Just off Interstate 275, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, you’ll find a sophisticated museum that transports you back to the time of the dinosaurs. No, not back to the Triassic Period, said to have been 230 million years ago. Only back 6,000 years, to when T. Rex and others roamed the planet along with humans.
That’s the timeline followed by the Creation Museum, a four-year-old facility that adheres to the belief that everything written in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, is literally true.
God did create the world in six days; He created a light for day and a light for night; He created all the animals, including dinosaurs; Adam was the first man and Eve the first woman, and all was good until the couple ate of the forbidden fruit. That’s when things went south.
Indeed, dinosaurs and humans had been able to co-exist, the museum points out, because all the creatures were vegetarians, and lived in harmony. And all this took place just 6,000 years ago.
This view of the world is immensely popular here. It’s safe to say that just about everyone who comes to the museum already believes in the literal version of Genesis. They visit, it seems, to confirm their beliefs, to educate their children and perhaps enlighten some friends.
It’s also safe to say that just about every adult visiting on this day in October is likely to vote Republican in next month’s presidential election.
“I was 7 when I first accepted Jesus Christ,” explained Tom McGonigal, walking hand in hand with his wife, Laura, and their five children. “That’s when I learned I was a sinner and only Jesus could save me.”
Mr. McGonigal, a Baptist from Pennsylvania, says that his belief very much colours his voting preferences. “It’s important that our leaders adhere to biblical principles,” he said. “That’s the only way they can be moral men.”
For him, that means voting for Mitt Romney.
“But does the fact that Mr. Romney is a Mormon trouble you?” I asked him, referring to the candidate’s faith in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Yes, it does trouble me,” he replied. “I wish he had accepted Jesus Christ as his saviour.” (Mormons believe that Jesus was a teacher whose exemplary behaviour should be followed, but that later prophets and writings, such as the 19 th– century Book of Mormon, also offer truths to be followed.)
“But I believe that his beliefs align more with the Bible than [Barack] Obama’s do,” Mr. McGonigal said. “That’s good enough for me.”
What Mr. McGonigal doesn’t like about President Obama, he says, includes his support for abortion and gay marriage. “These are abominations,” he said.
Several other people interviewed found different ways to explain themselves, and many said they hold issues such as the economy to be of greater importance than social issues such as abortion.
Said one woman, “the fear of God carries over into other areas” such as public policy.
As firm as their belief in creationism, these people believe in the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket.
The place: Creation Museum, Petersburg, Kentucky
The Size: 70,000 square feet
The Admission: $29.95 (adult), $15.95 (under 13)
Lifetime membership: $1,000
The Logo: Prepare to believe
The Plan: To erect a massive theme park on 800 acres of land. It will include a walled city, a Tower of Babel and, most importantly, a replica of Noah’s Ark constructed to biblical proportions.
The Finances: the Ark project is being paid for by donations plank by plank. (Total cost: $57-million)