Although the vast majority of creationist politicians are Republicans, here’s a monumental facepalm of a story from Kentucky, where Democratic Governor Steve Beshear is proposing to hand over millions of state dollars and tax breaks to a dishonest fundamentalist Christian group run by fanatics, to build a ludicrous creationist “theme park” promoting the nonsensical fantasy that Noah’s Ark existed in the real world.
I can hardly believe this story is true; it seems like some sort of weird joke. But it’s not: Kentucky: The Governor of the Commonwealth - Press Release.
FRANKFORT, Ky.— Governor Steve Beshear today joined the Ark Encounter LLC to announce the planned construction of a full-scale Noah’s Ark tourist attraction in northern Kentucky. Partnering with the Ark Encounter is Answers in Genesis, which is most widely known for its high-tech and popular Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky.
“We are excited to join with the Ark Encounter group as it seeks to provide this unique, family-friendly tourist attraction to the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Beshear. “Bringing new jobs to Kentucky is my top priority, and with the estimated 900 jobs this project will create, I am happy about the economic impact this project will have on the Northern Kentucky region.”
The Ark Encounter is scheduled to open in spring 2014 in northern Kentucky. Multiple sites are being considered, although property in Grant County off I-75 is at the top of the list. A feasibility study conducted by the renowned America’s Research Group has indicated that the Ark Encounter may attract 1.6 million visitors in the first year and is expected to employ up to 900 full- and part-time staff.
The for-profit Ark Encounter project will be privately funded at an estimated cost of $150 million. The final site selection for the Ark Encounter is subject to the ability to acquire all of the land needed for the project, and the approval of certain state and local incentives and other assistance for the project.
“We are very pleased to be a part of this new project,” said Ken Ham, president and founder of AiG and the Creation Museum. “AiG has been blessed to see the Creation Museum host over one million guests in three years. Based on our experience and success operating the large, state-of-the-art Creation Museum, our board believes the time is right to partner with the Ark Encounter in building a full-scale Noah’s Ark. We hope that this fun and educational complex called the Ark Encounter will become another popular tourist destination for the state.”
In addition to the full-size Ark, the complex will include a Walled City much like was found in ancient times, live animal shows, a children’s interactive play area, a replica of the Tower of Babel with exhibits, a 500-seat 5-D special effects theater, an aviary, and a first-century Middle Eastern village. To showcase the “green” construction methods and materials that will be used, the complex will also include a Special Events Area for large gatherings, highlighting some of the Leader in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building techniques used to construct the Ark Encounter.
Here’s the very professional website these fanatics have set up, using the tools of modern science to promote Dark Ages throwback fantasies: Ark Encounter: Help Build the Ark!
Steve Beshear differs from Republican creationists in that he doesn’t appear to personally believe these fantasies are real; in a 2007 debate, he stated that “intelligent design” creationism had no place in science classrooms:
The candidates had opposite views about teaching intelligent design in schools.
“I think there’s nothing wrong with teaching that, in fact, i think to teach that is part of our founding heritage and i think it’s very important,” says Fletcher.
“I believe that science ought to be taught in schools and religion ought to be taught at home and in the churches and in the synagogues,” says Beshear.
So his reason for supporting this project that will make Kentucky even more of a laughingstock for the world seems to be purely economical. He believes there are enough idiots who will spend enough money to visit this park that it will offset the lost revenue from Kentucky’s former cash cow, tobacco — as this jaw-dropping video of his press conference shows:
Beshear’s vision for Kentucky’s economic revival seems to be to transition away from an evil product that destroys the physical health of Americans, to an evil product that destroys the minds of American children.
And speaking of Answers in Genesis, I’ve had a previous encounter with these people, when one of their staff members harassed me with dozens of hate mails ranting about creationism, and predicting I was going to burn in hell.