Ken Ham, president of the Answers in Genesis Christian ministry that built the $100 million Ark Encounter biblical theme park in Williamstown, Kentucky, riled LGBT advocates Tuesday when he announced that they will be reclaiming the rainbow for God with permanent rainbow lights for their life-sized Noah's Ark replica.
"We now have new permanent rainbow lights at the Ark Encounter so all can see that it is God's rainbow and He determines its meaning in Genesis 6," Ham said in a statement on Facebook. "The rainbow is a reminder God will never again judge the wickedness of man with a global Flood — next time the world will be judged by fire.
"The Ark is lit permanently at night with a rainbow to remind the world that God owns it and He decreed it's a sign of His covenant with man after the Flood — Christians need to take back the rainbow as we do at the Ark Encounter," he added.
Ham first launched his effort to take back the rainbow from the gay community when he lit up the ark with rainbow lights last Christmas, six months after the park opened.
Chris Hartman, director of the Kentucky Fairness Campaign, told USA Today at the time that the rainbow is a symbol of love, acceptance, unity and inclusion, "None of which Mr. Ham or his operation embrace or embody."
Of the rainbow light on the ark, he said, "It makes the ark look incredibly gay."
Josh Wagoner, co-chairman of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network of Greater Cincinnati reacted with mockery to Ham's Christmas campaign while raising concern about how young people will receive the message.
"I think the rainbow is big enough for all of us," Wagoner said then.
A majority of Ham's audience on Facebook reacted positively to the campaign Tuesday with nearly 34,000 people liking the comment and more than 8,000 expressing love for the move. Just over 1,000 treated the effort as a joke as of Thursday morning.
"For crying out loud, no one took your rainbow! Please stop trying to pass this nonsense off as Christianity. There is nothing Christian about judging one another. Just think what this world could be if we spent just half this energy finding ways to show kindness and acceptance and understanding and love to people who aren't just like us instead," wrote Michele Bowen Woloszyk in a comment that drew nearly 3,000 reactions. "If you aren't sending love into the world, you're just doing damage. If your religion/church is teaching you otherwise, you need to find a better way to spend your time."
"I think the symbol has already been lost. Might have been a good idea decades ago when homosexuality started claiming the symbol for their own, but it's too late now. Christianity does not have the cultural power to reclaim it," Shakir Tal suggested in another popular reply to Ham's call.
Josh Tanguay, however, did not see it that way.
"That's like saying, 'The world's already lost. What's the point in preaching the gospel, anyway? People don't listen to preaching like they did a few decades ago.' This mindset is what makes small churches become even smaller as their members die off," he said.
"We have a hope that endures throughout all of eternity based solely off of the promises that God has made and kept. Should we not continue to share that hope with those who are hopeless? The Catholics have tainted what the cross stands for, but have we done away with that symbol? God gives us reminders of His promises, the rainbow being one of them. Or have we neglected remembering God's promises and become as Israel?"