A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Ark Encounter protesters and supporters share common ground in an unlikely place

By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

A group of protesters lined the interstate ramp leading to the Answers in Genesis Ark Encounter in Williamstown at Thursday’s public grand opening.

A group of Ark Encounter protesters joined Creation Today's Eric Hovind for a tour of the massive vessel (photos provided by Eric Hovind).

A group of Ark Encounter protesters joined Creation Today’s Eric Hovind for a tour of the massive vessel (photos provided by Eric Hovind).

They were soon joined by a group of counter-protesters led by Eric Hovind, founder of Florida-based Creation Today.

Hovind held up a credit card and invited protesters to take a tour of the Ark Encounter at his expense, but was greeted with chants of “Na na na na, hey, hey, goodbye.”

At one point, Hovind and American Atheists president David Silverman engaged in a heated and well-publicized debate and it seemed there was no common ground between the groups.

What is not as well-known, however, is what happened later in the day.

Ark TicketsHovind, undeterred, continued to engage members of the group and even handed out Gatorade and Chick-fil-A sandwiches to the protesters.

His perseverance paid off as 21 protesters, about one-third of the group, took him up on the offer and got a free tour of the massive vessel with Hovind and Ark Encounter content director Tim Chaffey.

While Hovind probably did not convert anyone, he said the protestors really seemed to enjoy the visit.

“We had a great time answering questions and they were genuinely amazed at the size and professionalism of the Ark itself.”

Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com

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