If Ken Ham, the ‘brain’ behind Kentucky’s Ark Encounter, imagined that a visit his silly creationist theme park yesterday by former US President Jimmy Carter would gain him positive PR points, he was in for a shock.
For Carter told reporters that he doesn’t buy the idea that the earth is six thousand years old, and that his visit to the the Ark Encounter in Williamstown should not be seen as an endorsement of Ham’s views, as he personally believes in evolution. He insisted:
The earth is four billion years old … And as a scientist, I believe in evolution.
But all things are possible through the divine power of God. And whenever there is a conflict, I turn to the words of Jesus Christ. If God created it four billion years ago or six thousand years ago, it doesn’t matter to me.
According to Christian News Network, Carter was visiting the newly-opened site to support LeRoy Troyer, a friend whose construction company served as main architect for the dotty project. The Christian theme park’s main feature is a full-scale replica of the mythical ark that God instructed Noah to build to escape a coming deluge, as outlined in the book of Genesis.
Ark Encounter says:
As the largest timber-frame structure in the US, the 510-foot-long full-size Ark is designed to be family-oriented, historically authentic, and environmentally friendly.
Ham also wants the attraction to provide visitors with a message of salvation:
A major reason for rebuilding the ark today is to proclaim the message of salvation – that just as Noah and his family had to go through the doorway to be saved, we also need to go through a doorway. The Lord Jesus is our door –the only way to be saved.
Ham told reporters on Friday that he welcomed Carter’s visit. Through gritted teeth, one imagines, he said:
We welcome the visit of such a statesman and we don’t take it as an endorsement. This really shows how people of different views can still come and see and enjoy the ark.
Carter, 91, teaches Sunday School at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia. However, in addition to being an evolutionist, in an interview with the Huffington Post last July, Carter asserted that Jesus would approve of same-sex marriage, and:
Really any love affair. I believe Jesus would approve gay marriage, but that’s just my own personal belief. I think Jesus would encourage any love affair if it was honest and sincere and was not damaging to anyone else, and I don’t see that gay marriage damages anyone else.
According to this report, it was one of two reconstructions that an unhinged Dutch carpenter named Johan Huibers painstakingly built over seven years. More than a million people have visited the replicas to see domesticated animals like llamas, ponies and rabbits, and to hear, as Huibers intended, a message of God’s love.
The smaller of the arks was being towed when the crew lost control. This led to the collision.
Jokes soon began circulating on social media. Tom Egeland, a crime novelist who lives in Oslo, wrote on Twitter, using one estimate of the number of species on the planet:
It is unclear what happened to the 8.7 million x 2 animals on board.
Jon Are Rakvag, a software security architect for the Norwegian Police Service, wrote in a Twitter post:
The 900-year-old captain has been detained.
He was alluding, a bit imprecisely, to the account in Genesis that Noah lived 350 years after the flood and died at 950.
But the accident was no laughing matter for Huibers or for Aad Peters, a Dutch puppeteer, television producer and philanthropist who bought the smaller ark in 2010.
Peters has taken it for visits to towns across the Netherlands, and was preparing to do the same in Norway when the collision occurred.
Huibers, 58, said by telephone from Amsterdam:
I’m shaking now. It’s a terrible situation. It’s an awful dream, to have an accident with the ark of Noah.
He said he had spoken to Peters, who was too distraught to comment publicly.
I have to help him out. I have to go to Norway with wood, nails and a hammer to repair it.
Huibers’ bigger ark has five decks and can accommodate 5,000 people at a time; it moved to Rotterdam earlier this year from its previous mooring in the Dutch port of Dordrecht. Both arks are built on steel barges, and neither has an engine; they must be towed wherever they go.
An American charity, the Ark of Noah Foundation, based in Pasadena, California, was established to take charge of the larger ark, which it hopes to take to Rio de Janeiro in time for the Paralympic Games in September.
Said Herald A M A Janssen, the foundation’s director and a friend of Huibers.
It brings hope and joy. It’s not only meant to bring the Gospel. We will also bring hope to the favelas, to people living in poverty, people from the streets, parents, drug addicts, prostitutes.
Hat tip: Angela_K (ark fender-bender report)