization was declined has nothing to do with its focus on faith.
Danielle Susalla Deery, president of the coalition, told KPBS the museum fell short of the 21 votes needed to be admitted under its policies and procedures.
"Like their animal care and the protocol and care of their exhibitions and storage. They had a lot of areas that were not in line with membership guidelines," Deery told the outlet. "They have a staff member on the board of directors and that’s not good governance."
In the end, the museum did attract 19 votes in its favor, just barely missing the mark for admission. Eight committee members reportedly visited the creation museum before the vote and recommended that it gain membership.
The Museum of Creation and Earth History's stated goal is to "provide scriptural and scientific evidence that reinforces the biblical account of creation and support the body of Christ in fulfilling its commission in offering educational and evangelistic opportunities through interactive museum experiences and activities."
Listen to both parties discuss the museum controversy below:
The museum was founded in 1992 and offers patrons daily tours. On average, 30,000 people visit each year (a visual tour is offered here).
Cantor said he will implement the San Diego Museum Council's recommendations and reapply for membership next year.