Inside the Ark Encounter
Ark’s tax break legal
Putting aside the ad hominem attack on our CEO Ken Ham (calling him a P.T. Barnum) and a put-down of one of our several PhD scientists (Georgia Purdom) by Herald-Leader writer Linda Blackford, we need to point out the legality of the Ark Encounter receiving a state tax incentive offered all qualifying tourist attractions in Kentucky. Blackford’s opinion is that the incentive we earned was an unconstitutional church/state violation.
In 2016, however, the Ark won a lawsuit in federal court against the previous governor for his attempt to block the Ark from participating in the tax incentive. The state’s actions were deemed unconstitutional by the judge, and we were allowed to recover some of the project’s costs through a rebate of sales tax paid by Ark guests. It’s a reward for building in the state and contributing to the state’s treasury — and lowering the tax burden for citizens. The rebate didn’t help build the Ark; it began after the Ark opened.
Contrary to Blackford’s contention, Grant County’s economy is booming because of the Ark. All she had to do was pick up the phone and call the county’s chamber of commerce rather than cite a disgruntled source from the past.
Mark Looy, CCO, Ark Encounter and Answers in Genesis, Petersburg
Follow the money
By my lights, it is it all about money. Why else do entrepreneurs try to invoke their own form of morality to begin charter schools when the record of such schools is mixed. They want to use public money to develop their own brand of schooling.
Then there’s the Kentucky Ark Encounter. Most of my early academic life and research dealt with attempts to pass anti-evolution legislation in Kentucky in the early 1920s. In the late 1970s and early 1980s at Eastern Kentucky University, I surveyed science teachers in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana about they how dealt with the subject of evolution. The question is complicated. However, the majority of these teachers dealt with evolution openly, allowing students to express dissenting opinions.
The 6,000 year-old Earth dream of fundamentalism will never go away. No amount of research, education, and public debate will convince the hard-minded. The fact that the Ark received some state and local economic incentives is ridiculous, but so are other incomprehensible policies .
I hate to belabor the point but the idea that dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time is ludicrous.
William E. Ellis, Lexington
Evolution a ‘theory’
I visited the Ark Encounter recently.
I wonder why the Herald-Leader did not present an opposing view in a recent opinion piece. Writer Linda Blackford assumes science and religion are mutually exclusive — of course, they are not.
Blackford assumes the “theory of evolution”, as it is widely known, is a fact and not theory. She fails to recognize that a significant percentage of scientists and clergy, many of whom hold doctorate degrees, support the biblical account. Perhaps she simply cannot see the truth, standing right before her eyes. Sad indeed.
Mike Puckett, Atlanta
‘Go back’ cuts deep
I remember in my childhood hearing fellow students taunting “go back to Korea”, seeing their fingers stretching their temples, mocking my slanted eyes. My mother is from South Korea, my father is a white Kentucky native. I was born in Florida and grew up in Kentucky. “Go back”; those words don’t even make sense. I was born here.
Humans long to belong. Making someone feel unwelcome is one of the surest ways to wound. Those words are the kind that get under your skin and make you question whether you belong.
While the words were hurtful, I felt that the people who said these things were ignorant and a small minority. I brushed it off, thinking, “Kids make stupid mistakes”. But it’s not just the kids anymore. The most powerful man in the land is actively breeding hate and racism in our country. What is bothering me the most is the deafening silence on the topic, the lack of outrage, the tacit agreement.
To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.
Hannah Morrison, Louisville
President Donald Trump has attempted to back away from his racist comments about four Democratic congresswomen by claiming they deserve vilification because they often criticize America and consequently must hate it. But Trump constantly criticized multiple aspects of American life during his 2016 campaign, referred in his inaugural address to “American carnage,” and has on more than one occasion described America as a “laughingstock.”
Trump obviously believes that it is fine for a white man like himself to be vocally critical of the country, yet condemns these women of color for doing the same. He grants himself the right of free speech, but denies it to women who are American citizens and have been democratically elected, in most cases by margins substantially larger than his own.
Trump is either totally clueless on how a democracy functions or more than willing to subvert it with his bombast and sophistry.
Donald Mullineaux, Lexington
All together now
I love my country: truth, justice and the American way. So I stand shoulder-to-shoulder and arm-in-arm with all my sisters and brothers against the hateful and divisive words coming out of this White House. We shall not be moved. Stand with us.
Jim Ryder, Lexington