Bible Theme Park to Receive Public Funding? April 1, 2008

Bible Theme Park to Receive Public Funding?


Last year, there was a story about how Bible Park USA was going to open in Murfreesboro, TN.

What sort of attractions would this theme park have?

  • The Bible Land Fly-Through indoor ride that boasts the newest generation of IMAX-like technology with surround imagery; The Exodus Experience, an indoor experience featuring the parting of the Red Sea with high-tech standing 25-foot waves and image projection.
  • An entire teen area with an enclosed ride, coffee house and retail offerings; a state-of-the-art recording studio where teen choirs and church choirs will be invited to record; A recreation of Noah’s Ark and a play where animals from the Ark will act; gathering places for youth groups and Bible study groups where they will be surrounded by the full text of the New Testament inscribed on a stone wall.

Not surprisingly, it’s still controversial. And not just because it distorts reality.

The board will hold a public hearing Wednesday on a proposal to use $27.9 million in property tax dollars to pay off bonds to finance the park.

That money would be generated over the next 22 years by the 282-acre Bible Park and businesses on more than 450 acres of adjacent property in the Blackman community.

[Board Chairman James] Baker couldn’t say if the board will vote on the [tax-increment financing] on Wednesday or defer it for further research. And final approval of the deal would be up to the county commission.

A zoning request to allow for the park is also working its way through county committees and could be voted on by the Rutherford County Commission as early as May 15.

Tax money to fund a Bible theme park. Why aren’t more people making a fuss about this?

At least there are local opponents to the whole deal:

[Park opponent John L.] Batey will join other opponents at an anti-park rally Saturday at the Blackman Community Center in advance of upcoming public meetings for approval of zoning and financing next week and potentially a deciding vote by the County Commission in May.

We don’t need another way to warp the minds of children. We certainly shouldn’t be doing it under the guide of a theme park. At the very least, this sort of garbage should be privately funded.

We can also look at it in practical terms. The projections for attendance is vastly overstated, according to the articles. It’ll hurt the community financially. Voting for the park is going against their best interests.

Hopefully, they’ll see that.

(via The Asian Atheist)

[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I was all ready to get hot and bothered, but then I remembered 2 things; 1)it’s not that uncommon for cities and private companies to join together, and the company pays them back later down the road, or in taxes/fees, etc. as the city considers this sort of thing an investment in the future of the community. 2) I can’t wait to watch this all fall apart on them if/when attendance does not meet their overstated anticipated numbers…’cuz I’m snarky like that.

  • David D.G.

    Even if doing business with private companies is not uncommon for municipal governments, the fact that this one is explicitly religiously oriented (and along the lines of a very specific religion) ought to have made this an automatic condition of nonparticipation by any governmental body. There really isn’t any gray area or wiggle room here; this is blatantly obviously all about religious proselytization. The commission ought to have pushed away this project with an electrified 10-foot pole. If they go in on it, they will be flagrantly guilty of violating the First Amendment!

    ~David D.G.

  • Cities use TIF’s all the time for redevelopment projects like this one. The tax money doesn’t go to the park itself. Rather it goes to pay for the municipal utilities and services necessary to support this kind of redevelopment, i.e. the kind of stuff cities are supposed to provide anyway, regardless of what kind of development it is.

    Whether this is a religious development or not should be irrelevant here. The only question is whether the park will actually bring in enough future tax revenues to the municipality to make the TIF worthwhile.

  • My heart goes out to the people of Murfreesboro. Can you even imagine?

  • Susan

    I’m unfortunate enough to have to live in TN (but not in Murfreesboro, thank Dog). I really don’t believe this will fall into place. There isn’t enough interest, and the the area is already in something like gridlock.

  • Wasyl

    When was the last time you saw a theme park that took itself seriously? I know the Six Flags (well, ex-Six Flags) near me is full of Loony Toons, Batman, Superman, etc. It’s all fictional characters. I think that’s perfectly appropriate. Do you really expect to teach someone something with roller coasters and ferris wheels? If anything, it will trivialize these subjects in kids’ minds.

  • A recreation of Noah’s Ark and a play where animals from the Ark will act

    This might be interesting. I wonder if they will put dinosaurs on the ark like this

  • Siamang

    I remember when Jim and Tammy Baker made a big multi-million-dollar religious theme park.

    This should be a similar-size hit.

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