Is Opposing Ken Ham’s Tax Breaks Anti-God?

We’ve been growing increasingly worried about Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG) and for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.

We recently wrote You’re Either For Ken Ham or Against Him, in which we expressed our anxiety. He was complaining about “attacks” on his Ark Encounter project, and it seemed to us that he sees himself as the embattled champion of God and Christianity, fighting against the forces of darkness.

Hambo’s latest post is yet another that causes us concern. It’s titled Lexington Herald-Leader Versus God! He’s complaining about an editorial in the Lexington Herald-Leader of Lexington, Kentucky.

That newspaper has previously opposed tax benefits for Hambo’s new theme park — see Problem for Ken Ham’s Ark Park? That was back in August, before Hambo was officially notified that the state wouldn’t provide sales tax rebates for his Ark project. At the end of that post we predicted:

He’ll be sputtering mad, foaming at the mouth, and furious at the “anti-God” newspaper. When that shows up — and it surely will — you may be sure that we’ll post about it. Stay tuned to this blog!

And lo, it has come to pass — just as we predicted. Here are some excerpts from Hambo’s latest, with bold font added by us and Hambo’s scripture references omitted:

The Lexington Herald-Leader is one of the major Kentucky newspapers. For years, it has spread untruths and misleading information about Answers in Genesis and our life-size Noah’s Ark project. (The Ark will be built north of the paper’s offices in Lexington.)

He’s just getting warmed up. Let’s read on:

I suggest that the editors of the Herald-Leader have an anti-Christian agenda. It has resulted in inaccuracies in its stories and editorials concerning the Ark project. The paper constantly denigrates the Christian ministry of AiG and regularly attacks the Ark project in order to undermine it to the general public.

Wow — if one dares to criticize any aspect Hambo’s projects, such as arguably undeserved tax benefits, it’s because of “an anti-Christian agenda.” That’s a conclusion that could be reached only by one who thinks Hambo’s enterprises and Christianity are really the same thing. He continues:

In a recent typical anti-Christian editorial against the work of AiG, we read considerable misinformation and downright untruths. Actually, I believe it’s clear that the editors are really shaking their fist at God.

This is the “anti-Christian” editorial he’s complaining about, written by those Visigoths at the Herald-Leader: Few questions for Answers in Genesis. And here are some of the questions that editorial asks:

Why does God need so much taxpayer help?

Really, has God been so lame spreading the good news that AIG must “counter the myths floating around about the Bible-upholding Ark Encounter,” on a digital video board in New York’s Times Square?

Does God need to be defended with the demagogic language AIG and its founder Ken Ham use in the holy war against “intolerant liberal friends,” “secularists,” “Bible-scoffers,” and, the most telling, “agitators outside the state?”

Are those anti-Christian questions? Or — gasp! — anti God questions? It doesn’t seem so to us. Here’s how Hambo reacts:

But the editors should be warned, for Jesus (in the books of Matthew and Luke) quoted from Deuteronomy in stating, “You shall not tempt the LORD your God.”

Wow — what’s going on here? Hambo then spends several paragraphs quibbling about the details of various breaks he has already received, and those he wants to receive in the future. Then he says:

The editorial is just another example that confirms the truth of the Bible in Romans 1, where we learn that those who reject God “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”

Okay, that’s enough. Perhaps now you can see why we’re increasingly worried about ol’ Hambo. We could be wrong, but it looks to us as if he equates his own business schemes with Christianity itself, and anyone who dares to oppose any aspect of those schemes — like the tax benefits he wants to receive — is literally anti-God. That’s very worrisome.

It’s because of our Curmudgeonly compassion that we feel compelled to offer this advice: Please, Hambo — pull yourself together. You’re not God — really you’re not, and your roadside attractions aren’t the same thing as Christianity. A little humility is what’s needed here. It’ll be difficult, but you really should give it a try.

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

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22 responses to “Is Opposing Ken Ham’s Tax Breaks Anti-God?

  1. A little humility is what’s needed here.

    Ham’s rant is this time reminiscent of nothing more than a toddler’s tantrum. He seems to think he and his enterprise are the center of the universe, just like toddlers do.

  2. I see this ending like Fellini’s 8 1/2, with Ken Ham on the ground wailing as his hubristic project collapses around him.

    He’s a charismatic speaker, and in his more distracted moments shows a curiosity that’s infectious, but this . . . this isn’t funny, it’s just sort of sad.

  3. I have been calling for a mental evaluation of Kent Hovind as part of his current preparation for his next trial which is scheduled for February 2015. I believe that, at a minimum, Kent has Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

    It might be good if Ken Ham could also be compelled to undergo a bonafide, third party mental evaluation for the same possible malady.

    There may be others, but their antics seem to display Narcissistic Personality Disorder and it would be nice to make if official, if it be the case. It could help explain their antics and save some time in the future.

    It probably won’t happen for Kent and less likely for Ken, so folks will just have to make their own amateur diagnosis (i.e., form their own opinion as to their mental states).

  4. Good post, Curm. You called it– Ken Ham behaved exactly as you predicted, so much so that creationist behavior seriously calls into question the existence of free will.

    But it’s really very simple.

    The newspaper is not anti-God. The newspaper is anti-Ken Ham, and Ken Ham thinks he’s God. Therefore, for Ken Ham, “anti-Ken Ham” and “anti-God” are the same.

    That’s all there is to it. Recently, in Ken Ham’s increasingly over the top screeds, we see him identifying any criticism of himself as an attack on God. Logically, this strongly suggest he believes he is God.

    Reminding me of another madman who helmed a large wooden vessel, Ken Ham is going after the white whale and not caring if he sinks his ship in the process.

    Once I wrote this on this blog: “Do not confuse evangelicals and fundamentalists. An evangelical thinks he’s met God, and a fundamentalist thinks he is God.” This comment unfortunately made Prof. Tertius rather mad, which was not my intent. But factually, Ken Ham’s behavior gives me more evidence for that proposition every day.

  5. Hopefully Kenny makes clandestine visits here; Mr. Ham – read Curmy’s last paragraph to yourself three times a day, every day for the rest of your earthly life.

  6. We recently wrote You’re Either For Ken Ham or Against Him

    Count me as against him.

    I grew up in Australia, and he manages to give that country a bad name.

  7. Holding The Line In Florida

    Reading the comments of the original article is most instructive. You can see the brain washing. The Hambo either really believes he is his god’s personal representative and is really dangerous or he is a con artist of the first degree and will follow the Swaggart model. His followers have drunk the koolaid for sure. I think he is a Jim Jones in the making.

  8. It is ironic that AIG and Ken Ham are hostile towards the Catholic Church over the issue of whether or not the Pope is God’s Vicar on Earth and then Hambo comes right out and says that anyone who is against any of Hambo’s projects is defying God and trying to thwart the will of God, something that they will surely be cast into the lake of fire for.

    In his mind, Hambo, not the Pope, in Christ’s Vicar on Earth and Hambo seems to believe that he has powers that not even the Pope claims, such as the power to send his enemies to hell.

    Hambo is of course not my patient and I have never examined him so I can not offer a diagnosis, but this latest screed seems to indicate that he is seriously delusional.

  9. We recently wrote You’re Either For Ken Ham or Against Him

    Is that “him,” as in Ham, or “Him,” as in God? And does Ken Ham really know the difference, or does he actually think opposing his idiocy amounts to opposing God? And if the latter, isn’t that blasphemy?

  10. If Ken Ham really does assume himself to be God, does he not wonder why he failed to smite Bill Nye?

  11. Ham really believes that God is on his side.
    I am going to quote CastleVania Lords of Shadow 2:
    Paladin: God is with me, monster!
    Dracula: That will be your ruin.

  12. Holding The Line In Florida: “I think he is a Jim Jones in the making.”


  13. When I saw the title of the article on his website, I thought, “does he think he’s god now”?

  14. Hambo does have a point. If there weren’t secularists who opposed him he’d have gotten the money no question. If the Kentucky tourist agency had let it go through it would have required lawsuits about the hiring policy that would be uphill battles to win.
    Hambo, ” It should also be noted that Ark Encounter (the actual name of our project) has not employed anyone yet and has not set up guidelines for employment. However, AiG agreed that it would abide by all applicable state and federal laws!”
    I think Hambo’s critique of editorial in the Leader are actually correct EXCEPT for that one. Hambo specifically has told them he would not follow the rules evident in the fact that he has said he doesn’t think the rules should apply to him. And THAT is why he lost the tax break.

  15. I’ll be odd man out here. I say give Ham all the tax breaks he wants. Just send the tax bills to the DI instead. They’ll be glad to pay them, as it will support their claim that ID is not creationism.

  16. Frank J said “Just send the tax bills to the DI instead. They’ll be glad to pay them, as it will support their claim that ID is not creationism.”

    I guess I’ll be an even more odd man out and say that I don’t think I understand what you are saying, Frank. I understand that the statement is meant to be facetious but how would someone else paying the tax bills somehow support a claim that ID is not creationism?

  17. Ken Ham seems to be going down the same road as so many religious leaders before him. The progression for Christians seems to be:

    I understand the Bible to say blah blah.
    The Bible says blah blah.
    God says blah blah, and I’m only telling you what God says.
    God speaks to you through me, and I God says blah blah.
    I say blah blah.

    Ultimately these people cannot distinguish between themselves and God.

    Those I know about who have deceived themselfs like this are the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. They belief their own bullpucky.

    Of course, since there are no gods, it’s all a farce anyway.

  18. Whatever Frank’s meaning, it is certainly true that the Dishonesty Institute (as my professor friend calls it) has made IDism & creationism sound like synonyms. It is well established that the ID campaigns of the Discovery Institute & their allies is motivated by their various creationist leanings including the Old Earth Creationism one finds among many IDers. But IDism as a philosophical hypothesis does not necessarily have to be creationism-driven. Yet because the Discovery Institute and others have made that association so strongly any chances of ID surviving as useful general terminology in philosophical arguments related to design are nearly zero.

    Of course that is one of the biggest flaws of the Dishonesty Institute’s propaganda but also its biggest advantage. They know that philosophy & theology don’t pack much punch in comparison to science. They know that the general public considers science far more credible. So that is why they take a set of mediocre theological arguments, remove mentions of God from them, & are left with mediocre philosophical arguments. Then they add scientific terms, often used incorrectly, & the result is the pseudo-science of ID.

    A colleague illustrated the IDer’s Game with the following equations, if I can remember a marker-board presentation accurately. Notice that he also included a step to sort of sanitize IDism of its creationist goals by making it more generally appealing to Christians of all varieties & even theists in general, or at least Abrahamic religionists in general.

    (1) (Traditional Fundamentalist Creationism) minus (creationist vocabulary, e.g., Image of God, dust of the earth, Adam, Noah, “kinds”, flood) minus (evangelical vocabulary) = (a very general theology for western theists)

    (2) A Venn Diagram then showed ID Theology as the origins subset of that general theology for western theists (as crafted by IDists.)

    (3) (ID Theology) minus (“God”, “Bible”, & other theological words) = (ID Philosophy)

    (4) (ID Philosophy) plus (lots of science-sounding words) = (ID Pseudo-Science)

    To non-academics the result sounds quite scholarly in its feigned detachment from more traditional religious debates and its avoidance of theological terms. After all, “designer” sounds more academic than “creator”, for example. So by presenting their philosophical arguments (sanitized theological arguments) with lots of scientific terms interlaced, they think they can convince the general public that they are making scientific arguments. Sadly they have often succeeded in that goal. I know a number of fans of Stephen Meyer’s ID-endorsing books. They sincerely believe he is writing compelling scientific arguments. After all, to them it sounds like science. Of course if I question them on Meyer’s evidence and use of the scientific method, they demonstrate little to no idea of what constitutes science.

    I came away from the presentation thinking that we not only need to improve science education in terms of breadth and depth, we need to stress what defines science and what makes modern science different from what the ancients meant by science. This confusion over definitions even became central to the Ham-Nye debate. So many people think that if an argument involves science terms, it must necessarily be a scientific argument. And that is why Stephen Meyer’s book get mistaken for science.

  19. Troy, it’s my experience that just about any business in any state will get whatever tax breaks they ask for so long as they aren’t completely ludicrous (however, see Texas) and no one contests them.

  20. Steve Poole: “I understand that the statement is meant to be facetious but how would someone else paying the tax bills somehow support a claim that ID is not creationism?”

    It was meant to be silly. Paying AiG’s tax bill is an admission that it is legitimately owed. There are many things that the DI could do that would back up their empty claim that ID is “not creationism.” They could say that AiG deserves tax breaks but that their religious view does not belong in public schools “like ID does.” Then they could devote ~half of their efforts to refuting the more absurd YEC claims – which most DI folk don’t agree with anyway. But that would undermine their “big tent” scam, so they’ll never do that. Besides, “ID is not creationism” is just a game to make their critics react with “Is too creationism!” And unfortunately, too many critics, like Pavlov’s dog, do just that. A much better retort is to calmly show how they bait-and-switch 2 definitions of creationism: ID is technically not “creationism” as most people define it (honest belief in one of the mutually-contradictory literal interpretations of Genesis). But it is creationism as critics define it (any pseudoscience that promotes unreasonable doubt of evolution and endorses any design-based non-explanation).

  21. @Steve Poole: Following on from your last paragraph, it’s been my experience (exclusively non-US) that science classes at school tend to emphasise the findings of science, rather than the methods that resulted in those findings and which ensured their legitimacy. I think this may play a substantial role in the generally poor understanding of science that we see, at least where the ability to distinguish between proper science and its various impostors is concerned. With his unique customary succinct eloquence, Carl Sagan phrased it thusly: The method of science, as stodgy and grumpy as it may seem, is far more important than the findings of science.

  22. I’m no expert in education, but I always learned best when it was presents as “here’s what was concluded, and here’s how that conclusion was obtained.” And it’s always on its own evidence, not perceived “weaknesses” in anything else. So with a little effort, one can expose every evolution-denier as either an Omphalist (believing X on faith despite evidence that contradicts it) or privately accepting “something like evolution” and objecting only to their paranoid perceived implication of acceptance (i.e. the “masses” would not behave properly).