Righting America

A forum for scholarly conversation about Christianity, culture, and politics in the US
No Jokes Allowed: Ark Encounter Sues Insurance Company over Damage Caused by Flooding | Righting America

by William Trollinger

Photo of the exterior of the Ark Encounter with people walking in front of the ark and benches in the foreground.
Exterior of Ark Encounter. Photo credit: Susan L. Trollinger, 2018

I have often wondered if one of the “Fundamentals of the Faith” – along with “Thou shalt believe in the inerrant and perspicacious Bible” and “Thou shalt obey your Husband” – is “Thou shalt have no sense of humor.”

I received a barrage of emails and texts from friends when the news came out that the Ark Encounter was suing their insurance company for not covering the damage caused by heavy rains in 2017 and 2018.

Not surprisingly, reporters have had fun with this story. See, for example, the May 24 Washington Post article, “Lawsuit: Flood damage at Noah’s Ark attraction in Kentucky,” which begins with these two sentences:

In the Bible, the ark survived an epic flood. Yet the owners of Kentucky’s Noah’s ark attraction are demanding their insurance company bail them out after flooding caused nearly $1 million in property damage.

One might imagine that the folks at Answers in Genesis might go along with the joke, might even take the opportunity to poke a little fun at themselves.

But no. In an article entitled “Faked News” – which on the AiG website is linked to previous articles such as “Local TV Station Airs Misleading Ark Encounter Story” and “The Secularist Media War Against the Ark Continues” – AiG/Ark Encounter CCO Mark Looy complains about the news coverage of the AiG lawsuit:

Here is what we’re sharing with the media, if they even bother to contact us . . . “Contrary to some reporting, the damage to certain ares of the Ark Encounter themed attraction was not caused by a ‘flood’ . . . The damaged areas have already been remediated, [and] the Ark itself does not sit next to the damaged area” . . . So now you know the REAL account!

In this article Looy specifically criticizes the aforementioned Washington Post headline. But what is stunning is that all of the salient details in Looy’s “REAL account” – including that the damage was caused by heavy rain, the damage has been repaired, and the Ark is not damaged – are in fact included in the Washington Post article.

There is no “fake news” here. There is just the mildest form of joking. But AiG is determined to cast this as yet another example of secular persecution.

It takes real work for fundamentalists in Trump’s America to present themselves as the perpetual victims. There is simply no time or space for humor. Especially self-deprecatory humor.