An atheist group that has raised funds to advertise against the Ark Encounter project received rejection from billboard companies that refused to print their ads.
Tri-State Freethinkers, which describes itself as an organization that promotes equal rights and the separation of church and state, launched a fundraising campaign in March in order to put up billboard ads against the Ark Encounter. The group claimed that the story about Noah's ark is "immoral and highly inappropriate as family entertainment" because it apparently talks about genocide and incest.
However, the two billboard companies the group approached did not push through with the ads. Lamar, the first one that originally accepted the project, backed out. The second advertising company, which ran mobile billboards, did not accept their offer.
Tri-State Freethinkers has raised $10,000 specifically to put up ads that will "counter the Ark Encounter."
"All we want is a place at the table for our ideas, too, and we are concerned that our voice and message is being denied in favor of religious messages," the secularist group said in a statement.
The group said they will stage a protest on July 7 at the opening of the Ark Encounter.
Tom Fahey, manager of Lamar in Cincinnati, said that while the company accepts most advertising projects, they refuse those that they "deem not appropriate." He said the atheist group's ad "seemed more inflammatory in nature than anything else," that's why the company refused them.
The ad, as shown in the atheist organization's website, was supposed to say "Genocide and Incest Park: Celebrating 2,000 Years of Myths."
The Ark Encounter is a historically themed amusement park that will present events revolving around the story of Noah. It will feature a life-sized wooden ark and other attractions like the Tower of Babel and the Walled City.
The park is an initiative of Answers in Genesis, a ministry that helps believers defend their faith. Its main purpose is for people to "encounter the ark, and then encounter God's Word, and then encounter Jesus Christ," according to Answers in Genesis president Ken Ham.
Ham said the Tri-State Freethinkers' claim that the Ark Encounter is immoral has no basis, considering it is an atheist group.
"An atheist group has no basis for accusing anyone of being 'immoral.' They have no basis for absolute standards—only subjective fallible opinion," he stated.