Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Ark Encounter Sinking, Ham Blames "Spiritual Battle"

As has been reported here and elsewhere, the Ark-n-Park is in danger of not being built because of lack of funding. Recently, The city of Williamstown released some junk bonds to be bought that would provide funding for the amusement park.   Now it seems that the bonds are not selling. Morgan Lee of the Christian Post has an update on the problem:
In a recent fundraising letter, Answers in Genesis (AiG) President Ken Ham claimed that the organization's theme park's current financial woes were "an indication of the immense spiritual battle we are in."

To open the Kentucky attraction, which would include a full-scale, 510-foot-long model of Noah's Ark, AiG must sell $29 million in unrated municipal bonds by Feb. 6 to avoid triggering the redemption of the $26.5 million of bonds that have already been sold.
  As for the reason this might be, Ham suggests it isn't just the money:
Without specifically mentioning any names or reports, Ham also suggested AiG's bond selling process had been sabotaged by atheists and that inaccurate media coverage had in turn led to some of its financial obstacles.

"From atheists attempting to register for the bond offering and disrupting it, to secular bloggers and reporters writing very misleading and inaccurate articles about the bonds, to brokerage firms saying 'yes,' but after reading these incorrect reports saying 'no' in allowing the Ark bonds into their client accounts—the obstacles were numerous and disruptive," wrote Ham. "Frankly, it has been an extremely stressful and frustrating time for all of us."
Ham does not say who these people are.  Nor does he say what the misleading information that is being published is but it is possible he is referring to the Slate article.   The answer may be a bit more mundane than that.  As Mark Chappatta of Bloomberg wrote:
Industrial-development bonds are considered the riskiest municipal debt because they account for the largest proportion of defaults in the $3.7 trillion municipal market. Williamstown issued the bonds without a rating, making the prospect of repayment even less clear.
Mark Stern of Slate elaborates:
As Answers in Genesis readily admits, the bonds “are not expected to have any substantial secondary market” and are “not an obligation of AiG.” Somewhat alarmingly, the bonds are unrated, an indication that they’re extremely risky—and almost impossible to resell. High risk, higher yield: These, in essence, are creationist junk bonds.
Would you buy them? I wouldn't, even if I thought the cause was a worthy one (which I don't).  The funding issues may also be simply be that God is fed up with the Disney-ization of fundamental evangelical Christianity.  Maybe it isn't a war against principalities.  Maybe the park just shouldn't be built.  Maybe God looked at the "Ten Plagues of Egypt Fun Ride" and thought "enough is enough."   Maybe.  

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