Yesterday, I wrote a long read on the inside story of the lawsuit between Answers in Genesis and The State of Kentucky. If you haven’t read it, this post (probably) won’t make any sense. You should go read it now.
Today, I want to reflect on the story and what we should learn from the Ark Encounter situation.
1) Appearances matter.
They really do. It’s not enough to be legally, and even ethically, on the up and up. People need to KNOW, they need to SEE that you’re walking the straight line in these areas. There was absolutely nothing wrong with AiG soliciting donations and pursuing public funds. I may disagree with the tactic philosophically, but ethically/legally/morally/SCRIPTURALLY, AiG has every right to do what they did. But it felt wrong to me, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. I remember feeling as if they hadn’t told me the whole story.
AiG doesn’t owe me an explanation. But perhaps they should have offered one anyway. The appearance of hiding something was there. It doesn’t mean they hid anything, but the appearance is sometimes enough to spoil good behavior.
2) Courage matters.
Let’s call a spade a spade. The officials in Kentucky are cowards. Beset by vocal and annoying secularists from all quarters, they bent to the pressure. These were not statesmen and women who defended the citizens in Answers in Genesis, protecting their rights. No, these were politicians whose biggest fear was bad press. They weighed the costs… defend AiG, stand up for what is right, and pay in mountains of created controversy from the enemies of Christians; or throw AiG under the bus and gamble that Christians will be nicer & easier to handle in the arena of public perception. They chose the later, the choice that makes their political lives easier, but shows them to be cowards not fit to hold offices designed solely to protect and defend the rights of the citizens to whom they answer. Shame on them.
And shame on us, the American people, if we don’t make them pay for it at the next election.
3) The Law matters.
Thank God. AiG is going to win their case. We can confidently predict this because we know that the decision isn’t up to the whims and opinions of some bureaucrat. No, Kentucky’s failed argument will be displayed for the world to see in open court. They’ll have to prove their case, not on the basis of their feelings, but on the basis of the rule of law.
4) The Truth matters.
I did NOT like what AiG did with the job posting that was captured on the screen shot. You should not like it either. I said it was unseemly and I stand by that assessment. Whether AiG got their wires crossed between the HR department and legal department, or whether they were trying to pull a fast one is something none of us will ever know (God already knows, though). What I do know is I didn’t care how it happened, I cared how it was handled. That CAD designer was going to work for Ark Encounter. You know it, I know it, and everyone who can read the job description knows it too. Just admit that, make whatever changes you need to make, apologize for what you’ve done wrong, repent from any sin, and move on with life.
The song and dance of trying to explain it away only makes it worse and it does damage to your credibility.
5) The Opposition matters.
If you ever doubt that the radical, God hating secularists of the world can affect us Christians, you need only read how the Commonwealth of Kentucky FOLDED LIKE A LAWN CHAIR at the site of a petition. Not a gun. Not a lawsuit. Not a march on the capital.
A PETITION. Basically, a strongly worded letter signed by a bunch of people… MANY OF WHOM DON’T LIVE IN KENTUCKY.
Good grief! Imagine how effective our opposition will be when they decide to play hardball. Look, this is their world, we’re just living in it. They invented this game, we just hope to survive in it. They own this place… for now.
Never underestimate them. Always prepare for them. They won’t give up. Expect it, and respond in kind.
6) The Past matters.
It doesn’t predict future behavior. It doesn’t give licence to present or future sin. But it DOES matter. At the end of the day, AiG is not behaving all that badly. They’re trying to get a massive construction project done while running two major ministries and navigating a hostile government that wants to stand in their way. Mostly, they’ve come through it all with their testimony intact. But there have been some bumps and bruises in that area, and there has been some mistakes and missteps. Does that mean AiG should lose our support? I say no.
We see this all the time. There’s always “That Guy” that wants everything to be perfect. “That Guy” is part of a church and everything is going great… until someone doesn’t live up to “That Guy’s” expectations. Then “That Guy” becomes a professional faultfinder. Soon “That Guy” becomes “That Critic” and everything has something wrong with it.
Let’s not be that “That Guy”.
AiG has some things to fix. They can’t just point at their past and blot out their mistakes. But we can’t just blot out their past and point out their mistakes either.