Proposed anti-Ark Encounter billboard causes controversy
He has a portrait of Charles Darwin hanging above his fireplace, but Jim Helton says he doesn’t lead an atheist group.
Helton says, “We are a freethinking group. We use reason, logic without dogma.”
The Tri-State Freethinkers say Answers in Genesis, the group behind the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter (a life-sized Noah’s Ark), is perpetuating a myth with its newest attraction. So the Tri-State Freethinkers are taking aim at the park with two words, genocide and incest.
“So we looked at the moral of the story and said ‘God was unhappy with some people, everybody.’ Not just the wicked people, everybody: women, children, kids, bunny rabbits, puppies, no other word came to mind but genocide. That’s textbook genocide. And then he repopulated the earth through incest.”
Helton says the Tri-State Freethinkers have a moral obligation to point this out and want to do so with a controversial billboard on Interstate 75. In just three days they raised more than $10,000 from supporters
“They came from all over the world. We had over half dozen countries, multiple states, they came from everywhere.”
But two billboard companies, one which would have used a mobile billboard on a truck driving around the park, both backed out.
“I just find it hard to believe that Kentucky won’t take $10,000, like they don’t want it.”
Answers in Genesis President Ken Ham fired back with this statement,
“…the reason we had to go to federal court regarding the tax incentive, and won, was because secularists had put great pressure on the state to deny our 1st amendment right to the free exercise of religion. These freethinkers simply don’t want Christians to have the full freedom to present their beliefs in the culture.”
Besides the $18 million originally denied in federal court, but now approved under the Bevin administration, the Tri-State Freethinkers say the Ark Encounter shouldn’t be allowed to only hire Christians.
Helton says, “Totally unacceptable, a clear violation of church and state. If you are a non-profit you can discriminate if you are for profit you can’t.”
The Tri-State Freethinkers say if they can’t buy billboard space in Kentucky they’ll try Cincinnati. They’re also considering renting a plane and spreading their message above the park if they raise enough money.