Wednesday, April 20, 2011

AiG Reports Clergy Opposition to the Ark Encounter

AiG has a news update reporting that there are some that are not all that happy that a life-size copy of Noah's ark is being built in Kentucky. The “clergy” in question, in this case, is Barry Lynn, head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the subject was a debate between Lynn and Ken Ham. They write:
Rev. Lynn’s main argument was that Kentucky was subsidizing religion if the state granted incentives to the Ark Encounter LLC. In the full debate, he went on to state (falsely) that if Kentucky grants the incentives, the state would not get the full money needed for education, fire stations, etc.
In order to counter this wrong impression that the Ark project will be a drain on Kentucky’s state revenues, I made it clear that the incentives are not a grant of state funds to help build the Ark Encounter. No funds will be taken from the state budget and away from its programs (e.g., social services, schools, etc.) to help construct or operate the Ark Encounter.
Somehow, when I think of clergy, Barry Lynn is not exactly the first person that comes to mind. He does not, that I am aware of, speak for any major denomination. The catch is that, as I understand it, legally, the Ark Encounter is on solid legal footing here and so, as Ham points out, debate can only focus on the content of the exhibit, which is, of course, based on the young earth creationism model.

Here is the debate, hosted by Anderson Cooper, of CNN:

Lynn is correct that this park does promote a specific religious viewpoint and that it is, at heart, a ministry. AiG is correct, though, that what really sticks in Lynn's craw is the message that the Ark Encounter brings to the table, that dinosaurs and humans lived on earth at the same time, which, as Lynn points out, is “only true in the Flintstones.”

Ham does get a bit slithery at times, though, by saying that the park will create 14,000 jobs as a “ripple effect” with 250,000,000 dollars in the first year. When he is confronted with these funny numbers, he remarks that the critics “can say whatever they want” but that they are based on “the state's own figures.” As we have seen, that is not entirely true. Further, he takes great pains in the beginning of the interview to distance himself and AiG from the Ark Project by stating that AiG is only one member of the project. Later, however, he states “we have a track record, as an organization, at the Creation Museum” suggesting considerably greater ties between the two projects. Lynn points this out, calling AiG a “primary partner.”

I think that Ham and the builders of the Ark Encounter are taking advantage of the letter of the law, as is certainly their right, but that they are also laughing all of the way to bank, knowing that, at heart, it really is a young earth creationism ministry and is every bit as religiously-based as it looks.

1 comment:

  1. There's a recent feedback article at Answers in Genesis, in which a reader called the Ark project a waste of money that would better be spent on missions through community service, etc. AiG's response is interesting, because they explicitly state that the expense is justified because the Ark project is primarily aimed at evangelism.