Creationists plan British theme park
Yes folks, evilutionism is to be dealt a decisive blow and the opening shot of this final battle is to be fired in Lancashire, Britain! According to Peter Jones, one of the theme park's trustees, it'll reduce binge drinking among the young as well... Is this the Peter Jones of Dragon's Den television fame? It's not clear at this point (although it would appear uncharacteristic for the Dragon to claim "Today all they [youngsters] do is binge drink").
The latest salvo in creationism's increasingly ferocious battle with evolution is about to be fired in Lancashire. Not in a fiery sermon preached from the pulpit, but in the form of a giant Christian theme park that will champion the book of Genesis and make a multi-media case that God created the world in seven days.
The AH Trust, a charity set up last year by a group of businessmen alarmed by the direction in which they see society heading, has identified a number of potential sites in the north west of England to build the £3.5m Christian theme park.
The trust claims it already has a number of rich backers who are keen to invest in the project, which will boast two interactive cinemas, a cafeteria, six shops and a television recording studio, allowing it to produce its own Christian-themed films and documentaries.
The 5,000-capacity park will be the first of its kind in Britain, but not in the world. In Orlando, Florida, hundreds of thousands of visitors make pilgrimages to the Holy Land Experience, where they can see a bloodied Jesus forced to carry his cross by snarling Roman soldiers.
Peter Jones, one of the Lancashire theme park's trustees, said the emphasis would be on multimedia rather than the costume re-enactments of famous biblical scenes favoured at Holy Land. 'It will be a halfway house for youngsters,' Jones said. 'Today all they do is binge drink. We will be able to offer them an alternative.'
By producing its own films, the trust believes it will be able to provide an antidote to modern culture. It says on its website: 'On television today there is so much sex and violence, it is no wonder our youth are binge drinking ... This is a revolutionary scheme requiring innovative people with the vision to bring about change and a new direction.'
It declined to say who the backers were, but admitted it is talking to a number of businessmen who have invested in city academies, leading to speculation that it may have approached Sir Peter Vardy, who has given millions of pounds to advance the claims of creationism - the belief that God created the world and that Darwin's theory of evolution is wrong.
While the plans for the park are still in their infancy, the trust has big ambitions. A business plan available to prospective investors suggests the park could bring in £4.8m a year - apparently 10 times its estimated overhead costs.
The trust also says it plans to apply for government grants and European funding to help it realise its dream of turning the television studio into 'an international leader in promoting family-oriented Christian programmes'.
Although concerns about the direction of modern society are the trust's main motivation for building the theme park, it is also in response to what the trustees identify as a sense of drift within the Church of England.
'The church in this country is in crisis and many church leaders living in Australia, America and Canada have openly proclaimed that God has left the church in England,' the trust states on its website.
'Evolution has falsely become the foundation of our society and we need the television studio to advocate Genesis across this land in order to remove this falsehood, which presently is destroying the church foundation.'
The theme park's anti-evolution bias and its emphasis on Genesis has raised eyebrows among planning officials, according to Jones, who originally wanted to build the park at the site of an old B&Q store but was refused permission by the council.
'Wigan council slammed the door in our faces. You mention the C [Christian] word, and people don't want to know,' Jones said.