An atheist, as well as an outspoken YouTuber, a religious academic and several media members were barred from attending a creationist lecture in Red Deer.
In an email to the Advocate, Helen Beach of the Atheist Society of Calgary, said she was among those who had registered for the Alberta Home Education Association Conference, but was prevented from attending it last weekend by organizers.
Paul Ens, a former Christian who had been critical of creationism on a nationally televised news show and has a YouTube channel called Paulogia, was banned from attending the conference as well.
And Beach said Dr. Jim Linville, professor of Religious Studies at U of Lethbridge, was also told he wouldn’t be admitted.
(Advocate reporter Sean McIntosh was among the media members not allowed inside the home educators conference.)
While Linville could not be reached for comment on Thursday, Ens shared his experience of being barred online.
Five hours before the conference started, Ens said he received an email from Alberta Home Education Association president Patty Marler, denying him access to the conference.
Members of the association could not be reached for comment on Thursday, but their email, which was shown on Ens’s YouTube channel, indicated the AHEA have the right to refuse entry to non-supporters and that his fee would be refunded.
Ens expressed bafflement. He said he had no plans to be “unruly” or cause a disturbance. Since he’s been critical of creationism he wanted to know of the kinds of things that are being said.
Beach has written to Education Minister David Eggen to protest.
In her email to this newspaper, she called what happened a “disgrace — free speech or no. She’s worried that many home schooled children are being taught things that are not true.
Referring to Drumheller’s Tyrrell dinosaur museum, she said, “It’s a whole government funded museum that proves Ken Ham wrong.”