Ark Encounter is a Christian evangelical and fundamentalist theme park that opened in Grant County, Kentucky on July 7, 2016. Its creator is Kenneth Alfred Ham (born October 20, 1951), an Australian-born Christian fundamentalist and young Earth creationist living in the United States. This July Ark Encounter is celebrating its first anniversary and atheists, secularists and freethinkers are going to make a protest.
They have created an event ‘Ark Encounter Protest’ and explained some of the reasons for their protest:
Reasons to Protest - Where do we start?
- They have discriminatory hiring practices. No LGBTQ, no Atheists, no Catholics, no Jews.
- They make you sign a vow of chastity if you are single.
- It is anti-science: They claim the earth is 6,000 years old, the grand canyon was formed in 40 days, and that genocide and incest are okay.
- Separation of Church & State: They will receive up to 18 million in state tax incentives, while maintaining their status to discriminate.
Organizers of the peaceful protest that took place last year near the highway ramp en route to the giant ship tried to make a billboard which gives a new name to the park – Genocide & Incest Park but it was rejected by advertisers and they made their own banner and hoisted it at eye-level. They will bring that banner to the protest scheduled for 8th July.
“Their mission is anti-science, the story is immoral, and they practice discriminatory hiring practices while receiving up to $18M in state tax incentives. We are making a stand for equal rights, science, and the separation of church and state” said Jim G. Helton, President of the Tri-State Freethinkers.
When Ken Ham and his team opened this theme park a year ago, people from the city of Williamstown were optimistic and believed this attraction would increase tourism, liven up what was in many ways a dying town, create well-paying jobs, and be good for all surrounding businesses. But it didn’t happen. Those new jobs turned out to be available only for people who agreed to Answers in Genesis’ fundamentalist Christian worldview. Tourism of the area also didn’t blossom.
Last December, Judge-executive Steve Wood (an elected official) admitted there was no evidence of the economic boom they were hoping for. “Grant County still has the same small number of non-chain restaurants and hotels it had last December. That’s when residents voted to go from a “moist” county with limited alcohol sales to “wet” county for alcohol sales.” He added the Ark has “been a great thing but it’s not brought us any money.”
Everyone wants to blame the other side for not doing their job right. On the one hand, lack of the visitors at Ark Encounter means there’s no incentive to build new businesses. On the other hand, lack of interesting things to do in the county also doesn’t attract people to visit the Ark.
Photo Credits: Boing Boing