Tri-State Freethinkers Billboard Campaign -Photo: Tri-State Freethinkers

Tri-State Freethinkers Billboard Campaign -Photo: Tri-State Freethinkers

Billboard companies reject “inappropriate” anti-Noah’s Ark Atheist campaign.

Ark Encounter, a water-theme park centered on a life-sized replica of Noah's ark, is set to open on July 7, 2016, in Williamstown, Kentucky. Set against three eight-story buildings, the Ark is 51-feet tall, 85-feet wide, and 510-feet long. The massive wooden vessel is constructed based on the dimensions presented in the Bible. It would also serve as a museum of sorts, housing around 132 state-of-the-art Bible-themed exhibits.

The Ark Encounter theme park is a project of Answers in Genesis, a non-profit, fundamentalist, Christian Apologetics ministry. It also owns the Creation Museum.

According to Ken Ham, the president of Answers in Geinesis, a lot of people were awestruck after seeing the Ark personally. Almost all of them exclaimed that they never knew the vessel was so big. Ham says that just standing outside and looking at the Ark in itself is an exhibit, an experience.

However, not everyone is thrilled about the project.

The Tri-State Freethinkers, an activist group supporting the ideals of freethought and community service, who are loyal advocates of the separation of church and state, have been protesting against the Ark Encounter theme park since its inception. The Tri-State Freethinkers say it is not an appropriate family park.

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There are a number of reasons as to why the Freethinkers are rallying against the theme park. According to Jim Helton, president of Tri-State Freethinkers, the Ark Encounter theme park recently got an approval to claim $18 million in state sales tax credits. This is a clear violation of the Constitution’s requirement for separation of church and state. Freethinkers believe that the story of Noah’s Ark is inappropriate for children, since it deals with God killing everyone except Noah and his family, and then Him repopulating the earth via Noah's family, borders on incest. Freethinkers also believe that the Ark story is not historical in nature and that the whole event is impossible from a scientific perspective. The Freethinkers are also protesting the park's policy of hiring only devout Christians.

As part of their protest against the Ark Encounter theme park, the Freethinkers raised around $11,000 to mount a billboard campaign against the park. The billboard image is of people drowning around Noah's ark in the Great Flood with the words, “Genocide and Incest Park: Celebrating 2,000 years of myths.” The Freethinkers approached two billboard companies to put up their advertisement. Both the companies, a national billboard company and a mobile billboard company (Event Advertising and Promotions LLC) turned them down, citing the content of the advertisement to be inappropriate and inflammatory in nature.

According to Helton, who is still looking for a company to display the billboard, the group is hoping that the campaign would pick up national traction, especially in light of the park's policy of not hiring openly gay employees.

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