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Quote of the Day: Did Ken Ham and Ark Encounter Lie About Projected Attendance Numbers to Get Millions in Tax Breaks?

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By William Trollinger, Righting America, Dear Williamstown: Sorry for Misleading You About Ark Encounter – My Bad! 

It has been exactly ten years since Williamstown, Kentucky, underwrote $62.5m worth of bonds that made possible the building of Ark Encounter. This anniversary seems the perfect opportunity for Ken Ham to (finally) apologize for the fact that his big unseaworthy boat has not come close to producing the attendance numbers and economic impact that Answers in Genesis (AiG) promised in seeking support from this little town.


Of course, Ken is a busy guy, fighting the atheists and secularists who, as he said on Facebook this past weekend, “are becoming increasingly intolerant of Christianity—in fact, trying to outlaw the Christian worldview in many places.”


Because he is so busy warring against the forces of evil, I wrote the following letter on his behalf. And Ken, there’s no need to thank me. Just sign your name and send it along to the Williamstown powers-that-be and enjoy the good feelings that come with a sincere (albeit ghost-written) confession!

Dear Williamstown City Council: 

Greetings from the gigantic fundamentalist tourist attraction on the other side of I-75! It has been a decade since you so generously underwrote the $62.5 [million] worth of junk bonds that made it possible to build Ark Encounter . . . and you not only underwrote the bonds, but you also agreed that 75% of what Ark Encounter would have paid in property taxes would instead go to paying off the loan. Yes, I know that I go on and on and on about how government is hostile to Christianity in America, but wow, this was a fabulous subsidy. Thank you, Williamstown!!

Of course, I know very well that you said yes to providing us with this wonderful windfall in good part because of what we said in the Ark Encounter feasibility report that we provided you. As I know you will recall, we told you that our attendance numbers would an “estimated average of 1.6 million visitors” in the first year. More than this, we told you that these attendance numbers would simply keep going up. And for July 2022- June 2023, our “scientific” formula projected an attendance of 2,177,737.

Oops!! We have never even made it to one million paid visitors in a year. Here’s a breakdown from this past year (and yes, that busybody Dan Phelps makes it his business to collect and publicize these numbers, instead of allowing us to come up with our own numbers, which I can tell you would look much better!): 

  • July 2022: 110,098
  • August 2022: 83,638
  • September 2022: 68,301
  • October 2022: 74,864
  • November 2022: 39,125
  • December 2022: 37,959
  • January 2023: 14,724
  • February 2023: 23,020
  • March 2023: 66,390
  • April 2023: 70,700
  • May 2023: 82,585
  • June 2023: 111,256
  • TOTAL: 782,660

Yes, yes, yes – I know. This total is only 36% of attendance we told you we would have this year. 

So that’s why I am writing. I am so sorry that we “misled” you so badly. Sure, some of this is on you. You should have conducted a closer analysis of the information we gave you. But I don’t want to play the game of blaming the victim (that is, you!) Instead, I want to own the fact that what we told you in our feasibility report was, well, false. Sorry about that!

Speaking of blaming the victim, I am also sorry for saying that the reason Williamstown has not enjoyed an economic boom is that Williamstown is on the wrong side of the interstate. Of course, your town was on the wrong side of the interstate when we were selling you on underwriting the bonds, which was NOT a point we brought up during our sales pitch. Oh well, that’s capitalism . . . but again, sorry about that!

All this said, I hope you keep in mind that we at AiG are soldiers in the Christian army saving America from the radical Marxists (not exactly sure what this means, but we know that these folks are bad!), from the hordes of LGBTQ militants storming the cultural gates, from the Critical Race Theorists (not exactly sure what this means either, but we know that these folks are bad too!), and from the vaccine-crazy climate cultists. 

That is to say, members of the Williamstown City Council, we are on your side (unless, of course, you belong to any of the aforementioned groups or are liberal)! So we are confident that you will forgive us for misleading you. And in turn, we will pray for you and your local economy.

Your brother in Christ –

Ken Ham

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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    MJ Lisbeth

    Reading this letter reminds me of the (albeit rare) conversations I have with Fundamentalists and MAGAts. (Of course, these two groups overlap in large parts of the Venn diagram.) When they fulminate against atheists, Marxists, Critical Race (or Gender) Theorists, LGBTQ people and such, I ask them whether they know what those terms mean and any people who fit them. Of course, they can’t answer the question–even when they’re looking at someone (me, of course) who fits, to some degree or another, all of them.

  2. Avatar

    I hate to say that some of my relatives and folks I grew up with in Tennessee have taken great pride in attending this travesty of ignorance in Kentucky. I have toyed with the idea of visiting it so I can make fun, but I don’t want to give them money or add to their attendance numbers. If I do decide to go, I will wear a Pride shirt.

  3. Avatar
    Jim Martel

    Ken Ham and the illustrious ‘Kent Hovind – both literal 6-day creationist are well – IDIOTS! To think – The earth is less than 6,000 years old. Noah put Dino on the ark? God is going to destroy the entire universe 7’000 years after it was created! These people are full-blown deceitful idiots.

  4. Avatar
    John S.

    I’ve always wondered how the Williamstown City council would react if instead of a large boat that cannot actually go to sea, a large Sikh style community kitchen that serves a large free meal everyday to anyone who comes in- with a fleet of vans to bring folks from far and wide to get at least one decent meal everyday- with local religious and community groups helping out and available to offer other services to the homeless that are brought in. Closer to I-75. Probably would have cost a lot less. Folks could leave donations as they felt led to do so. Would they underwrite this? Oh wait, no profit in this. No in your face evangelical Christianity in this. This would be a little too much like “Socialist Jesus”. I withdraw my comment and yield the rest of my time.

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Bruce Gerencser