Ark Encounter opening draws passion from both sides of Biblical - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Ark Encounter opening draws passion from both sides of Biblical argument

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The public opening of the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Ky., is being met with both praise and protest.

Outside the park Thursday, several dozen members of the Tri-State Free Thinkers gathered, holding signs mocking the Ark project.

They say state and local tax incentives for the park violate separation of church and state. And they claim the park's promotion of the biblical story of Noah and the flood is anti-science.

"They're telling people the earth is 6,000 years old, (that) evolution is not true," one protester said. "This is a dangerous concept."

Ed Hensley brought his family from Louisville to join the protest.

"I'm pleased with the turnout," he said. "I'm pleased that we're getting out the message, that a story about genocide is not worth celebrating and not worth building an amusement park for."

The protesters did draw counter-protesters, a group from Florida, claiming the Ark's opponents are spreading lies.

"They're claiming things about Christians when evolution is really the world view that has the big problem," one member of the group said.

And the Ark's fans are far outnumbering its foes. There's a steady stream of visitors, drawn by the Arks size.

It's story the Rothman family of Colorado is calling a godsend.

"We're Christians, wanted to see what this was all about," Joel Rothman said. "We love the Bible and are excited about what Noah really did."

"We do like the concept that the scripture says about the earth being younger, 6,000 years versus evolutionary thoughts," Joyce Rothman said.

At 500-feet long and eight stories high, the giant Ark is stirring giant passions on both sides.

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