May 27, 2010

Belfast museum told to display creationist exhibits

by Sara Levy

Ulster Museum should display exhibits that promote creationism, Northern Ireland’s culture minister has claimed.

Nelson McCausland, a born again Christian, has written to the Museum’s board of trustees urging them to display exhibits reflecting the view that the universe was made by God 6,000 years ago.

He claimed the inclusion of anti-Darwinist views is a “human rights issue”.

“There are a range of perspectives and I want simply to have in there consideration given to reflecting the diversity of views in Northern Ireland,” he said.

“It’s also in fact a human rights issue and an equality issue because culture rights, the rights of people in Northern Ireland, should be implemented.”

Sinn Fein criticised McCausland’s decision to send the letter.

“Mr McCausland’s letter amounts to undue political interference in the running of our museums, including the Ulster Museum”, a Sinn Fein spokesperson said.

“It is wholly improper and wrong. It’s unacceptable that a minister would engage in this type of political interference.”

Mark Taylor, director of the Museums Association, said he’d never heard of politicians putting political pressure on museums.

“I have been working in museums over 20 years and I can’t recall in the UK an example of such blatant political interference,” he said.

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