In a recent fundraising letter, Answers in Genesis (AiG) President Ken Ham claimed that the organization's theme park's current financial woes were "an indication of the immense spiritual battle we are in."
To open the Kentucky attraction, which would include a full-scale, 510-foot-long model of Noah's Ark, AiG must sell $29 million in unrated municipal bonds by Feb. 6 to avoid triggering the redemption of the $26.5 million of bonds that have already been sold.
"Please be aware that the associated complications and struggles have been beyond our control," wrote Ham. "The battles were another reminder of the truth of Ephesians 6:12: 'For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.'"
Ham explained the budget shortfall in a recent email to donors and asked the community for financial assistance.
"We still need those Ark supporters who weren't able to purchase the Ark bonds at closing to prayerfully consider participating in a secondary bond delivery at the level they had indicated to us," Ham wrote. "Will you please step out in faith with us?"
Ham acknowledged that fundraising difficulties represent only some of the issues that the AiG has had to confront in moving forward on its theme park.
"As you have read in some of my prior emails, many challenges and road blocks came up as we worked through the stages of the bond offering and the first closing," wrote Ham.
Without specifically mentioning any names or reports, Ham also suggested AiG's bond selling process had been sabotaged by atheists and that inaccurate media coverage had in turn led to some of its financial obstacles.
"From atheists attempting to register for the bond offering and disrupting it, to secular bloggers and reporters writing very misleading and inaccurate articles about the bonds, to brokerage firms saying 'yes,' but after reading these incorrect reports saying 'no' in allowing the Ark bonds into their client accounts—the obstacles were numerous and disruptive," wrote Ham. "Frankly, it has been an extremely stressful and frustrating time for all of us."
A Bloomberg story from last week suggested that concerns about repayment may be one of the reasons why investors have been slow to buy. It noted that not only are the AiG "industrial-development bonds…considered the riskiest municipal debt, but because the city "issued the bonds without a rating…prospect of repayment [are] even less clear."
The report also states that offering documents "cite at least 39 risks to buyers, including that AiG has no obligation to back the debt. Bondholders' sole revenue stream would come from money spent by visitors."
Should AiG receive sufficient funds to move forward with the project, construction is scheduled to begin in March.
In August 2013, AiG informed supporters that it changed its theme park funding structure due to Obamacare.
"In large part, because of AiG's strong biblical stand against the Obamacare legislation's mandated coverage of abortion-causing drugs, AiG pursued a change in the Ark Encounter funding structure that now includes a bond investment opportunity for you to consider," Ham wrote.
AiG teaches that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. Its offices and a museum promulgating its views on the origin of the universe are located in Hebron and Petersburg, Ky., respectively.