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They paved Kentucky and put up a Noah's ark

Kentucky gov Search no longer for Noah's ark on the slopes of Mount Ararat;  a bunch of Kentucky businessmen are building their own model  closer to home, and with taxpayers' help:

The state has promised generous tax incentives to a group of entrepreneurs who plan to construct a full-size replica of Noah’s ark, load it with animals and actors, and make it the centerpiece of a Bible-based tourist attraction called Ark Encounter.

Since Gov. Steven L. Beshear announced the plan on Wednesday, some constitutional experts have raised alarms over whether government backing for an enterprise that promotes religion violates the First Amendment’s requirement of separation of church and state. But Mr. Beshear, a Democrat, said the arrangement posed no constitutional problem, and brushed off questions about his stand on creationism.

“The people of Kentucky didn’t elect me governor to debate religion,” he said at a news conference. “They elected me governor to create jobs.”

The theme park was conceived by the same Christian ministry that built the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., where dioramas designed to debunk evolution show humans and dinosaurs coexisting peacefully on an Earth created by God in six days. The ministry, Answers in Genesis, believes that the Earth is 6,000 years old -- a controversial assertion even among many Bible-believing Christians.

Although the Creation Museum has been a target of ridicule by some, it has drawn 1.2 million visitors in its first three years, proving that there is a sizable paying audience for entertainment rooted in a literal interpretation of the Bible.

One can only hope the bulk of whatever taxes this absurd tourist attraction generates go toward improving science education to mitigate the simple-mindedness this inflicts on Kentucky children.

But if it's jobs even at the expense of science that desperate governors crave, they ought to be equal-opportunity panderers. Incoming California Gov. Jerry Brown, himself facing a budget crisis that will force him to get creative, may want to pursue a similar revenue-raising scheme. I would encourage him to steer clear of the Bible's widely disseminated creation story. Instead, my vote goes to the Church of Scientology, whose Earth-insemination myth-- that Galactic emperor Xenu flew billions of his people in DC-8-like spacecraft to our planet and blew them up in volcanoes -- lends itself nicely to flashy amusement park entertainment.

As for Kentucky, though the state foresees an increase in tax revenue, I predict it faces an epidemic of scientific understanding similar to Mike Zovath's, vice president of Answers in Genesis:

Ark Encounter is designed to be a model of environmentally sensitive development, Mr. Zovath said, to minimize its carbon footprint. “I don’t believe in global warming,” he said, “but I do believe we’ve got to be good stewards of everything God’s given us.”


Jackson family tastelessness heads to Nigeria

Surprise!Religion isn't just for Sunday school

-- Paul Thornton 

Photo: Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear

Credit: AP Photo/Garry Jones


Comments () | Archives (16)

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bob murrell

Its a shame that they are going to build the Noah's Ark in ky. and they are using the wrong 18 inch cubit . Noah Ark was 515 feet long not 450.moses wrote the first 5 books of the bible and he was educated in the royal Egyptian cubit that is 20.6 inch means it was 86 ft. wide and fifty ft. high,I have a model of the ark.have been to the site several times R E Murrell


I think it is a load of bull to have the tax payers fund this. If some yahoo wants to build an arc let them but not with my money! Walt Disney was not given money by the government to fund his amusement park and neither should they.


you jackasses. there are enough government programs wasting taxpayers money to have you build a replica of a fake "boat" that never existed. consider the billions of animals in the world that have evolved over the billions of years the earth has been in existence, no one structure made out of wood could a: float, or b: house all of them considering the bio-diversity required to maintain a gene pool.

quit trying to force your fake god on the rest of us

Mike B

Building the arc with taxpayer money isn't really the problem on its own. If it was being built for someone's private collection with taxpayer money it would obviously get no support. The moral dilemna is if the entrepenurs with tax incentives do build the arc there, it will create 900 jobs, attracting around 1.6 million tourists a year for a yearly 250 million dollar STATE revenue (numbers from ABC news piece). The fact that it is religious is still a problem, A BIG ONE, but it doesn't change the fact that people love religious crap so the tourist value would be high, and the jobs it would create are also important.

Michael Simons

Can I get some government funds to build an amusement park which acts out all the stories in the bible about God committing or ordering violent acts of murder and rape? Clearly we should let our children see all of the stories of the bible come to real life.

As for Kentucky, might as well be 49 states.


Sounds like comments from ignorant people...the same type of comments Noah himself probably heard....just before it started raining. Taxpayer money is not "paying for the Ark, it's paying for jobs, hotels, restaurants. Its "supply-side" economics. People criticized former Gov. Collins for going to Japan on tax-payer money. But those who work in Georgetown think it was money well-spent.


Sounds like comments from ignorant people...the same type of comments Noah himself probably heard....just before it started raining. Taxpayer money is not "paying for the Ark, it's paying for jobs, hotels, restaurants. Its "supply-side" economics. People criticized former Gov. Collins for going to Japan on tax-payer money. But those who work in Georgetown think it was money well-spent.

Robinson Walsh

Noah's Ark? One of the lamest and most faulty legends modern religious people can hang onto. There was no Noah. Instead there was a Sumerian king who managed to secure a commercial barge to help evacuate his city. Oh, and to those of you who doubt evolution and believe in the Noah story, I have some questions. If the ark ran aground once, then why are there lemurs in Madagascar? Marsupials in Australia? Komodo dragons in Indonesia? Kiwi birds in New Zealand? Giant tortoises in the Galapagos? Raccoons and bison in North America? Anteaters in South America? The reality is the authors of the Old Testament had no idea that these animals and their respective continents and islands ever existed. This is a breach of separation of church and state, but I suppose those who believe the U.S. was originally intended as a Christian theocracy will be happy about that.

John Smith

I don't believe in creation, it is silly. A giant boat would be a great tourist attration though... as long as they don't spew religious nonsense at me the whole time I would actually like to go visit. Mostly because a giant ship is always spectacular... then again that thing will stink so bad. This might help kill the noah myth, if they actually built it to biblical descriptions and actually filled it with two of each animal (which is impossible to the biblical specs) it will be pretty obvious that it wouldn't work.

I would hate to clean up that mess...

KY Intellectuals

Enlightened Kentuckians would like to ask a favor of the commenters. Please stop being lazy and lumping us all together in this dogmatic young-earth fiasco. We're the victims of a political greed-fest.

We know the media gravitates towards stereotypes - and we're seeing dramatic examples here. Imagine a story on national TV about world-class cancer research advances in Lexington or groundbreaking computer virtualization techniques emerging from Louisville? It'll never happen because the media are trained to think of Kentucky as a hillbilly-inbreeding flyover state - and it make me sick.

Someday, someone will do some actual reporting about Kentucky somewhere other than a trailer park on topics besides mountain poverty and backwater minority fundamentalism. Until that day, I feel compelled to speak up.


It's really pathetic and sad the way people run screaming from anything Christian. We always have to jump up on our soapbox and remind everyone of the scary stuff in the bible or the fact that there are child molesting priests.

Yet our American society was founded by devout Christians and our laws are drawn from Christian morality. What a shame that it has become so unfashionable to be proud of that. You think you're demonstrating your intelligence, but you aren't.

Of course when people protest a Muslim community center in New York and try to point out the terrorism waged in the name of Islam, that's racist and narrow-minded. I doubt any of you protestors of this park would be making noise if they wanted to build MohammedLand.

That's called a double standard.


"a literal interpretation of the Bible" - even its contradictions? Genesis 1 unfolds numbered day by numbered day, with Adam and Eve created simultaneously on the fifth day, after all other life – animals and plants – have been created.
Genesis 2 proceeds by God’s acts of creation, with no days mentioned. Adam is the first life form created, then Eden, then the animals, rivers, and plants. Then Eve, a “help meet”, from Adam’s rib.
Save for God, two very different versions of the Creation: the first chronological (by day) and egalitarian (Adam and Eve created simultaneously); the second sequential ( by act) and hierarchical (Adam first; Eve from his rib).
Which you gonna believe?
Did Noah take 7 pairs of each "clean beast" onto the ark (Genesis 7:2), or just 1 pair (Genesis 7:8 - 15)?
Slavery? OK. Stoning adulterers? OK ...

Dakota Neff

This is sickening. I am ashamed to be from such an ignorant state.


If the Victory Mosque in New York qualifies for govt funding then this does, too. End of story.


Sorry MartyK, this country wasn't founded by Christians, but by Deists. And Christians don't own the patent on morality--I think that "thou shalt not kill" is pretty universal.

The issues that people have with anything Christian the government pushes is that it isn't inclusive--not everyone is Christian. And I'm sure you would lead the outcry if there was a Jewish themed park or an Islam themed park! The only reason you have no issues is that you're Christian. (And for the record, a community center isn't a theme park).

Maxx Scoville

What is it about tax rebates that people refuse to understand??? The 'guvment' is rebating (i.e. returning) a portion of the money earned by the Ark Encounter & paid to the state as sales tax (in addition to income tax, use tax, property tax, excise tax, payroll tax, utility tax, worker's compensation tax, unemployment insurance tax, motor vehicle usage tax, etc.) as an incentive to build in Kentucky instead of somewhere else. This does not cost other taxpayers one single dime and is instead a net-gain for the state as it gets to keep the remaining balance of Ark Encounter earned funds paid in taxes. If they built somewhere else, Kentucky would get zero, zilch, nada. It's not the government's money, period. When you get a rebate on your new cell phone, it's not coming out of the pockets of the other customers, it's your money, spent to buy the phone, coming back to you...



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