Fundamentalist’s $100m ark makes waves

The West Australian/May 22, 2016

By Steve Pennells

Ken Ham walks slowly through the wooden belly of his $100 million obsession.

“You sort of have to pinch yourself and say this has actually been built,” he says.

The construction site is a mash-up of scripture and business savvy, God’s law and Kentucky law. The wood is measured in cubits. The workers are in fluoro vests.

And the man in the belly of this gigantic boat, former Queensland schoolteacher Ken Ham, is watching his “mission from God” take shape.

In just over six weeks, his “lifesize” replica of Noah’s Ark will open its doors to the public. The project, built on a landlocked Kentucky field in the heart of America’s Bible belt, has cemented Mr Ham as one of the most powerful and polarising conservative Christian voices.

The former Queenslander has built a multimillion-dollar religious empire, called Answers in Genesis, based around one central belief: the literal interpretation of Genesis.

In an interview to air on Channel 7’s Sunday Night tonight, Mr Ham says he believes the Earth is only 6000 years old and Noah took dinosaurs on the Ark.

“I grew up in a home where we were taught that Genesis is history,” he says.

His beliefs have put him on a collision course with scientists, who say he is dangerous.

Everyone employed by Mr Ham’s organisation can work for him only if they agree to sign a statement of beliefs, that the Earth is only 6000 years old and homosexuality is a sin.

One of Mr Ham’s biggest critics, scientist and TV presenter Bill Nye, said Mr Ham’s organisation and beliefs were “deeply troubling”.

“It makes your skin crawl that he’s able to use these enormous resources, which could have been used for who knows what public good, to influence children in clearly this ludicrous and wrong world view that has to be undone by some of us sooner or later,” he said.

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