The Ark Encounter biblical theme park, which will feature a full-size replica of Noah's Ark complete with dinosaurs, is scheduled to open outside of Williamstown, Kentucky in 2014. The 800-acre park will also boast a Tower of Babel, a petting zoo, and other exciting, biblically-themed attractions. But the Creationist destination site is creating some controversy, apart from it's being a Creationist theme park.
The city of Williamstown has agreed to give a seventy-five percent property-tax break to the Christian fundamentalist group building the park. That group is the subtly-named Answers in Genesis, who also run the nearby Creation Museum in Petersburg, which drew 1.2 million people in its first three years, proving that Ned Flanders' extended family is even larger than we thought.
In addition to the hefty property-tax kickback, the state also previously approved forty-three-million dollars in tax incentives for the project back in May. Governor Steven Beshear, who said in December that "The people of Kentucky didn't elect me governor to debate religion, they elected me governor to create jobs," is all for the project. That's because a feasibility study proffered by Ark Encounters LLC, which it turns out the Governor never even saw, predicted that upwards of 900 jobs would be created, and 1.6 million tourists lured in, during the park's first year in operation.
Of course, opponents of the big-boat project aren't hard to find. Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, who have threatened to sue, said "The state of Kentucky should not be promoting the spread of fundamentalist Christianity or any other religious viewpoint." Beshear previously said the law doesn't allow the state to discriminate against a for-profit business because of subject matter. One thing's for sure, it would make a doozy of a show if Bill Maher decided to shoot there.