FFRF condemns “Ark Park” taking taxpayer money, again

1The-ArkEncounter

The infamous Ark Encounter in Kentucky, the $100 million boondoggle meant to prove that the bible is literally true, has taken in more than $1 million in taxpayer dollars earmarked to stimulate the COVID-impacted economy. Worse, even after receiving these taxpayer funds, the ark park has badgered the faithful to donate to the park to help it survive the pandemic.

Ken Ham, the chief proselytizer who heads the biblical theme park and its associated businesses, fundraised for donations to “help sustain the core AIG ministry during the coronavirus situation.” He even sent an email fundraiser claiming that the donations would “cover costs such as recalling furloughed staff,” raising over $1.1 million in this way. (The Paycheck Protection Program, the governmental scheme under which Ham received his money, restricts use of the forgivable loan explicitly to ensure employees would not be laid off, and for expenses such as utilities.)

“Even for Ken Ham, that is stunning hypocrisy,” says Freedom From Religion Foundation Co-President Dan Barker, a former evangelical pastor.

Public money has always floated Ham’s boat. In an open letter released shortly before the inauguration of the Ark Encounter, Ham plainly stated the motivation behind opening the park:

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 . . . millions of souls will hear the most important message of all . . . a message of hope from the holy, righteous Judge who, despite our sin, wants us to spend eternity with Him!

Ham has repeatedly reinforced this statement. In a 2018 blog, Ham wrote:

The whole purpose of building these attractions was evangelistic . . . if we just presented evidence for creation and the flood, there was no point in constructing these venues. … I would see no point in having an apologetics ministry like Answers in Genesis if we weren’t proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. . . . AiG is an evangelistic, biblical-authority ministry.

FFRF has famously filmed a commercial, which exposed the state/church problems, at the beached monstrosity. Without government subsidies, Ham’s venture would long ago have shipwrecked. Public money — “We the People” — should not be taxed to pay for Ham to spoonfeed absurd creationist myths to children.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

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