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Secularists are today targeting Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter

Secularists are today targeting Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter

Today, July 7, sees the official opening of creationist Ken Ham’s wacky Ark Encounter in Williamsburg, Kentucky – and a protest by a group called the Tri-State Freethinkers, which is raising funds for the billboard pictured above.

The group said on its website:

Join us to protest the grand opening of the Ark Encounter! Their mission is anti-science, the Noah’s Ark story is immoral, and they maintain discriminatory hiring practices while receiving up to $18 M in state tax incentives. We are making a stand for science, equal rights and the separation of church and state. Join us at the protest to show your support! 

Ark Encounter employees, according to Ham’s hiring guidelines, must oppose abortion, euthanasia, gay rights, and trans rights.

Among those who will be present at the opening are David Silverman, President of American Atheists and Dan Barker, Co-President of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, which is advising public schools in more than 1,000 school districts against visiting the religious theme park.

According to FFRF’s website:

The Ark Encounter is a Christian ministry run by the creationist Ken Ham, who also built the notorious Creation Museum. Ham has been clear about the proselytising nature of this park from the beginning. In a recent letter entitled, ‘Our Real Motive for Building Ark Encounter,’ he states it plainly: ‘Our motive is to do the King’s business until He comes. And that means preaching the gospel and defending the faith, so that we can reach as many souls as we can.’

FFRF is already receiving inquiries from concerned parents that overzealous teachers or principals may mistakenly believe it appropriate to schedule school outings to the Ark Encounter, as has happened with the Creation Museum.

In order to allay such concerns and to remind public schools of their constitutional obligations, it is sending a memo to every school district in Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, West Virginia and Ohio.

FFRF said:

Ham is free to erect monuments to the Bible, but public schools are not permitted to expose the children in their charge to religious myths and proselytising. So, public schools cannot organise trips for students to either the Creation Museum or the Ark Park. Doing so would violate the students’ rights of conscience and the US Constitution.

FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor said in the memo:

Public schools may not advance or promote religion. The obligation to remain neutral on religion includes not teaching creationism, intelligent design, or any of their creatively named religious offspring to public school students. Taking public school students to a site whose self-professed goal is to convert children to a particular religion and undermine what is taught in public school science and history classrooms would be inappropriate.

And that any such field trip might be deemed ‘voluntary’ (ie, students may opt out of the trip) is irrelevant.

Courts have summarily rejected arguments that voluntariness excuses a constitutional violation.

FFRF is also enclosing with the memo its “Top 10” brochure, which explains the most common state-church violations in public schools and why schools must avoid them. In the past two years, FFRF has addressed more than 1,300 violations in public schools and offers this constitutional guide with the hope to see fewer violations in coming years.

12 responses to “Secularists are today targeting Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter”

  1. Trevor Blake says:

    I offer to make a tax-funded faith exhibit for a mere ten thousand dollars. It can only be seen if you you have enough faith; doubters see nothing. A bargain!

  2. Smokey says:

    They’re finally opening Hamster’s Folly?! Great! Popcorn time!

    It’ll be a slow-motion sinking ship filled with broken dreams and animatronic horrors. The religious gnashing of teeth will surpass anything in the bible. The bitter tears of disappointment will flow like the loving and detailed descriptions of anal sex from the anti-gay Christians. The salty liquid will cover the land for miles around, deeper than the blatant dishonesty behind this project.

    Good thing they’ve got an Ark.

    But there will be much rejoicing in the atheist camp. Finally, finally, we’ll be able to say the magic words.

    “Yes, I was there.”

  3. Broga says:

    Depressing to think that in 2016, when a rocket is circling Jupiter (which the science that needs) that this Ark nonsense is believed by so many people.

  4. Stonyground says:

    Isn’t it just as likely that some will see it and realise how preposterous the whole Ark story is? For some it may be believable when they are imagining it, but once they see this mock up, it may bring the whole thing into perspective.

  5. Dave says:

    Why Ken Ham’s ridiculous ark project is entirely unbiblical

    It wasn’t commissioned by God.

    It isn’t made of gopher wood.

    It will never float on water, nor is that the intention.

    Noah’s Ark was built by one man over a period of several hundred years. Ken Ham’s ark was constructed by hundreds of people over a period of just a couple of years

    Noah’s Ark was designed by engineers, architects and many other professions. Nobody knows what Noah did for a living, but was still only one man.

    Nobody knows what the original ark looked like, either externally or internally. We are told in the fictional work ‘The Holy Bible’ that it was “… 300 cubits long (137.16 m, 450 ft), 50 wide (22.86 m, 75 ft), and 30 high (13.716 m, 45 ft); it will have a roof “finished to a cubit upward”; and an entrance on the side” but otherwise provides no information on how the boat should look.

    Ken Ham’s ark was completed by teams of people using modern tools and measuring instruments. The Bible makes no mention of what tools Noah used.

    Ham has had to obtain all sorts of legal permissions to build his ark. Noah just got on and did it (albeit it took several hundreds of years).

    Noah’s Ark was self-financed by Noah himself. Ham’s ark has been paid for by public donations, fund-raising schemes and dodgy bond issues.

    Noah received no tax rebates. Ken Ham hopes to receive as much as £18 million dollars’ worth of tax rebates.

    Noah’s Ark has been constructed of wood, and possibly some iron. There would have been no steel, no rubber, no plastics, no polymers of any kind, and no glass. There would have been no electrical cabling, no electronic lighting, nor even gas lighting.

    The original ark didn’t have a fire door.

    There will be no large carnivorous predators roaming around loose on board Ham’s ark. Not for one single minute, never mind for a whole year. Neither will a family of eight need to live a whole year with thousands of animals (including elephants, giraffes, rhinos, bears, wolves, lions, giant tortoises and – according to Ham at least – giant dinosaurs).

    Noah didn’t charge an admission fee for people to look around his ark (or if he did, the Bible makes no mention of it).

    Noah didn’t use radio, TV or the internet to promote his ark project, or to raise funds to build it.

    Noah built his ark in order to save lives. Ham is building his for profit (not prophecies).

    As the world’s holiest man, Ham is unlikely to be stumbled upon naked and drunk (and probably neither naked nor drunk) by members of his family.

    Nobody knows where Noah’s ark was launched, but it was unlikely to have been in Kentucky, USA. Wherever it was launched from, it ended up on a mountain somewhere in Turkey – nowhere near Kentucky.

  6. barriejohn says:

    It’s highly probable that the strange instructions “a window shalt thou make to the ark and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above” mean that it was supposed to have sides sloping to a narrow top. I remember reading arguments that stated that this would be a more stable shape than the traditional boat that illustrations always show, and there is supposed to be evidence of this from the Dead Sea Scrolls:

    http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/dead-seas-scrolls-reveal-noahs-ark-was-shaped-pyramid-006204

  7. barriejohn says:

    Broga: I keep thinking the same thing. Mankind has just sent a probe on a five-year, 2.8 billion km journey to orbit Jupiter, and people are still complaining that carrying dogs in their cars offends their beliefs, or that marriage between two people of the same gender is going to cause the destruction of civilization. And just when I think that all you need to do is bang their heads together to knock some common sense into them, along comes something like this:

    https://youtu.be/Od7G__W58kQ

    Back to the drawing board!

  8. Ate Berga says:

    Kids will be impressed. What a shame.

  9. CoastalMaineBird says:

    £18 million dollars

    How much is that in $ pounds ?

  10. Paul says:

    Coastal due to Recent vote it’s almost 1:1.
    Calculate at $1.3 to £1.
    So that’s £13,846,000.

    I wonder if Ham will live to be 900.
    And his wife (if he’s married) nearly as
    Long. And have kids.

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