When Is MSNBC Going to Tell the Truth?

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Ark Encounter

The Ark Encounter is a one-of-a-kind historically themed attraction. In an entertaining, educational, and immersive way, it presents a number of historical events centered on a full-size, all-wood Ark, which should become the largest timber-frame structure in the world.

Our full-size Noah’s Ark project is in the news again this week. Yesterday, the first phase of the Ark Encounter was granted preliminary approval for the tourism tax incentive offered by the state of Kentucky. However, as has been happening over the past couple of years, various media outlets have distorted the nature of these incentives, and some reporters have told outright untruths.

Now, it is refreshing to see that some of the secular media have finally (after multiple corrections by us) been telling the truth about this state incentive this time round. But last night on the MSNBC program The Last Word, the host Lawrence O’Donnell showed utter ignorance, lack of research, and a total disdain for the Bible in what I believe may have been a very deliberate attempt to misinform people about the Ark Encounter as he mocked the Ark project and Bible-believing Christians.

O’Donnell ranted on about taxpayer money supposedly being used to fund the Ark project. He stated that “state funding” will be used to build the Ark and “government financial support” had been approved. He claimed that “you the taxpayer have subsidized” projects like these. O’Donnell added, “When the Ark Park is up and running, the State of Kentucky will send an annual check to . . . the Ark Park in gratitude for all the tourism.”

The media should not get away with telling such untruths to the public. Lawrence O’Donnell and MSNBC, with its track record of false reporting about the Ark (see another example below), seem to think they have license to lie about the Ark Encounter for the sake of carrying out their anti-Christian agenda.

The Truth About the Tax Incentive

Now, let me (once again) put matters right concerning this tax incentive:

No state funds will be used to build the Ark Encounter.

No state funds will be used to build the Ark Encounter. Thus no money will be taken away from state funds. The tax incentive will not be a grant from the state treasury to help build the Ark Encounter; no money will come out of the state budget and away from state services and programs (e.g., roads/potholes fixed, social services provided, schools funded, and so on).

What are the incentives? Kentucky has a great program to encourage businesses, like tourist attractions, to build here, which bring revenue into the state. This is how it plays out in regard to the Ark Encounter.

Future Ark visitors will pay sales tax at the attraction (e.g., on tickets, food, and merchandise), and at the end of each year of operation, the state will rebate the sales tax paid at the Ark facility (up to a maximum of $18.25 million over 10 years) to the Ark Encounter if the Ark meets attendance-performance standards and tourism dollars flow into the state.

Ultimately, the state’s coffers will benefit tremendously when the Ark opens in Kentucky, as opposed to a nearby state that tried to woo the Ark project.

The part of the sales tax that the state will keep, plus payroll and property taxes collected from the estimated 10,000-plus people who will eventually be working in the region at both the Ark Encounter and at other new businesses that will be created, will be significant to the state. Also, the sales tax collected by the many existing businesses and newly created local businesses through the Ark’s ripple effect will also add significant revenue to the state coffers (e.g., the sales taxes collected by hotels, gas stations, restaurants, etc. in the region).

There is a huge net gain to Kentucky for having the Ark within its borders, and state services will see even more funds, not fewer.

There is a huge net gain to Kentucky for having the Ark within its borders, and state services will see even more funds, not fewer.

This opportunity is available for any project that meets the state’s strict requirements. Kentucky does not discriminate against a project just because it happens to be run by Christians or has a Christian message.

Mocking Misrepresentation

Lawrence O’Donnell’s tirade on MSNBC last night against the Bible (and against Christians who believe it) appears to be behind his desire to misinform people about the tax incentive program being considered for the Ark project.

Now this is not the only time this year that MSNBC has totally misrepresented the Ark project and the tax incentive. Here is an article I wrote about Rachel Maddow’s TV rant in May this year against the Creation Museum, the Ark Encounter, and creationists in general.

This is one TV network that appears to delight in mocking God's Word.

To get a fuller understanding of the tax rebate and to further rebut the false claims of O'Donnell and Maddow regarding the incentive, see this article (and watch the associated video where Joe Boone and I discuss the funding of the Ark Encounter).

Below is a link to O’Donnell’s eight-minute segment last night. I want to warn you, though: If you are a Bible-believing Christian, you will have to put up with several minutes of a scoffer denigrating God’s Word and insulting you. At the same time, I encourage you to watch this segment with your children (with the proper warning to them) so that they can see a clear example of a scoffer who uses a TV program to shake his fist at God and His Word, and who is in rebellion against God and the Bible. You can then remind your children of the Apostle Paul and his conversion, and pray for Lawrence O’Donnell and those scoffers like him.

Then after the section where O’Donnell discusses the tax incentive, pause the video and explain the truth about this incentive to your children. In this way, you can help them understand how such secularists can distort the truth in their rebellion against God’s Word—and because of their hatred of this Christian project. To me, it’s obvious that O’Donnell is angry at God and His Word—I think even your children will see this. Read portions of Romans 1 to your children, and, using this TV segment as a teaching point, discuss people who rebel against God and suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

Also, point out how O’Donnell mentions those Christians who don’t believe the account of Noah’s Flood as written in God’s Word. Sadly, Christian leaders who compromise God’s Word in Genesis are really pawns in the hands of these scoffers, who will use the compromise of Christians to scoff at the God of creation and the Christian faith. You could also use this section from O’Donnell to discuss being “salt” in this world and making sure the salt is not contaminated (Matthew 5:13).

Before you watch the video, I also suggest you read through 2 Timothy 3 and be reminded, “But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them” (2 Timothy 3:13–14).

Here is the link to the video segment by O’Donnell. (Note: You will probably have to put up with a 30-second advertisement before the video starts.)

By the way, the first part of the massive excavation work at the Ark Encounter site in Williamstown begins very soon—the bid for this huge effort has already been let, and the large earthwork company has begun preparations for this first major phase of the construction. Find out more about the Ark Encounter project at ArkEncounter.com.


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