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7.29.2014

Taxpayer Money to Fund ‘Historically Themed’ Noah’s Ark Museum

by: Josh Kilburn


According to Answers in Genesis, it took Noah around 120 years to construct his ark. And while he had a variety of tools, there’s one tool I’m sure that Noah didn’t have: tax money.


Of course, that’s not stopping Ken Ham, who is desperately trying to prove Genesis is literal by constructing an exact replica of the Ark using an army of people and taxpayer money. That’s what he wants, anyway, since he’s convinced the state of Kentucky to approve his request to use taxpayer money on his “Ark Encounter.”


The final tab for this project, passed off to the taxpayers of the Bluegrass State, comes to about $73 million.


So, of course, the powers that be are behind him all the way. According to the New Civil RightsMovement:


But Ham has convinced the powers that be — yes, the governor supports the project — that it would pay for itself with the additional tax revenue it would generate.
The project would be funded by the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority, which meets tomorrow to vote on the plan. Ham already got the state to approve $173 million in state funding three years ago but withdrew his request when he was having funding challenges on his side.
Mike Zovath, Ark Encounter’s project coordinator says they “expect” to get funding approval from the state “because the project fits all the criteria for the tourism act.”
Apparently, historical accuracy isn’t one of the criteria, although Ham insists the ark will be 510 feet long, supposedly exactly as described in the Bible — making it the “largest timber-frame structure in the USA.”
 
The Courier-Journal reports thatAnswers in Genesis embraces a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis and a belief that the Earth is only 6,000 years old — a view that runs counter to science. As a result, the Noah’s Ark theme park has drawn criticism that the state incentives, as well as a $10.25 million project put into the state road construction plan to improve the state road between I-75 and the park, violate the constitutional requirement of separation of church and state.”


Counter to science? Try counter to reality. I’ve mentioned before how the problem isn’t “big government” and “small government,” but “stupid government” and “smart government.” This is big and stupid government. The Journal continues:


“It’s a religiously themed project with potentially evangelical overtones, and therefore it would erode the separation of church and state for it to receive any money from the taxpayers,” said Sarah Jones, spokeswoman for the Washington-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Asked if the group plans to take the matter to court, Jones said, “I can’t comment about the possibility of any potential legal action.”
Zovath said in response to such critics, “The state isn’t endorsing anything by incentivizing an attraction to bring tourism dollars into the state.”
Gov. Steve Beshear has supported the project. Regarding the new application to be considered Tuesday, Governor’s Office spokesman Terry Sebastian said, “The project will receive the normal review of the authority, and we wish the project success in bringing tourism and economic activity to northern Kentucky.”
They wasted a lot of words to say that they’re suckering the taxpayers into footing the bill for a $73 million Bible-themed tourist trap.