Posts Tagged ‘separation of church and state’

Owners of Noah’s Ark Sue Over Rain Damage

June 10, 2019

Owners of Noah's Ark Sue Over Rain Damage

The owners of Noah’s Ark have sued their insurance company over rain damage. It didn’t happen on Mount Ararat, but in Kentucky, off Interstate 75, on State Route 36 in Williamstown.

Ark Encounter, a Bible-themed tourist attraction, was partially funded by state economic development dollars because, First Amendment be damned, Biblical Literalism is the state religion of Kentucky. It took 2 years of heavy rain, not forty days and forty nights, to damage a publicly-funded access road, and the park’s insurance provider says that’s not covered. As election time nears, we predict political, not divine, intervention.

Note to nonbelievers: Kentucky’s major tourism attractions are horses, bourbon, music, arts, the outdoors and food, not big Biblical boats with dinosaurs.


“Ark Encounter: State-Subsidized Religious Tourism in Kentucky,”


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Image (“Ark Encounter, after Edward Hicks”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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Ark Encounter: State-Subsidized Religious Tourism in Kentucky

August 8, 2016

Ark encounter: State-Subsidized Religoius Tourism in Kentucky

Noah’s Ark may have landed on Mount Ararat, but you can see it in Kentucky off Interstate 75, on State Route 36 in Williamstown. Answers In Genesis, the outfit behind the Creation(ism) Museum, has built a 510-foot-long biblical boat as a tourist attraction, Ark Encounter ($40 admission, $10 parking).  The wooden hull is stocked with pairs of animals said to be on the Ark, including dinosaurs (from the Book of Flintstones?). There’s also a zoo, but don’t expect any dinosaurs there.

Ark Encounter opened on July 7th and was built at a cost $102 million. Of that, $62 million was raised from Industrial Development Bonds issued by the City of Williamstown. The Kentucky state government granted Ark Encounter $18 million in tax incentives and is building a new $10 million highway interchange for the new Christian theme park.

The rationale for granting this public largesse for religious evangelism is that the big boat will stimulate the tourist economy and create jobs. Want to apply for those jobs? You’ll have to sign a statement of faith in Genesis and Jesus Christ, disavowing homosexuality, same-sex marriage and premarital sex. Somehow, Federal Judge Greg Van Tatenhove (alumnus of Christian Asbury University) has ruled that this is all constitutional and isn’t state sponsorship of religion. It seems Ark Encounter is a secular outfit when it gets public funding and tax breaks, but a religious organization when it hires employees. Glory be, it’s a miracle!


In Kentucky, They Really Believe in Marriage

September 3, 2015

In Kentucky, They Really Believe In Marriage

Rowan County Clerk Kimberly Jean Bailey Davis believes in marriage so much, she’s had four of them. She’s making news right now for denying same-sex couples the right to civil marriage, a violation of the U.S. Constitution she swore to uphold. Apparently God told Ms. Davis that it’s okay to violate her oath to Him as well as the 14th Amendment.

For Kim Davis, the Rowan County Clerk’s office must seem like the family business, since her Mom held it for 37 years. Like her daughter, she also swore not to “commit any malfeasance of office” and to “faithfully execute the duties of my office without favor, affection or partiality, so help me God.” The Deity will no doubt settle with Kim Davis later, but Federal District Court judge David L. Bunning will decide if she’ll be held in contempt of court.

As County Clerk, Ms. Davis is paid $80,000 a year to do her job; annual per capita income in Rowan County is $17,094. Unemployment is 6.3%, so there’s room for one more.