Parents of third-graders are upset the students will not be taking an annual field trip to the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum in Glendive, Montana.
The Christian-themed museum features displays of humans and dinosaurs living together, a Noah's Ark exhibit and a room devoted to Biblical history.
The Glendive School District canceled the trip after receiving a letter from Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which claimed the field trip violates the religious Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, noted the Billings Gazette.
The museum is owned by the Foundation Advancing Creation Truth, which states on its website:
"When you visit a major natural history museum today, you will see wide-eyed elementary and preschool children (not to mention their parents and teachers) being funneled into an abyss of scientific deception. No matter whether it’s the study of animals, earth science, or astronomy, the wonders of God’s creation are prostituted for evolutionism.
"And the end result is just more confusion, mystification and cynicism in the lives of our young people and adults. Despite all the wonderful research and excellent outreach ministry of so many capable Christian scholars and ministries over the past 30 years, the culture we live in has amazingly taken a dive into what has been called post-modernism and even a post-Christian moral pit."
The field trip to the museum was to have taken place on May 28.
Lincoln Elementary Principal John Larsen told the Billings Gazette that the museum held "a different point of view than kids are exposed to in school," but supported the trip because kids would be given a "secular" version of the tour without religious dogma.
Alex Luchenitser, the associate legal director of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, countered, "I don't think there's any way that children can enter that building without receiving the creationist message."
Museum founder Otis E. Kline Jr. claimed the facility focuses on evidence, not religion, during the school tours, but admitted that if a student were to ask about fossil ages, he might include a worldwide flood in his answer.
"It's perfectly legitimate for me to do so, because it's not the teacher who asked me, it's not the bus driver who asked me," Kline told the Billings Gazette. "The student is not a representative from the school."
Larsen says the feedback from parents about the canceled field trip has mostly been negative.
A group of parents plan to take the children out of school and to the museum on the day the trip was supposed to happen.