THE man behind plans for a giant Noah's Ark theme park in the
United States, Mike Zovath, is in dispute with state officials,
after they threatened to withdraw tax incentives if he forced
employees to sign a faith statement professing belief in the
The theme park Ark Encounter (above), which is planned
to open in Kentucky in 2016, is not recruiting yet, but its parent
company already asks employees to sign a faith statement to say
that they believe in creationism and the flood.
State officials have threatened to withhold promised tax
incentives to the theme park if it used a similar statement in its
hiring process, and have asked for written assurances that it will
Mr Zovath, who is executive president of Ark Encounter, told
Reuters: "We're hoping the state takes a hard look at their
position, and changes their position so it doesn't go further than
Mr Zovath, who is also co- founder of the parent company Answers
in Genesis, said that if tax incentives for the project were
withdrawn because it did not give the written assurances that the
state now sought, it would violate the organisation's rights under
the First Amendment and the state constitution.
Ark Encounter had been given permission to collect a rebate from
a portion of the sales-tax revenues - an incentive thought to be
worth more than $18 million over ten years.
Plans for the theme park include a giant replica of the Ark, and
other biblical-themed attractions. The project is estimated to cost