The Daily Mail, a tabloid which is the UK’s second biggest-selling daily newspaper, seems to delight in reporting bizarre news. The last time we visited there we wrote What Is the Mysterious Pyramid on Mars?
Today that esteemed news organ is reporting about something that’s been appearing in various US news sources because of a publicity promotion (Media at the Ark Encounter) by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia. He’s famed for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG) and for the mind-boggling Creation Museum.
The headline in the Daily Mail is Four stories tall, 510 feet long and made of wood: Christian ministry unveils ‘life-sized’ Noah’s Ark which is being built in Kentucky. The tabloid’s story has already attracted over 60 comments.
There’s nothing new being reported — except that the Brits may not have known about Hambo’s Ark project before. The article has a video and a zillion photographs, so you may find it interesting to take a look. We’ll give you a few excerpts, with bold font added by us:
It will be a modern-day, ‘life-sized’ replica of Noah’s Ark. But unlike the Biblical vessel, it will be filled with millions of tourists – not animals. These photos show the first few wooden ribs being lifted into place at Ark Encounter – a planned visitor attraction featuring an enormous ark that ‘will be the largest timber-frame structure in the world’. The 510-foot-long replica, situated in a field in Williamstown, Kentucky, is being constructed according to the dimensions used by Noah to save his family and animals in the Old Testament flooding story.
Thrilling, huh? We’ll try to skip the stuff you already know about. Ah, they say:
When completed next summer, it is expected to attract about two million tourists a year, the Christian ministry Answers In Genesis, which is behind the work on the religious attraction, told NBC News. ‘I believe it will be one of the biggest attractions outside of Disney, Universal, people like that — it’s going to be one of the biggest attractions in this country,’ said ministry president, Ken Ham.
The folks at Disney World must be trembling. All they offer is fun and fantasy, spread out over 43 square miles, including — according to Wikipedia — “27 themed resort hotels, 9 non–Disney hotels, four theme parks [one of which is the Magic Kingdom], two water parks, four golf courses, one nine-hole walking golf course for young golfers (no electric carts allowed), two themed miniature golf courses, one camping resort and other entertainment venues.” That’s nothing. Hambo is offering the Ark! Let’s read on:
The ministry anticipates employing up to 900 full and part-time staff at the attraction. It will pour nearly $90 million of private donations and bond funding into the attraction, the AP reported. So far, Ham said, about $70 million has been raised.
And every penny of it will be wisely spent! We continue:
However, the planning and creation of the ark so far has not all been plain sailing. Last year, the state withdrew its previous $18million offer of tax breaks for Ark Encounter, saying that ‘state tourism tax incentives cannot be used to fund religious indoctrination’ or ‘advance religion’.
Gasp — how ungodly! Here’s more:
In February, Answers In Genesis sued Kentucky tourism officials over the withdrawal, saying that it violated the ministry’s First Amendment rights. A hearing on the suit will take place next week.
There’s been a lot of preliminary maneuvering in that case, but nothing important enough to report about. Maybe next week will be different. We shall see. Moving along:
Ham said the ark attraction is meant to reach more people ‘with God’s word.’ He added: ‘But we’re not forcing people to come here, they come of their own free will. And when they come here and go through, we’re not going to be forcing them to believe our message. ‘They’re going to have a great experience regardless of whether they agree with us or not.’ The ark will be around a 45-mile drive south of downtown Cincinnati, Ohio.
Then the Daily Mail reminds us of this:
A Noah’s Ark replica already exists in Holland – at a fewer 443 feet long. The ark, constructed from the metal hulls of old barges by Dutch contractor Johan Huibers, cost around $1.6 million to create.
So that’s the news. Now the Brits are aware of ol’ Hambo’s brilliant and awe-inspiring project. They must really envy us.
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