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Saturday, 7 March 2020

It's been along time since I wrote about why I won't be going to the Creation Museum, but I recently ran across a public post by a young woman on social media that explains why one of their employees quit and won't be going back. I reproduce it here in full:

My experience of employment at Answers in Genesis
In December 2016, I began work in the housekeeping department at the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum. I worked for three years as a seasonal employee (working up to 10 months each year, usually 40 hours per week, no benefits) and then the last month, December 2019, as a technically full time employee.
I generally enjoy cleaning, did some fun projects, and liked talking with guests from around the world. But it was often physically demanding and the hours that I worked were always difficult. For the first two years I worked shifts that varied daily from as early as 07:00-15:30 to as late as 13:00 to 21:30, and for the third year I worked 3rd and 2nd shifts.
As a child I grew up visiting the Creation Museum, reading Answers in Genesis books and magazine, watching their videos and even attending the conferences in my teens. As a 20 year old I was very excited to work at what I believed to be a Christian ministry.
During my employment, I did have many positive experiences and made good friends with some very kind people. Workmates helped fix my car, went to the doctor with me, or gave hugs and spent some time with me.
However, there are serious problems with the way that Answers in Genesis operates and especially in the way that it treats employees. I personally experienced and/or had workmates who experienced dishonesty, bullying, overwork, illegal discrimination, harassment, and blackmailing. Here are a few of many examples that I personally experienced:
June 2017. The Creation Museum is open on Sundays, and most employees who work on Sundays are unable to attend church, which forces hypocrisy because they are required upon hire to sign a statement promising to faithfully and regularly attend church.
There are several reasons that I and many workmates thought the Museum and its employees would benefit by being closed on Sunday. One day as we discussed this and considered bringing up our thoughts to management, one of my workmates said a joke about going on strike on a Sunday. We made it clear that we were NOT for a strike, but because we simply said the word “strike”, we were falsely accused of attempting to incite a strike. People who knew me well enough to know that it was something I would not do spoke up for me, and I only received a warning.
January 2018. There was a time during my employment that I struggled with serious physical and mental health problems, to the point that I was suicidal (unfortunately I felt too afraid to tell anyone). As I mopped the bookstore early one morning before the museum opened, a lady who was stocking shelves asked how I was doing and stopped to pray for me for 2-4 minutes, then we both continued with our work. It was going to be a slow day, and no one was in a rush to get things done.
She received a warning from management for “being idle and chatting” for praying for me.
May 2018. Once when my car was broken down, a workmate who happened to get off work at the same time as me gave me a ride home. I’ve known this man for years and have always felt completely safe and comfortable with him. He got into trouble with management for it for zero reason other than that he was alone with a woman, and was forbidden from giving women rides in the future, even when off work.
It would’ve been okay if it had been his own choice, but it was nonsense for AiG to force the Graham rule on him. It resulted in inconvenience for me, and totally unnecessary shame for him.
December 2019. I injured my back one evening while lifting bags of trash. I had to lift them out of a deep container that goes up to my waist, which made it impossible for me to lift while bending my knees rather than my back. I had to lift them out of the container and onto a cart. Most bags had an average weight that I was used to but one was much heavier than usual (it probably weighed more than half my own weight).
I filed an injury report and asked for a rule to be made limiting how much the bags could be filled (I was told that cafe workers filled that bag as much as possible to save themselves time), or that they would have to notify us of unusually heavy bags so that a stronger person could be the one to lift them.
Several days later when I was unexpectedly asked to be on trash duty again, nothing had been done and... so what that I had recently been injured doing that task.
Being short-staffed was always a problem that worsened. For quite some time I was the only person on housekeeping night shift when there should have been 3-4 people, and got very overworked and lonely (it was worth it to me at the time for consistent schedule). By the time I left I was the longest remaining employee in the department besides the manager.
At the end of December 2019, I broke down with a mental health crisis and the physical pain from the back injury, suddenly making me literally unable to work.
I’m glad to finally be out of that situation and wish I had gotten out sooner. I’m not sure how and why I stayed for so long. Part of it was the seasonal opportunity which enabled me to take a couple of months off each year for overseas missions trips. Also, I was used to similar environments and treatment from the past so it felt normal to me. I have a usually quiet and submissive personality, am highly motivated and gave my best effort for work.
I often looked for other jobs in the area, especially so that I could afford my own place to live (AiG is known for its low pay). Except for a couple of times that I stayed with friends who were safe and kind, my living situation was incredibly stressful and is a long story itself.
I also tried a few times to transfer into other positions within AiG and always got either turned down for unknown reasons or talked out of it.
Answers in Genesis has been confronted by many people for mistreating employees, and given professional counsel on how to change. They haven’t cared to listen, and continue to be a corrupt organisation that subsists on manipulation and unconditional submission to authority.
My main purpose for writing this, rather than to confront AiG, is to promote awareness and freedom of thought among the employees. I want them to be able to protect themselves and realise that their personal well-being is massively more important than AiG and its true ambition. A person is a worthy image-bearer created by God, an organisation is not.
Those who know me know that I’m personally very much for making sacrifices for the Gospel, but at AiG the sacrifice is for upper management’s dream to build something “bigger and better than Disney” and awe the public.
“It’s God’s work.”
The talk is contradicted by the walk and even by itself.
I haven’t approached AiG as described in Matthew 18. AiG couldn’t have made it more clear both to myself and to others that it is closed to any criticism or dialogue. While there are some Christians who work at AiG, I do not consider it to be a Christian organisation.
Christians are individual PEOPLE, not families, organisations, or governments.
I haven’t heard this discussed before and think it should be discussed: AiG claims that questions about evolution cause young people to leave Christianity/church. First, leaving church is not necessarily the same thing as leaving Christianity. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian. Not going to church doesn’t make you not a Christian. It is entirely possible to worship God, listen to Bible teaching, and get regular fellowship/discipleship without attending church services. I’m glad for Christians who attend church services, but I have a problem when they accuse those who don’t of disobeying God.
Second, AiG is the only place that I’ve heard that claim. Since my early teens I’ve talked about Christianity with many people who grew up Christian and later left it, but never has one told me that evolution had anything to do with it.
I think that creation ministries, while they can be somewhat useful, are way over-prioritised and are a huge distraction from helping young people in ways that we actually do need help. The problem of evolution has been turned into a distraction from the real problems in Christianity... whether intentionally or not, I don’t know.
Close friends out west are helping me with a place to rest, heal and get professional help. I’m so grateful for them and for my friends who patiently talk and empathise with me. Trying to process the pain and confusion is quite unpleasant, and at this point thriving is mostly unimaginable to me. I’m honestly struggling in my faith, but I’m sure that with time my relationship with God will be strengthened and I’ll be back to working and sharing the Gospel with people.
I apologise to anyone who feels surprised by this. I didn’t want to openly talk about this because I don’t want to be negative and because of the personal things in it.
I won’t think less of anyone for choosing to use AiG resources, visit the attractions, or work there, however if you actually try to excuse or minimise the abuse then I won’t trust you. AiG preaches good messages and makes a positive impact on some people, and I wish for that to continue. But it does not justify their bad actions against some other people. Only cults teach that good can outweigh bad, and only those who have things to hide have fear when silence is ended.
I love and miss my friends and former workmates at the Creation Museum and am so thankful for you and everything you’ve done to show me kindness. I think of you every day.
Please do think and speak for yourself. It is very hard to recognise the damaging effects of any religious and authoritarian group while being in it.
Be brave. You are meant to live free!
A caution to anyone currently working at AiG: this post will be monitored by AiG. If you publicly comment on or react to this post, you could be targeted by management as others have been in the past.

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

The Magic Piece of Cloth

The abduction and murder of Sasha Marie Krause has raised an issue that comes up every time something like this occurs: What About Her Protection?
Conservative Mennonites (CM) have many beliefs and practices that set them apart from the general population. Shasha's family, for example, doesn't use social media. But unlike most Amish, they are okay with photos--thus we have a good idea of what Sasha looked like and how she dressed. Visible in every photo of her is the headdress that conservative Mennonites refer to as a veiling, also commonly called a head covering. A CM woman would not think of appearing in public without being covered, based on a belief that, when you come right down to it, treats it is a sort of talisman. Young conservative Mennonites reading Sunday School literature are regaled with tracts, tales, and poems about harm that DIDN'T come a Mennonite woman's way because of her Covering.
What isn't talked about so much is that sometimes, even doing everything right isn't enough. Mennonite girls wearing the most modest clothes possible, and a covering that barely even reveals their hair color, still suffer from the occasional rape and murder. If that Covering is a magic piece of cloth, it doesn't appear to be completely effective.
Sasha appears to have been specifically targeted for abduction. Who knows what was going through the mind or minds of the person or persons who made off with her so suddenly? But if they thought anything about her modest attire, it was probably how easy it would be to remove, once they had her in their control. And since CM girls are raised to submit to the authority of men--the covering itself is supposed to serve as testimony of that--they actually make rather easy pickings for predators who get them in their sights.
Will conservative Mennonites continue to  teach their children the doctrine of the Covering as Protection? Or will they bow to the reality that it's not a magic piece of cloth?

Monday, 23 December 2019

Life in Prison for helping women and babies? Time to get out of New York!

Government oppression has now reached the point that the White Man recommends that his readers move out of New York state as soon as practical. Just as an example of how topsy-turvy their legal system is, note that the same state whose legislators rose to their feet and cheered after passing a law that permits homicide of newly-delivered babies has now charged a midwife with homicide for doing her job of referring an unborn baby to the higher level of care that it apparently required. She's also been charged with the ridiculous charges of fraud and identity theft just for filling out the onerous forms that the government requires in order for her to do her job of assisting mothers with the birth of their babies--no such forms being required of the murderers who kill babies at their mothers' request. To reiterate, according the government of New York State, a doctor who strangles a newborn baby with his own hands is not guilty of homicide if the baby dies; An assailant who stabs a baby in its mother's womb, thus killing it, is not guilty of homicide; but a midwife who refers a pregnant woman to a hospital to finish out her delivery IS guilty of homicide if the baby dies. I'll be posting further updates here.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 8:
Apparently Mrs. Catlin has a sensible judge, who released her on her own recognizance (i.e. without bail) until the trial, which probably won't be for at least a year.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Defecting to Russia? A possibility.

Defecting to Russia--it's the latest way to escape becoming a political prisoner in the USA. Although only a couple per cent of applicants receive refugee status, the risk of long imprisonment back in their home country has led thousands to take on those odds--including some prominent American whistleblowers who faced immanent imprisonment for uncovering deep state corruption.
One person who may be joining them is Lisa Miller, whose daughter Isabella will finally be free from the threat of imprisonment in her wicked stepmother's home in only a few months--but who is still eligible for imprisonment herself for years to come.
The US has a long history of jailing mothers who just want to raise their own daughters, beginning with Elizabeth Morgan, who was jailed for 759 days from 1987 to 1989--not for kidnapping her daughter, as there was no evidence of that, but merely for refusing to tell the authorities where she was (living under an assumed name with her grandparents in New Zealand, as it turned out); and continuing to so refuse under penalty of indefinite imprisonment for contempt. It took two acts of Congress (one of which was later declared unconstitutional) before she and her daughter were able to live together under US jurisdiction. |
In another famous case, Lee Barnett fled the country with her infant daughter Savannah, only to be arrested, extradited, and imprisoned for it two decades later. The problem was that she fled to a country where people generally supported US custody law--Australia--and a suspicious acquaintance turned her in when she carelessly referred to her daughter "Samantha" by her real name. Had Lee and Savannah fled to Russia, I don't envision this having happened.
Both of these cases had in common with the Miller case that the natural mother lost custody of her child following a divorce, a loss of custody that took place despite of charges of sexual abuse against the party who was nevertheless granted sole custody of the child. In in all three cases, it appears that the party who eventually won full custody wasn't even interested in being a parent until after the affected child was born, and the mother tried to take her away.
Lisa Miller faces some serious prison time if she ever returns to the US; I don't think there even is a statute of limitations on her contempt charges. New Zealand is out, and Australia is out, so unless she's content to indefinitely risk continuing to live where she does now, Russia seems a viable option, if she can just reach there--or their nearest consular office--undetected. And as the case of Julian Assange demonstrates, just reaching the consular office isn't always enough.

UPDATE FEBRUARY 25 Supporters of the Millers are calling for a campaign to ask President Trump to pardon all involved. Should this happen, Lisa and Isabella will be able to return to live openly in the land of their birth. Otherwise, they will be forced to continue their life of crime indefinitely.

Monday, 16 September 2019

War Party Headed for Iran?

My abilities to prognosticate the upcoming war with Iran are pretty dismal, as can be ascertained by clicking on the label Iran. But I did top off my fuel tank today, just before the price went up eight per cent. Here's what I'm thinking:

1. Iran already started a hot war by downing an unarmed American aircraft operating in international airspace. That's really all the grounds President Trump needed to shoot back, but he was persuaded not to. The Iranians had to know that if they attacked again, they would almost guarantee a military response, as diplomacy clearly hasn't worked.
2. Do something to America's oil supply, and you've poked her in the eye. American of course doesn't any longer depend on foreign oil herself, but her NATO allies sure do (especially with the North Sea fields drying up), and Iran has just poked NATO in the eye. Retaliation is almost certain.
3. It's a little early for a war to help the Republicans politically, so they may stall it off as long as necessary while frantically gearing up for a major action. But Britain could definitely use a distraction right now. France, Germany, and Greece would probably love an excuse to expel their Iranian guests. So I'm thinking that any  united NATO action would probably come sooner than later.

This wasn't the post I was planning for September, by the way.