Christian Theme Parks

 

LUCKY SEVERSON, correspondent: This is the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky. It’s a big place with lots of exhibits depicting the creation of the earth in six days, just as it occurred in the Book of Genesis. Ken Ham, a former high school science teacher from Australia, is the CEO of the Christian ministry that created the museum.

KEN HAM: I’d say the Creation Museum, what’s happened here is way above our expectations. It exceeded all of our visions and dreams.

SEVERSON: He says some of the 1.3 million visitors who’ve come here in the last four years are simply curious, but a majority, like Danella and Donna from Indianapolis, are believers.

MUSEUM VISITOR: The Bible is the Bible, you know. God created the earth and all of it in 6 days. Can’t argue with God.

post08-creationparkSEVERSON: It’s a place where homo sapiens and dinosaurs live together in harmony, where Adam and Eve explore the Garden of Eden, and Noah builds an ark loaded with creatures small and large, even dinosaurs. Ken Ham now has plans to build his own ark, a really big one, much longer than a football field, all part of a huge theme park called the Ark Encounter. He says his ark will have the same dimensions as the one described in the Book of Genesis.

HAM (speaking on radio): Genesis, could it be a metaphor?

SEVERSON: Ham delivers his views about the ark and creation in 90-second radio spots that air, he says, on over 600 radio stations nationwide. He says his views are gaining traction, although they are not yet widely accepted in the religious community. But it’s not Ham’s version of the creation that troubles Reverend Joseph Phelps, pastor of the Highland Baptist Church in Louisville. It’s the tax break that has been approved for the ark park.

REV. JOSEPH PHELPS: I honor anyone who has a different understanding of creation than I or my church might have. That’s not the problem at all. It’s when, as in the case of the theme park, when they want to ask for public monies in order to fund putting out their particular point of view. That’s where we have a problem.

HAM: It’s not really a tax break, it’s a tourism incentive, and what it is, it’s actually a rebate on the sales tax generated at the particular facility.

post04-creationparkSEVERSON: What it is is a tax rebate that would allow the ark park to recoup more than $37 million in sales taxes. Under Kentucky’s Tourism Act, any company that promotes tourism is entitled to a rebate. The Creation Museum is considered a nonprofit ministry, but the ark park is intended to return a profit to its private investors. Pastor Phelps and other religious leaders argue that the tax break would violate the separation of church and state.

JOSEPH PHELPS: Well, first of all, I think it’s unconstitutional. I think to put out a particular religious point of view, such as that theme park, or if it was an evolution theme park, either one of those points of view, if they’re coming from a religious vantage point, cannot be merged with government funding, government support.

HAM: Don’t we have freedom of religion in this country? Don’t we have freedom of speech? So if you were a Christian, and you happened to be running a business that happens to have a Christian theme but you are a for-profit business, why is that different to a secular business that’s running something that just doesn’t happen to have a Christian theme?

SEVERSON: The conundrum here is that Kentucky desperately needs jobs.

HAM: The Ark Encounter is going to employ almost a thousand people, and the impact on the number of jobs associated with that is going to be in the thousands, and our particular research has shown it will be many thousands, and it will bring millions and millions of dollars into the community. In fact, the research that we did shows that the economic impact of the Ark Encounter project over 10 years will be something like $4 billion.

post05-creationparkSEVERSON: Kentucky’s Democratic governor supports the tax incentives. He says he wasn’t elected to debate religion, he was elected to create jobs, especially in hard-hit communities like Williamstown near where the ark park will be located and where a majority of the unemployed have been out of jobs for over two years.

WADE GUTMAN: The city and the county both are in desperate need like every place in the country for revenue, and this will generate a tremendous amount of revenue.

SEVERSON: Wade Gutman is the head of the Industrial Development Office and the Chamber of Commerce for Grant County. He says he has slept with a smile on his face ever since he heard the theme park was going to be in his backyard.

GUTMAN: I would have a definitely different feeling if it was nonprofit. But since it is for-profit, and it will create so many jobs and boost our economy almost immediately once construction starts, I couldn’t find anything to be against it about.

DAN PHELPS: In the original story, Noah basically built the ark on his own shekel. He didn’t have any government funding or anything like that involved.

SEVERSON: Dan Phelps is president of the Kentucky Paleontological Society. He joins other academics who say the theme park sends the wrong message about Kentucky.

post09-creationparkDAN PHELPS: They’re doing it on the aegis of saying that this will bring a lot of jobs to the state, and it might bring a large number of low-paying jobs to the state, but it’s definitely hurt the image of Kentucky. Jay Leno has already joked about Kentucky and the ark on his monologue on at least two different occasions.

SEVERSON: But Phelps’s biggest concern isn’t Kentucky’s image. It’s the message the theme park will send to the state’s high school and college students.

DAN PHELPS: Almost every year here in Kentucky we have attempts to get laws enacted into the state legislature that would promote creationism, and right now outside of the larger cities a lot of students aren’t learning very much about evolution. The textbooks soft-peddle it. The teachers tend to avoid the subject basically for fear of offending people, and the Creation Museum and the ark park can only make this worse in Kentucky.

HAM: So in other words they only want their particular view presented. They want their view of millions of years and evolution and there’s no God presented. They really don’t want someone like us having the freedom to present this particular position.

SEVERSON: Ham has not minced words in his views of mainline churches that don’t espouse a literal translation of the creation.

post01-creationparkHAM: Yes, I would say that churches aren’t doing their job if they’re not teaching the Book of Genesis as it is meant to be taken, because many churches, unfortunately, have taken man’s ideas of millions of years of evolution and then they reinterpret the Book of Genesis., and what we would say is, while we wouldn’t question their Christian testimony in regard to their salvation, we would say that they are really undermining the authority of God’s word.

JOSEPH PHELPS: I don’t preach against creationism, but I would say that the majority of our church would support an evolutionary understanding of how God created this world.

SEVERSON: And they would support your position against giving them this tax break?

PHELPS: Yes, this church is a strong supporter of the separation of church and state.

SEVERSON: According to some interpretations of the Book of Genesis, it took Noah about a hundred years to build the ark. The Ark Encounter is scheduled to launch in three years.

For Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, I’m Lucky Severson in Petersburg, Kentucky.

  • Kathy Stein

    I am thankful for the statements of Rev. Phelps and Dr. Phelps for speaking so reasonably on this issue. There are so many faulty assumptions stated by the Ark Encounter’s supporters that it would take a brontosaurus, using all of its fingers, to count the animals which will be loaded on the ark to match the number. It is wonderful irony that the Ken Ham-inspired tourist attractions are within a boulders’ throw of our Big Bone Lick State Park.

  • Walter

    What materials are they using to build the ark? No metal beams for reinforcement, right? Just wood. What would impress me is if they could get it to float. Simply put, a boat that size, built of only wood (no steel) would snap in half in the water and sink.

  • E. Stephen Burnett

    Ky. State Sen. Kathy Stein (D), perchance? Or do you merely happen to share the name with the state senator?

    “Brontosaurus”? This creature existed in “The Flintstones” (often as source of many meat-intensive meals enjoyed by Fred and Barney), but it was based on a mixed-up fossil — the wrong head attached to a body that had already been named Apatosaurus, I think. Perhaps this demonstrates that even those who are convinced solid science is on their side may have bought into a few myths of their own. Or perhaps you were being hyperbolic, comparing a nonexistent animal to Ark Encounter supporters? The sentence was confusing.

    “There are so many faulty assumptions stated by the Ark Encounter’s supporters”

    Perhaps so. I’ve encountered plenty of beliefs, advocated by my spiritual siblings who also accept Biblical creation, that I would also quibble with myself, based on what I believe the Bible says.

    Yet isn’t this a bit of an ad hominem objection, and not even targeted rightly against Answers in Genesis and its staff and partners themselves? If we base objections to a group upon what the weirdest of its supporters (supposedly or even actually) say, we can well-poison the beliefs of any group we don’t personally like: Democrats, Republicans, Christians, atheists, scientists, Jews, Muslims, anyone. Perhaps it would be better, then, to attempt to answer the best arguments AiG’s staff and supporters have offered.

  • Amanda

    This is very sad indeed. In looking for a church to attend while vacationing at and attending the Creation Museum this year, I am marking Mr. Phelp’s “church” as one to not attend. It obviously promotes the devestating false teachings of the world and does not support those who otherwise would be on the same side with them. So sad to not see those part of a church support the Lord’s work – though not without it’s faults – and also going out of the way to publish statements against it. Thank you for this article and thank you Mr. Ham.

  • Dino Dude

    We assume God’s Word is true and can be understood by context, grammar, and etymology. That is our starting point. The only other starting point is to assume that man’s opinion is true. According to the Bible only the land-dwelling, air breathing animals were taken onto the ark. And there were only two animals (seven of some) from each KIND (same as” family” in our modern taxonomic system) not species. There are only about 8000 basic kinds of land dwelling, air breathing animals. Most were probably juveniles which would be smaller, eat less, poop less, be more durable, and live longer after the flood to produce more offspring. The big dinosaurs were, well big, but the little ones were little. In fact the average size of a dinosaur was that of a sheep or pony and even the big sauropods were little once. Just look at the eggs they hatched from.

  • Gregory Lee

    I’m overjoyed that there is finally someone in the “Christian” Community who is standing up for what the Word of God teaches! Not some watered down interpretation of the Word. If you claim to be Christian, then you need to fully follow the teachings of Christ, not what you”feel” is right. Go Ken Ham ! Keep standing up for what IS right. And for those saying that i reflects badly on Kentucky, your wrong, it shows the state in a great light, It’s nice to know that Christians can be seen as equals in the USA. Not as “those” people. Why can’t Christians have a theme park to go to that supports our beliefs and standards? Why should I give my money to and organization to Disney, who is run by people who oppose my views and beliefs? They have the right to have their beliefs, why can’t I support organizations that have similar beliefs to mine as a Christian?
    Rev Phelps needs to read his Bible, God made no mention of animals and man evolving into what they are today. God CREATED man and animal. Putting your own ideas into what the Bible quotes is wrong. It’s time we stick with the word not contradict it!

  • Danny Willis

    It is unfortunate that Rev. Phelps and Mr. Phelps are against the Ark Encounter receiving the tax incentives that were established by Kentuckians. It would be discriminatory for the Ark Encounter to not be eligible to receive the incentives if only on the basis that it is a religious themed park. The bottom line is; if the Ark Encounter is built, there will likely be a large amount of tax money brought into the region (as well as profits for hotels, restaurants and local attractions) but if it is not, then there will be no boost to the economy unless another tourism project moves in.

    It is also unfortunate that a Reverend and his church have trouble understanding the Book they confess to have their faith in. No doubt that they base their belief that Jesus died, was buried and rose again on the text that claims it to be so, yet they so easily toss out the idea that God created in six days and rested on the seventh.

  • Brian Reynolds

    Unfortunately the theory of eveolution has become such a commonly accepted line of thought that we now fail to give creationism adequate or even close to equal time in most educational settings. Creationism is dismissed as ridiculous while evolution is lauded as hard science. the reality is that it takes as much “faith” to believe in evolution as it does the biblical version of history.

    The real issue here needs to be, is there any law or ethical standard that is being broken? Is there anything in this that indicates fraud or misuse of taxpayer funds based on current standards? No. The idea of seperation of church and state is not based on any of our countries founding documents. It is only a reference from a quotation by Thomas Jefferson who feared the government could end up mandating an official church as England had done. The engravings of scripture and faith inspired quotations throughout our nations capitol is a clear indication that there was no fear of including God in the governmental process when this country was founded. There is no legitimate reason why funds cannot be used to promote a business in spite of it having a pro-creation orientation.

  • William Russolesi

    Rev. Phelps and Dr. Phelps are absoulte hypocrites. If they were building a sports stadium for a professional/college sports team, would they be up in arms? Of course not! But when a ministry, like the Asnwers in Genesis, wants to get the truth out – That in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth about 6,000 years ago, people complain! Unbelieveable!

  • Bob McMaster

    As the governor has stated, the state of Kentucky is treating the Ark Encounter project just like other for-profit organizations as regards the tax incentives for bringing new jobs to the state. We talk a lot about discrimination, and it would certainly be discriminatory to deny the incentives just because they are Christian and present a biblical world view. I always wonder why some people are so dead set against Christians having the right to communicate their views on various topics and receive the same benefits as non-Christians. Doesn’t make sense. They insist on their rights but try to deny others theirs.

  • Donna Walker

    Our family loves The Creation Museum. We are life time members and believe God created the heavens and the earth and everything else just as the book of Genesis gives account. We are excited about seeing the full size ark and studying how the structure was likely to have been built and how the animals were likely to have been housed! Makes sense to me that we won’t have to wait for as many years as it took Noah and his three sons to build the ark to be able to witness it’s likeness. I sure do hear a lot of ‘religious politics’ in the critics comments. Go Ken Ham and associates. We need the other side of the story, the Biblical side…………….we’ve had too much ‘religious evolution’ shoved down our American throats for far to long.

  • Marsha Keesling

    I am thankful for the Creation Museum and visited it recently for the third time. All of my life I have gone to tax supported National Parks from Arizona through California up to Canada and Alaska not to mention the state I grew up in, Michigan and our nation’s capital of D.C. All such parks put dates of multiple millions of years ago for when certain fossils and rocks were created and that is how I was indoctrinated from my earliest possible memory. There is no dating system that is accurate for stating such things yet all of my life these dates have been stated as factual. Give me a break! Quit crying about dates when there is no proof beyond the written history of a few thousand years. Just because we have seen micro-evolution, in a very micro way presented in science today, there is no proof that life evolved from the goo as suggested by the theory of Micro-Evolution in our classroom textbooks today. People need to open their minds and investigate better rather than fighting against a recreational park and museum that are intended to be run in a respectfully clean way for our culture to enjoy.

  • David

    how can any bible believing God honouring christian believer even consider allowing evolution to come into any rational discussion about the Word of God, Creation, or even science? Joseph Phelps said our church members would ‘support an evolutionary understanding of how God created this world’ why? evolution is a theory, thats all, since Mr Darwin offered his idea 150 years ago, no evidence has come forward to prove his thinking, you would think that 150 years is long enough to prove something wouldn’t you? Noah managed to build his ark in 120 years!!! why do christians think we have to appease the evolutionists? who do we honour? Mr Darwin or the Creator of the universe who did it all in six days???

  • Stormingaston

    Would Pastor Phelps be happier if a Mosque were built in place of the Ark? Good grief, Christians shoot their own wounded. The AIG ministry is a huge blessing. On top of creating jobs and who, really can argue with that, they’re spreading the gospel through creation where it all began anyway.

  • Heather mckinney

    Mr Ham should call the people who made the movie Evan Almighty as they might still have a life size ark available…all kidding aside. My visit to the creation museum was like a mini-vacation one Saturday so I can only imagine that an Ark Encounter will bring tourism to KY and OH. Therefore, the regular tax breaks should apply. God bless people who believe the Word of God and do not add to or take away from it.

  • Evan C

    I, for one, take the Bible seriously, not literally. There are many different styles of speech within. However, I do think that the mysteries of the universe are concealed from human observation, unless scientific principles are at a zenith and research should stop since we now know everything there is to know about existence. The Bible was enough to help us for thousands of years, and now it’s somehow obsolete? No! There are many scientific and ethical/moral things that can be gleaned by digging into the Bible. The Bible is like any other book in the sense that you should examine it carefully and do the work to try and understand it. There is no doubt that it is a difficult book to understand, it says so in the Bible. It is in fact the #1 bestseller of all time, and has been since the printing press was invented. To not know what the Bible says is to have an incomplete education.

  • MaryAnn Stuart

    Is Rev. Phelps saying that he does NOT accept the IRS tax break as a 501-C3 church organization, and therefore, neither should the Ark Encounter accept a tax break?

  • Curtasian

    Kathy Stein, can you please state what the faulty assumptions are? I have no ability to determine if the “assumptions” you’re speaking of are faulty or valid if you don’t state what the assumptions are.

    As far as Rev. Phelps and Dr. Phelps “speaking so reasonably”, all I can see is the following:

    1. Joseph thinks it’s unconstitutional for the government to give money to the Ark Encounter theme park because it pushes a religious theme (which is incorrect because the constitution states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Congress is neither making a law respecting an establishment of religion nor are they prohibiting the free exercise of religion, not to mention that the Ark Encounter is not receiving funding because of it’s religious – or even scientific – views, it’s receiving funding because it is a tourist attraction that is going to bring the state of Kentucky a LOT of money)

    2. Joseph says that the majority of his church would support an evolutionary understanding of how God created this world (that’s fine, they are entitled to their opinion, not sure how this applies – however – if the state of Kentucky was to withhold money that the Ark Encounter qualifies for, due to the the views of Joseph’s church, that would certainly be unconstitutional as it would be allowing a religious institution to control the government [establishing a government religion]).

    3. Dan states that Noah built the ark with his own money (very true, however, I’m not sure how that applies to the Ark Encounter)

    4. If I understand correctly Dan is also unhappy because the jobs may be “low-paying” (the last time I checked, a “low $$ paycheck” > $0. Is it better to have a large number of people relying completely on government welfare, or for a large number of people to have some kind of income? Some kind of income relieves the welfare burden, and possibly removes it completely)

    5. Dan also states that it’s bad because schools aren’t teaching very much about evolution (again, this isn’t Ark Encounter’s fault, the schools also aren’t teaching that the world is flat, although I’m sure I can find people who would argue that it is)

    6. Oh and Dan is upset because jay Leno laughed at it (I’m sorry It’s not nice to laugh at people).

    I’m not convinced that there is a lot of “reason” in what they are saying.

    On the other hand a tourist attraction that qualifies for the government funding, which the elected government put in place, which will bring jobs and income to a state that is suffering sounds quite “reasonable” to me, and I’m sure it does to many other people who will be employed by Ark Encounter.

  • Ken

    Tourism incentives fund museums (built often with taxpayer funding) that promote the THEORY of evolution and the religion of secular humanism. Either take away all incentives (rebates on generated taxes from willing attendees) or let all attractions help promote area economic development, jobs and tourism driven revenues. Unless of course you would like to see the Federal government come in and “fix” things like they have with the auto industry, banking,housing and mortgage industries, education and healthcare- that will cause extinction for sure.

  • Mark

    It’s not “public monies” to fund the park. It’s a REFUND on SALES TAX generated WITHIN THE PARK by park patrons who may not have otherwise visited Kentucky and tax dollars that would not otherwise be generated.

  • Mark

    Kentucky would be violating the first amendment by NOT allowing the Ark Encounter to take advantage of the tax incentive solely for religious reasons. Where is “separation of church and state” in the Constitution? It’s not. Also, the company building the Ark Encounter isn’t a church.

  • Ron

    Walter says:
    June 24, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    What materials are they using to build the ark? No metal beams for reinforcement, right? Just wood. What would impress me is if they could get it to float. Simply put, a boat that size, built of only wood (no steel) would snap in half in the water and sink.

    Actually Walter, steel wasn’t used in ship construction till sometime around the US Civil War (remember the Monitor and the Merimack?) Ship construction relies more on the simple fact that even in massive sizes with tons of cargo, a ship displaces less volume than water. That is why a ship floats. Even before the Ark Encounter is completed, I could suggest you pay a visit to the Creation Museum. They have an entire section of the museum devoted to exactly how it is that a ship of such proportions could indeed sail. “Dino Dude” has given a very brief description of how all the varieties of animals (NOT every species…) could have been gathered into the Ark. Thanks for the help DD!

  • Keith

    Do I listen to a man who claims to be a Monkey or to the God of the Universe?

    “I am the way, the truth, and the life”

  • Arlen Yost

    Only wished I could move my business and our staff there. I’d love to visit the museum and hope for soon building of the new park. They waited years against a hostile broken culture that opposed the museum. Only wished I could have been able to be more a part of it. WIthout the Christ of Christianity we are hopeless. I’m not into throwing rocks any more, too busy trying to bail out the water of the sinking boat. If we don’t find the truth of scripture again as a nation, we are sunk. ….and the truth alone isn’t enough, we need to fall in love with our creator and sustainer, which based on scripture is Jesus Christ. We need to be careful not to underestimate His power, we might need Him to save our soul! Oh for the long lost days where the schools taught the chief end and purpose of man! Every man will be held accountable to God based on the creation witness alone, must be a pretty powerful message. Lets listen up. Keep up the good work Ken.

  • PhelpsisaNuttJob

    Phelps has some real issues and the first is he makes no sense at all. The second is he’s disputing oranges with apples. The park is for profit and is eligible to receive tourism incentives. …

  • Cassie

    I for one am THRILLED to see something that will stand for the authority of God’s word! This is a very exciting move that will get more people interested in coming to see what Christianity is really all about. Even though it will come with loads of criticism, Jesus said to expect that. I can’t wait to attend!

  • CAdvoc

    How does Pastor Phelps explain 5 female ministers at his church in lieu of 1 Tim. 2:11ff.; 1 Cor. 13:34ff., etc.? If he can’t get this basic imperative of God’s Word straight in his own ministry walk, how can he believe he has the ability to step out to criticize Ken Ham’s ministry? Using Pastor Phelp’s reasoning, it wouldn’t be a long reach to accuse churches of stealing tax payers’ money using this same argument! Equipping a man w all the tools, supplies & plans to build a house does not ensure he has the ability to do it all any more than providing some men w M.Divs, D.Mins, etc. ensures they’ll know `how’ to apply God’s Word when the time comes! There are enough within the `world’ who are constantly seeking to defeat the efforts of the Church to further the great commission w/o other “Christians” joining ranks to further their purpose. I would suggest Pastor Phelps concentrate on being the successful church administrator & continue to build the Highland Baptist Church ministry up, which he’s done so well, rather than tearing down the wonderful ministry another has been called to build to the glory of God (I Cor. 10:31)!

  • Lucinda Martinez

    If I follow the thought process of Rev. Phelps, then I as a physician would no longer be able to play worship music in my reception area, nor would I continue to get on my knees and pray for patients several times per week as the Spirit leads. My business is for profit AND for Jesus.

  • Kim

    Hey Dan Phelps, ever watch “Field of Dreams”-If you build it, they will come.? That means until AI is open for business and generating income they will not receive any incentive from the government. It’s the classic ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ game. It’s the investors who are paying to build this attraction. Government is just gonna let AI reinvest the sales tax it collects from admission, souvenirs, and concessions back into creating more revenues.
    Leno, Letterman, O’Brien, & SNL joke about lots of people, places, and things, including US presidents. Come on now, is that the best excuse you got? That’s about as riduculous as a child complaining to his mother, “mom she’s staring at me again.”
    And as far as I know evolution as the underdog is an exception to the rule in our country that is dominated by liberal ideology. …
    @ Rev Jos Phelps: … God expects you to take a side-that He ‘completed’ this world and it’s creatures, including humans, in 6 days. Evolution and Creation are polar opposites. How is it that you can believe in the New Testaments promises in the last third of the Bible but you fail believe ‘In the beginning God created…’ (Gen 1:1 & 2:1) at the beginning of the Bible?
    And finally @ Severson (relating to your closing statement): Ken Ham does not proport to be Moses, nor God. The intention is not to re-enact the exact timeline of the Ark’s construction as detailed in Genesis. The mission of AI is simply to construct a life-size replica of the ark and it’s occupants in order to facilatate learning and understanding of the Flood to believers and non-believers alike who can benefit from a tangible, hands-on experience.
    @ Brian Reynolds: I would counter that it requires more faith to believe in evolution than it does to believe that we are intentional and completed creation of God Almighty.

  • Sonya Cates

    I was at the Creation Museum on opening day. Honestly, in regards to funding religious projects, with pubic monies. Let the people speak. If they want to give their own money for this then let them. Business people know that where millions of people will pay for this museum and then drive thousands of miles to get there that is the next big thing. The masses should tell the investors that people are in search for truth and honesty. If they have a better idea that will help people in their journey then get it out there. Don’t just depend on public schools to send your message, compete with Ken Ham. Build your own museum and theme park and influence the world. Don’t go complaining that the other business’s stole all your customers. If you really had true beliefs contrary to him then you would have done this along time ago. Evolution obviously has not helped people because they are now searching for real answers.

  • Heather Mckinney

    I posted earlier today and am surprised it isn’t on here so I am reposting. Mr. Ham should see if the film Evan Almighty’s life-size ark is still available, animals and all. KY should give them all the tourism tax breaks. I am thankful for Creation Museum as it is based upon the word of God and feels like a mini-vacation while visiting there.

  • Mrs Lola Cullen

    God bless you Ken Ham. You are in gods army fighting the good fight. We truly are fighting against evil powers in high places. The baptist pastor needs to get his heart right with God. I am of the baptist faith and it breaks my heart to see people that that should be supporting Gods word in action are fighting against it. Doesn’t this pastor realize your ministry reaches lost souls for Christ? It really breaks my heart. May God continue to bless your ministry and may God forgive this baptist pastor “for he knows not what he does”.

  • Jean

    To JOSEPH PHELPS comment: Well, first of all, I think it’s unconstitutional. I think to put out a particular religious point of view, such as that theme park, or if it was an evolution theme park, either one of those points of view, if they’re coming from a religious vantage point, cannot be merged with government funding, government support.Have you been to D.C. Have you not seen all the multimillion or multibillion dollar free from taxes tourism sites that support the religion of evolution that are actually funded by our government. Perhaps they are not theme parks per sey but they are certainly not seperating their religion of secular humanism and evolution and state. As for evolutionary “creation” a big God doesn’t need it, only a small God of a man’s imagination that says that man has to be able to explain everything. Even in Darwins words his theory would not and doesn’t stand up to scientific facts. Just 1 negates the whole such as irreducible complexity. God spoke it all into existance. Why would He need millions of years? How do you understand an E-coli micromachines, DNA, and why mankind sins without a literal interpretation of Genesis? Why are there polystrate fossils? Where are the hundred thousand transitional fossils to support evolution? I am appalled that a pastor of a supposedly Baptist Church would cheapen the Biblical message to think his own thoughts on a matter when we have God’s record.. What happened to Baptist Distinctives? What happened to God said it, that settles it whether I believe it or not? “Let God be true and every man a liar.”

  • Michael Abate

    I’m from Ethiopia, one of the poorest nations of the world! But one of the places I have to see before I finish this life is Kentucky! I hugely appreciate what Ken and his colleagues are doing! And though I hate to say anything bad against a fellow Christian, I am so puzzled by the pastors that publicly speak against what Ken is doing.
    There is nothing that requires great faith and deep commitment than taking the Word as it is!

    Therefore I’d like to take this chance to say keep up the good work – Ken! And know that there are so many people that appreciate what u are doing!
    I wish I know any better way to let u know how much your service means to me !

    God blessssssssssssssssss u!

  • Michael Groh

    I think REV. JOSEPH PHELPS should take the title baptist off his church. It should be renamed the first church of Darwin. With a caption under stating ” All non believers welcome. “

  • Judy

    Keith hit the nail on the head. Who are YOU listening to? Those of us who are listening to THE God of the Universe understand what the Creation Museum is all about. My family has visited 3 times, brought family and friends with us, and plan to keep on doing it for many years. Thank you, Ken Ham, for your love of God and your dedication to helping others come to know Him, too, through proper understanding of what the Bible actually says.

    God is a gentleman who gives us free will to choose our own paths concerning our belief (or not) in Him. He does not force us to believe what He says, but He also clearly states the consequences of unbelief. We are free to make our own good or bad decisions, but we are also required to suffer our own consequences (or enjoy our own blessings). Isn’t it more “reasonable” to believe the account of One who was actually there in the beginning than to put all faith on the suppositions of one who didn’t even know about DNA yet?

  • karina a ruiz de reyes

    All i can say is: The separation of church and state was created to protect the church from the state, and not viceversa. And to the pastors, who seem more like sheep, Is the arm of God too short?

  • Paul

    I fully support this theme park. I hope one day my family and I can visit as we all believe the biblical account of Genesis without adding millions of years to it. Interesting how part of the problem to getting this park up and running are Christians!! I say “wind your necks in” and lets see more of God’s Word (without adding anything to it) proclaimed because we sure need truth in the world not more lies!

  • James Wilson

    This blasphemy — human beings putting on a circus that they then ascribe to “God’s teachings” — will confirm for many the stereotype of Kentucky as a place where reason has been abolished in favor of dogma … and ridiculous dogma, to boot. Whatever Mammon the state realizes as a result of catering to such base uses of Scripture will undoubtedly be overwhelmed by the financial loss to the state of in direct proportion to its loss of respectability. When Kentucky’s reputation for sober thinking and politics that don’t turn on religious extremism disappears — a trait that most serious businesses will seek first when considering locating facilities — its appeal as a home for new investment and businesses that create real jobs and long-term growth will be be sadly diminished.

  • Douglas Herson

    Thank-you Ken Ham and AiG. God bless and God speed.

  • J. Michael Poapst

    Thanks Ken Ham for standing firm on what Genesis clearly intends to convey!! I love how these ” preachers ” ( Phelps and others ) make flimsy excuses to oppose this endeavor. They simply are evolutionists with a backwards collar! They claim to be Christians and then oppose true Christians who simply want to present the scriptures factually as they were inspired. When these people stand before Christ after death, I wish I could hear them explain to him how he was God prior to his birth and evolved from a monkey!! Shalom.

  • Roy

    A number of commentators here seems confused as to the concept “separation of church and state.” For those who think the Ark Park is like a sports stadium, think again. Sports stadiums generate revenue based upon those paying to see sports, which is not ideological. The Ark Park will advocate a specific religious perspective on the creation of the world. They group behind it is perfectly entitled to their opinion, and they are entitled to build the Ark Park, and no one is hindering them from doing so. However, by using the tax incentives offered by the state, money that is generated for the state coffers (sales tax is state money) they are asking the state to support their particular religious perspective, which is a violation of the principle of the separation of church and state. No one is hindering this group from spreading its views, but do not ask the tax payers to subsidize it by tax incentives. If they backers are so confident of the success of this venture, such tax incentives would seem unneeded.

    Just a question for those who believe in the claims of the Creation Museum and Ark Park. Where exactly is your evidence that dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time? Feel free to use the Bible in your answer (though I don’t think you will find dinosaurs in Scripture), but also point to one piece of physical evidence which suggests that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time.

  • Ben Strickland

    Thank you, Joe, for everything.

    Abide.

  • JoAnne in West Cobb, GA

    I don’t feel that PBS gave Ken Ham as much time to speak as they did the opposing opinions. I am glad that the Ark Encounter will receive the tourism rebate KY is offering (its not the Ark Encounters program; its the state of Kentucky’s offered program) just like any other park that qualifies, not just the PC ones. I’m sure the Phelps gentlemen (are they related?) wouldn’t object to a more “Flintstone” style park opening and receiving the offered sales tax rebate to bring in tourism to KY.
    My family has toured the Creation Museum and it is excellently and professionally presented and maintained. Can’t wait to visit the Ark Encounter.

  • Roy

    So, for those Christians who attack the pastor featured in this piece for being un-Christian, how Christian are you? You don’t know this pastor. All you know is what he said in this piece, when he was asked about the historic baptist position defending the separation of church of state. Folks who claim to be Baptist and don’t understand why Baptists believe and have fought for this principle should perhaps refrain from attacking other Baptists who know their history. One can be a Christian and not be a “young earth Creationist.” One can be a Christian and believe that evolutionary theory is a very viable theory which explains the origins of species on this planet (yes, it is possible). One can be a Christian and believe that state government should not support with tax incentives a religious ideology. One of the greatest concepts in America is the freedom to believe and proclaim what your believe. One of our most valuable principles is that we don’t ask government to fund sectarian religious speech, even if a majority might wish to. Please remember that the First Amendment (as well as the others) is designed to safeguard minority rights. It is not designed to permit the majority (of any faith or no faith) to ask and expect that the state will support their views with money from state funds.

  • Herb (12th Apostle)

    Wasn’t the Arc the story where the God character kills all the men, women and children on Earth save that Moses dude and his family? Why build a museum in tribute to mass murderer?

    Does the museum include a diorama that dipicts the part where God commands Moses to kill all the men, women and children except for the virgin girls whom God allowed Moses and his posse to keep for themselves (Numbers 31:1-35). God was d’ OG.

    Oh! Better yet. The museum should have an interactive “stoning” exhibit in which visitors can throw stones at locals who were caught picking up sticks on Sundays (Numbers 15:32). That’d be righteous!

    One more goodie for an interactive piece. Fill a room with out of season fig trees that visitors can curse at. C’mon, WWJD? (Matthew 12:18-22; Mark 11:12-14; 20-25).

  • Barb

    I just praise God for Ken Ham and the creation musuem and for his stand for the truth of God’s Word!

  • Joel

    Ken Ham and his views are pathetic, sad, and an embarrassment to mainstream Christians everywhere. He is dishonest, misrepresents his background and uses dubious means to present his bronze-age creationist beliefs. To him it doesn’t matter that there is as much evidence to support his creation myth story as there is the Norse myth creation story, or hundreds of others. He uses his organization to brainwash young children and take advantage of a relatively scientifically ignorant group of people to line his pocketbook. People need to scrutinize him and his organization for what it is-an organization that wishes to force its white-washed beliefs on others. The “Ark Encounter” is another joke to add to Kentucky.

  • Herb (12th Apostle)

    Why was my previous post censored from inclusion? I question why a museum dedicated to an premeditated event that killed everyone on earth (less Noah and his family) is even worthy of being built, and that is deemed inappropriate and/or malicious in nature?

    Other posts are allowed to praise god; why wasn’t my post condemning him/her/it? The bibilical flood story was one of many in which the God character kills a mass number of people. Is that not relative to this debate? C’mon, if people believe this God character is real and the bible is factual, God is a mass murderer.

  • Danny Willis

    Roy, in response to your questions about dinosaurs and people living at the same time, let me encourage you to check out the AiG site for a detailed argument. I will provide a brief summary here for you to read.

    We will start with the bible. The word “dinosaur” is not found in the Bible because the word is relatively new. It was invented in the 1800s while the first English translation of the Bible was written in 1611. What we do find in the Bible is a word that is quite similar to a dinosaur, the word “dragon”. It is used 20+ times outside of the book of revelations and often used when warning a kingdom to repent, lest their home become a den of dragons. In Job 40 we read about the bohemoth and the leviathan. Both come after a long list of regular animals that we are familiar with; lion, raven, mountain goat, deer, donkey, ostrich, horse, hawk and the eagle. The passage speaks of the size of the bohemoth, saying that its tail sways like a cedar. This is a description that fits easily with a brachiosaurus and poorly with an elephant or hippo. The passage goes on to describe the leviathon and includes something very familiar to what we hear about dragons: its breath is like fire.

    Starting with the Bible, dinosaurs were made on days five and six about six thousand years ago. They were included on the Ark with Noah, and they were encountered at various times throughout the history recorded in the Bible. They then died out over time as many species do even today.

    The outside evidence centers mostly around the dragon art and stories found throughout the world. The country of Wales features a dragon on its flag, the English have statues for St. George, who slew a dragon, and the Chinese have long had stories and celebrations for dragons, including one in its calender with 11 more commonly known animals. There are many images on pottery and in buildings of dragons that predate the re-discovery of dinosaurs in the 1800s.

    Another example that supports the idea that dinosaurs and mankind was alive at the same time are the coelacanth and the wollemi pine tree. They are found in the same strata as dinosaurs and were determined at one time to have gone extinct along with the dinosaurs. That was until they found live specimens. Now they are referred to as “living fossils”. There is also the example of soft tissue found in a T-Rex bone in Montana a few years ago. Of course it has been dismissed as a contaminated sample, but it wasn’t done so because of vigorous scientific testing, it was done before it ever entered a lab because it is already assumed that soft tissue can not survive for 65 million years.

    I hope that gives you a decent head start, but I still hope you will check out some of the articles on AiG’s website or others with the creation worldview. Good luck.

  • Dust

    Let Ken Ham make the children of Kentucky dumber on another person’s dime, not mine! …

  • Mick

    The Noah’s Ark story is scientifically disprovable, logistically laughable, morally reprehensible, and cribbed from an earlier creation myth. A museum dedicated to it is a sinful waste of money and a monument to stupidity.

  • Channah

    Two points that bother me:

    1. Tho it is a business, it is still pushing a religion, and no tax allotments should be given.

    2. It amazes me how anyone can actually believe that the Bible is to be taken literally. So, G-d may have taken billion of years of evolution to get us to this point. What difference does it make? The Bible was written by ancient men who were telling it as their minds could see it. Science now gives us a more true picture of how He did it.

  • EriK

    It deeply disturbs me that so many people don’t understand (have been brainwashed not to?) the meaning of the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment. How a single phrase in the context of protection for religious people against oppressive government regulation/control of religion could ever be interpreted as empowering the state to marginalize and restrict the free speech, equal rights and expression of religion and religious people is beyond me.

    The Establishment Clause was originally intended to mean that the FEDERAL government cannot institute a theocracy or organized religion (such as the Papacy, which was clearly in the back of the founders’ minds when adding this amendment). For one, it says nothing about what a state cannot do, only what the United States Congress cannot do–it says so right in the text. Numerous states still have much more religious rhetoric in their constitutions than the federal government, another fact that you can look up if you’re interested.
    The Establishment Clause was made to protect Christians from the Government, NOT to give the government (or non-Christians) freedom to stifle and oppress Christianity.

    It’s so disappointing. But if Christians nationwide will stand with Ken Ham, we can secure our freedoms for just a little bit longer–and who knows? Maybe we can turn the tide for a while, before the great falling-away of the End truly begins in earnest.

    God Bless Ken Ham, Answers in Genesis, and may those who bless you be blessed and those who curse you be cursed. Amen.

  • Roy

    Eric, what disturbs me is when persons either knowingly or unknowingly misrepresent what the First Amendment means. You are correct when you state that the Establishment was intended to restrict the FEDERAL government from establishing a national church. What you conveniently left out is that the 14 Amendment applies the Bill of Rights to the states. This is a long established principle which you ignore.

    I fail to see how maintaining a traditional interpretation of church and state is somehow a stifling of religious speech or expression? I have heard no one suggest that the backers of the Ark Park do not have the right to express their views, the right to build their park, etc. What has been suggested is that the backers of this proposal do not have the right to expect state support in the form of tax revenue to do so. No one is stifling anything. I weary of Christians pleading persecution.

  • JDE

    @Danny Wills: “The word ‘dinosaur’ is not found in the Bible because the word is relatively new. It was invented in the 1800s while the first English translation of the Bible was written in 1611. What we do find in the Bible is a word that is quite similar to a dinosaur, the word ‘dragon’.”

    The Hebrew word “tanin”, which the KJV translates as “dragon”, actually means “snake” or “crocodile”, which is why the Bible uses the term to refer to creatures inhabiting rivers or lurking among rushes. If you want to know what the Old Testament says, ask a Jewish scholar, not your evangelical apologists, and certainly not AiG.

    The majority of comments here demonstrate the utter intellectual impoverishment of America and the decimation of our educational system under thirty years of largely conservative hegemony. The Republicans have made us the laughing stock of the developed world, and we deserve to be. America is unsalvageable.

  • dmm4481

    Christ preaced to the Jews a stumbling block and to the greeks foolishness. Why would anyone who doesn’t read or truely study Scripture believe it? You have a Pastor of a church proclaiming beliefs that aren’t even written in the bible. Evolution and Genesis are in clear opposition with each other. The belief that a Christian can believe in evolution is ridiculous. Genesis is the foundation for why Christ had to die for all humanity, it is the beginning and to say that a Christian believes in evolution is still a Christian is wrong. “Many will come and say Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy in your name, did we not heal and cast out demons in your name. Depart from me says the Lord for I DO NOT KNOW YOU…… don’t group us together- I AM NOT LIKE YOU DECIEVERS…… have a good day.

  • Truther

    You shall know them by their fruits. Whose side are you on Mr Phelps -it’s not Team Jesus that’s for sure. Another evolutionist and no doubt a freemason no doubt. God is recording your actions be sure of that.

  • JDE

    “Many will come and say Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy in your name, did we not heal and cast out demons in your name.”

    This is a description of every “Real Christian” preacher I’ve ever seen. Fundamentalists have absolutely NO sense of irony.

    PBS used to be one of the last havens for people who were capable of rational thought. Unfortunately, the R&E editors have allowed these boards to be overrun by lunatics and imbeciles. The majority of comments here are posted by people who wouldn’t recognize reality if it walked up to them and introduced itself.

    You people have your own blogs and websites. Are the commenting systems down at Fox News and WorldNet Daily? Stay there and blather to hearts’ content. You are neither needed nor wanted here.

  • Morris Mirabella

    There is a montage on You Tube of 50 famous scientists explaining why God does not exist. It is called “50 Famous Academics & Scientists Talk About God!” Many of them are Nobel Laureates. And yet what I’ve noticed is that many of them are growing older and the rest will soon follow and not one of them is intelligent enough to stop themselves from aging and dying and once dead to have the power to rise from the dead. You know why? Because their bodies are so incredibly complex that they can’t figure it all out, but yet they believe that evolution with no intelligence did. Why would anyone want to believe them over Jesus Christ who not only had the intelligence but the power to conquer death. To me it’s a no-brainer!!!

  • G.M. Grena

    Thank you, to the PBS producers of this balanced video. The men who were interviewed were allowed to articulate their positions, and it is clear that Ken Ham and Wade Gutman are correct on both major points.

    1) Counter to the initial Phelps remark, the Ark Encounter project does not violate the Constitution in any way. Giving a rebate based on revenue (taxes) generated is no more of a church/state violation than when the IRS allows tax deductions when people give donations to qualifying religious organizations (though I personally believe the IRS, income tax, and such deductions should be eliminated and replaced with a flat national sales tax).

    2) In response to the other Phelps statement that Noah didn’t rely on government funding, Noah wasn’t building that ark as a tourist attraction. The 2-fold purpose of the AE project is to stimulate the economy now, and promote the Bible now.

  • Corey Cloninger

    And this has what to do with the article above?

  • Susan Smith

    And Jay Leno knows what about the Bible? Christians are being closed into a big fat blog box. Just because people don’t believe in a big GOD, doesn’t mean we should be silenced. What about all of our Government money going to all the public schools that make our children believe lies and take away the ten Commandments. It takes a lot more faith to believe that we came from pond scum, that man evolved from a monkey. And why do we not see that happening now? I don’t see half monkey half man or half lizard and half men walking around. Where is the proof. Lucy is a lie, the horse evolution chart is a lie and they still promote it as truth. Isn’t science proof instead of inference. There is no proof for either faiths. The evolutionist just want us to be silenced. They just call us names instead of proving their so called science. Micro evolution is not Macro. We all adjust to our surroundings but we don’t change species. Get a grip! And those so called preachers that believe the evolution lie are not believers that our God is big enough to create us. Such little faith.

  • David Bump

    JDE, I hope that in the 3 years since you wrote that, you’ve learned that the KJV was NOT the first English translation of the Bible. Good point about Dinosaur not having been invented yet. The creatures named Behemoth and Leviathan, while commonly attributed to common animals like hippos, elephants, or crocodiles, certainly fit how people of the time might perceive a remnant dinosaur or similar creature that supposedly died out millions of years earlier.
    If America is “unsalvageable”, it’s because it started turning its back on God around 1960 (when belief in the Bible AND high education levels were more common) and now thanks to churches abandoning the clear teaching of the Bible, the Constitution is about to be broken by “civil liberties” for perverts trumping Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, and Separation of Church and State.