Ken Ham Responds to the Tax Rebate Imbroglio

Noah's Ark (by Edward Hicks, 1846)

Noah’s Ark (by Edward Hicks, 1846)

A few days ago we wrote Ken Ham’s Ark May Be Sinking. Kentucky’s state tourism board says it isn’t going to approve sales tax rebates for Hambo’s organization because Answers in Genesis (AIG) practices religious discrimination in its hiring.

Now Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) is responding. His article is Ark Encounter in the Headlines Again! He says, with bold font added by us:

I’m sure many of you have read one or more recent news reports that present various, often confusing theories about the Kentucky tourism tax refund program that the Ark Encounter has applied for. [Sample headlines.] Numerous other news stories have been published across the nation, and atheist bloggers have become giddy with excitement about the rumor that the construction of the Ark project may somehow be in jeopardy!

Okay, Hambo, tell us your side. He does:

Well, it seems the origin of the controversy can be traced to the paranoia of the group Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU). This vehemently anti-Christian, anti-creationist group seems to be obsessed with trying to stop Answers in Genesis from exercising its rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion because of the biblical message we proclaim.

Ah, it’s the anti-God people who are to blame. Let’s read on:

Can you imagine AU [Americans United], for example, being forced to employ someone who doesn’t believe in its interpretation of the so-called “separation of church and state”? Or can you imagine the American Atheists being compelled to employ a CEO who is a Bible-believing creationist like me? Of course not! Those groups are very selective in their hiring practices — and have the freedom to do so under federal and state laws.

Perhaps they are selective (we don’t know), but that “so-called” separation of church and state is no joke, and those outfits opposing Hambo aren’t applying for tax kickbacks, while AIG’s Ark Encounter project is. Hambo continues:

When AU recently saw a job opening listed on the AiG website for a specialist to work on the Ark Encounter project, they went ballistic. What was their complaint? The atheists were beside themselves that the AiG job posting listed Christian belief as a qualification for the job. It didn’t seem to matter a bit to the AU critics that their hypocrisy was so glaring, or that federal and state statues specifically authorize religious organizations to hire people who agree with their religious points of view.

[…]

The Ark Encounter has confirmed over and over to the state and media that it will carefully adhere to all applicable federal and state laws in hiring. And we certainly hope and expect that for its part, state officials will follow the law as well. Part of that obligation is to respect the clearly established rights of our religious organization.

That doesn’t seem possible, because AIG does carefully control the religious beliefs of its employees. According to the Prospectus for the issuance of Ark Encounter bonds (which we have seen but we can’t find an online copy), AIG will be intimately involved in the ownership of Ark Encounter, and AIG personnel will be part of the management. It was part of the sales pitch that Ark Encounter would have experienced management.

Addendum: We found: the prospectus online. It’s a huge pdf file. Page 29 describes the management:

The management team of the Project will be headed up by Michael Zovath, a co-founder of Answers in Genesis and Executive Director of Crosswater Canyon. Mr. Zovath, Patrick Marsh, Senior Director of Design, and the Answers in Genesis team of design professionals who directed the design, construction and early operation of the Creation Museum will, in conjunction with Destination Concepts and Development, produce the Ark Encounter based on the literal biblical account of Noah’s Ark, the Genesis Flood, and other historic biblical accounts from Scripture. Answers in Genesis has successfully operated the Creation Museum for several years and will assist in the management and operation of the Ark Encounter Project.

Addendum continues: That same information is in Appendix A on page 110 of the pdf file (page 56 of the prospectus). which also says:

AiG, the sole member of Crosswater Canyon [which is issuing the bonds and probably owns Ark Encounter], is the owner and operator of the Creation Museum, located in northern Kentucky, off Interstate 275, near Cincinnati, Ohio. Answers in Genesis is an internationally known apologetics ministry dedicated to upholding the authority of the Bible from the very first verse, and to equipping Christians to defend their Christian faith by trusting in God’s Word, the Bible, as the foundation of their faith. … As owner and operator of the Creation Museum, AiG and its executive management team have acquired significant experience that will be applied to the planning and development of the Ark Encounter project. … The board of directors and executive officers of Crosswater Canyon are appointed by AiG, the sole member of Crosswater Canyon.

That ends the Addendum. Here’s more from Hambo, the non-discriminator:

The funny thing about all of this hubbub is that there really is no story here at all. You see, the Ark Encounter has not yet even considered hiring anyone, or even drafted its hiring policies or employee handbooks. The Ark Encounter is currently under construction, and no doubt will begin employing people once construction gets to a certain stage.

If the entity that will technically own the ark project currently has no employees, that means everyone now supervising the thing is an AIG employee, and Hambo imposes a strict religious test for all of them. Moving along:

It’s really amazing (though not surprising) to see the lengths the opposition will go to as they try to denigrate a project because it has a Christian message in the hope of bringing the project down.

Well, that ol’ Devil is always active. But Hambo ends on an optimistic note:

Ultimately, AU and groups like them want freedom from Christianity, not freedom of religion! Thankfully, under our Constitution, such oppressive ideas will never float.

We don’t know how the controversy surrounding Hambo’s tax deal will eventually work out, but we do know of one thing that definitely will never float — even if it does get built — and that’s ol’ Hambo’s ark. In that sense it will indeed be an exact replica of Noah’s original, which never existed.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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13 responses to “Ken Ham Responds to the Tax Rebate Imbroglio

  1. Ole’ Hambo doesn’t know much about AU. AU is led by an ordained minister and clerics are on the national board of AU. Of course, false statements by Hambo are not uncommon.

  2. Old Hambo cries pitifully (and ignorantly):

    Can you imagine AU [Americans United], for example, being forced to employ someone who doesn’t believe in its interpretation of the so-called “separation of church and state”? Or can you imagine the American Atheists being compelled to employ a CEO who is a Bible-believing creationist like me? Of course not! Those groups are very selective in their hiring practices — and have the freedom to do so under federal and state laws.

    Yes, Hambo, I can imagine being “forced” to hire people with different beliefs than me because that’s how the law is written. As an employer, during an interview, for example, it is illegal for me to ask an applicant’s age, or religion or sexual preference. There are hiring guidelines that prohibit a host of personal questions.

    No, Hambo, businesses do not have the freedom to be selective by using discriminatory practices. That’s why a well-balanced workplace shows a high degree of diversity, while an unbalanced, unhinged, cult, like AIG, doesn’t.

  3. Zovath also threatened the State of Kentucky to “take further action” if needed. I sure hope so! Sue ’em, Hambo! Take Kentucky to court and let’s get this entire mess out in the open. I imagine the depositions with the Kentucky Tourism Board alone would be priceless. And, since the Governor was directly involved in the early stages, we’d get us some Guv Luv, too.

    Whoa, baby, I’d better double my Trail’s End popcorn order. Best popcorn in the world. I especially like the chocolate covered popcorn.

  4. Maybe we’ll get lucky and AiG gets their legal advice from the Thomas More Law Center, that wonderful collection of legal eagles who represented the Dover School Board in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.

    What a hoot that would be!

  5. I just added a big addendum to the post with a link to the prospectus and its description of Ark Encounter’s management. There’s no way Hambo can distance himself and his hiring practices from the ark project.

  6. I foresee yet another legal circus along the lines of the ones which keep on coming whenever creationism goes to court. The only question is who will wear the clown outfits this time.

  7. Eric Lipps observes: “The only question is who will wear the clown outfits this time.”

    All participants should wear clown suits except the great Hambo, who should be dressed as Pinocchio–with a fully functioning nose, of course.

  8. Hambo declares:

    “Ultimately, AU and groups like them want freedom from Christianity, not freedom of religion! Thankfully, under our Constitution, such oppressive ideas will never float”

    There is nothing oppressive about freedom from Christianity, a religion I find stupid, wicked and repulsive. Not to have freedom from Christianity would be true oppression but Hambo has no problem with oppression on the part of Christians against anyone who does not believe as AIG does.

  9. Ham: “… the lengths the opposition will go to as they try to denigrate a project because it has a Christian message in the hope of bringing the project down.”

    “Christian message”? Noah was a Christian? Truly a man ahead of his time. But seriously, I don’t see anything about the Noah story that has anything to do with the Christian narrative of love, forgiveness, and salvation.

    Mr. Ham, Americans United is not anti-Christian — it is simply pro-constitution. If you are claiming to be a religious organization, you are free to hire those who share your religious beliefs. But if you are a religious organization, you are not eligible for special tax treatment. You can’t have it both ways. That would be un-American. If you don’t like our constitution, go back to Australia. And take your false and deceptive “museum” with you. (Yes, I realize that would require a very big ship. Now that would be a good use for your ark.)

  10. “Ark Encounter in the Headlines Again!”

    Well, Ken, the Titanic was in the headlines as well (both “before” and “after”). And THAT ship was even afloat for a little while, which is more than anyone will ever be able to say about your ark.

  11. “… in the hopes of bringing the the project down” So if AiG doesn’t get the tax rebate then the project would be in jeopardy? Did they actually started making “happy accounting” with money they have not received yet?

  12. Kanny Humbug whinges—

    “… federal and state statues (sic) specifically authorize religious organizations to hire people who agree with their religious points of view.”

    (Emphasis added.)

    Aha, so you have statuory permission to hire selectively. Pity those statues remain brazenly immobile on the question of tax concessions where discriminatory hiring practices occur.

  13. CptnMatruz asks the most important question (almost). AiG did not apply for any tax rebate. Ark Encounter applied for the rebate. I believe that the Ark Encounter will build the ark regardless of whether or not they get the incentive.
    I was on WLW 700 yesterday with a right-wing host and did very well. You can listen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quYXG8HgAnU&list=UU6EXLU1dl1fDx_SuULheEFw.
    Today Mike Zovath of AiG/Ark Encounter was on. He claimed 1) Ark Encounter does not have to comply with the 1964 Civil Rights Act because it is a ministry (it is actually filed as a for-profit company), therefore they have the federal and state right to discriminate religiously; 2) KY requires all companies to comply with federal and state laws, but only Ark Encounter is being asked not to discriminate religiously. Therefore KY is discriminating against Ark Encounter.