Quantcast
Connect with us

Creationists launch billboard campaign to fight ‘myths’ about Kentucky Noah’s Ark park

Published

on

The Evangelical Christian group behind a proposed park celebrating the Noah’s Ark myth from the Old Testament of the Christian Bible has launched a PR push involving billboards all over the state of Kentucky and in New York City’s Times Square.

According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, the creationist group Answers in Genesis will be posting 16 billboards across the state in an attempt to rebut critics of the park project — tentatively named Ark Encounter — who have complained about possible tax violations and religious discrimination.

ADVERTISEMENT

“With this new billboard campaign, the attention-grabbing wording will get people to visit our website,” said Answers in Genesis president Ken Ham in a press release, “where they will discover the truth about our full-size Ark and learn how some intolerant people are trying to keep it from succeeding.”

The group’s plan for the Ark Encounter begins with a $73 million replica of the ark depicted in the Bible, which Noah built at God’s direction in order to save the animal species of the Earth from a cataclysmic flood.

In July, Kentucky’s state tourism board granted preliminary approval to a plan for the park. The board also voted to allow Ark Encounter to partake in a tax-incentive program that will permit the park to hold back a quarter of the taxes owed on its profits for the first decade that it operates in the state, an estimated $18 million.

In order to reap the benefits of the tax incentive program, however, Ark Encounter must comply with state and federal nondiscrimination laws and cannot demonstrate any religious bias in hiring, staffing or in accommodating park guests. Critics and some tourism board officials worry that the park won’t be able to meet those requirements due to its religious subject matter.

ADVERTISEMENT

Tourism board member Gil Lawson told the Courier-Journal that no final decisions have been made about the park and that it is not an agenda item in any upcoming board meetings.

The group Americans United for the Separation of Church and State says that Answers in Genesis has made it clear that religious bias will determine the hiring eligibility of at least some staff. The park and accompanying museum’s message is explicitly Christian, they argue, and museum guides and docents will be required to spout Christian dogma presented as factual history to visitors.

“To the extent that they argue that as a religious organization they are entitled to discriminate in hiring, that only underscores the point that we’ve been making — that as a religious organization, they shouldn’t be receiving any state subsidies of any kind,” said Alex Luchenitser of Americans United.

ADVERTISEMENT

Answers in Genesis contends that the tax break on its revenue will be generated voluntarily by people visiting the park and is therefore not the same as taxes average citizens. Furthermore, the group says, under state and federal law, religious groups are allowed to show preference in hiring decisions.

Ham says resistance to the museum is coming from liberal elites who don’t understand Kentucky. The billboards, he said, are aimed at dispelling “myths” that liberals have been spreading about the proposed park.

“These agitators — most of them outside the state — are trying to undermine the Ark Encounter by spreading misinformation and putting pressure on Kentucky officials,” he said on Monday.

ADVERTISEMENT

In 2011, Answers in Genesis received approval from the state to build an ark and museum complex estimated to cost about $173 million. Financial troubles with the plan forced the group to scale back its ambitions and build the park in stages. The ark and visitors’ center would be phase one of three that the company intends to roll out slowly over the next several years.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump’s economic ‘brain trust’ ridiculed as America braces for a trade war recession: report

Published

on

President Donald Trump appears unprepared to deal with a potential recession, the Associated Press reported Friday.

"Facing a trade war against China that has shaken the global economy, President Donald Trump gathered his most trusted economic aides in the Oval Office," the AP reported. "The assembled brain trust for Friday’s urgent consultations included an economics chief best known for his stint as a cable TV commentator; a trade adviser whose pro-tariff views are outside the economic mainstream; and a treasury secretary (joining by phone on his way back from vacation) who made millions off the housing crisis and then turned to financing Hollywood movies."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

ICE and Homeland Security busted pushing right-wing propaganda and conspiracy theories

Published

on

Donald Trump in Oval Office

Multiple federal departments have been pushing far-right propaganda to federal employees.

"An arm of the Justice Department regularly sent summaries and links to articles from an online white nationalist publication over the last year, a BuzzFeed News investigation has found. In addition, similar newsletters sent to the Labor Department, ICE, HUD and the Department of Homeland Security, included links and content from hyperpartisan and conspiracy-oriented publishers," BuzzFeed News reported Friday.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump claimed North Korea missile testing ‘would stop’ — but they just launched again: report

Published

on

The upcoming G7 summit meeting in Bairritz, France will have one more issue to grapple with after North Korea reportedly conducted missile tests.

"South Korea's military confirms that North Korea has launched a projectile this morning. From South Hamgyong Province. Japan's government reported it first," Voice of America Seoul bureau chief William Gallo Tweeted Friday.

"North Korea has now conducted nine rounds of launches since early May. But this one's notable because it comes after Trump says Kim promised "this testing would stop when the exercises end." They did end Tuesday. And yet..." he noted.

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
LEARN MORE
close-link
close-image