"Let there be light," God once declared when he created the Earth. This week the man behind the fundamentalist Christian theme park Ark Encounter, Ken Ham, also made the same declaration when he lit up his Noah's Ark exhibit in rainbow colors saying “Christians need to take back the rainbow” because “God owns it.”
The rainbow’s significance is cross-cultural — incorporated in Hindu, Norse, Chinese and Greco-Roman theology. However, since queer activist Gilbert Baker sewed the first Pride Flag in 1978, the rainbow has become a wildly recognized symbol of the LGBT community.
In response to the Ark’s new display, the gay community on Twitter lit up with a combination of enthusiasm and bemusement. John Gidding of HDTV fame responded with the label “ABSOLUTE GAYEST BOAT” and suggested “cross branding with Scruff,” a gay hookup app.
More confrontation arose for Ark Encounter LLC recently when it transferred ownership of its $48 million land parcel to its affiliated non-profit, Crosswater Canyon. The property was sold for $10. Consequently, according to the Lexington Herald Leader, state tourism officials suspended an $18 million tax break. In response, ownership flip-flopped once again, back into the hands of the for-profit company.
The Ark Encounter is dedicated to “understand[ing] the reality of the events that are recorded in the book of Genesis,” according to the website. The park has had flood of success in its first year, attracting more than one million visitors since opening on July 7, 2016. Still, it seems clouded in drama.
On the one year anniversary of its opening. The Lexington Herald Leader quoted an activist arguing “This was built on hate, lies and our tax dollars” and protestors chanting “Keep your theocracy off our democracy.”