A religious Williamstown, Kentucky, theme park created a stir this week in the gay and transgender community by announcing it will be illuminated in a rainbow light every night.
While the colorful new lighting of the Ark Encounter, a large-scale Noah’s Ark replica filled with exhibits, spurred numerous responses from Ark supporters, some in the LGBTQ community made fun of the move.
Ken Ham, president, CEO and founder of the Ark Encounter, announced the new color scheme in a series of tweets on Tuesday, saying that the decision was made to “remind the world that God owns the rainbow.”
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Ham’s call to “take back” the rainbow dates to at least 2007. He wrote a post on his website, Answers in Genesis, that said the rainbow should be a reminder that God judges sin, but said he would never judge the world with a flood again.
“The rainbow has been used as a sign of a new era and a symbol of peace, love, and freedom,” Ham wrote in the 2007 post. “Sadly, the colors of the rainbow are even used on a flag for the gay and lesbian movement.”
While Ham said Christians want to re-appropriate the rainbow, Twitter responses indicated the LGBTQ community and their supporters are enjoying the Ark’s new lighting.
One person responded to the announcement on Twitter, saying “I didn’t realize Noah was so progressive,” while another called it an “awesome pride float.”
John Gidding, a celebrity architect, responded with a thread of tweets, including one that read, “Will you have a gay animal couple in there?! Penguins are overplayed — I say make the dinosaurs you have in there gay! JurasSICK!”
Other Twitter users appeared to align with Ham, saying it “was about time” and thanking him for returning the symbol to “God’s glory.”
This isn’t the first time in recent months that the Ark Encounter has made headlines. In late June, the attraction sold its main area of land, worth $48 million, to a non-profit affiliate for $10. Williamstown officials said they think this could have been the first step to becoming a non-profit, which would allow the theme park to avoid city, state and federal taxes.
On Wednesday, the Williamstown City Council was reportedly told by the city attorney that the Ark Encounter had offered to pay a newly proposed safety tax as long as it was capped at $500,000 a year.
The Ark Encounter is a 510-foot-long, 85-foot-wide structure meant to express the belief that the earth is 12,000 years old or younger and that dinosaurs and people lived at the same time.