Imagine what it’s like living in northern Kentucky. What’s there? Well, the place might have seemed rather dull in the past, but that was before the arrival of 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.
Imagine what that means to the people of Williamstown. Wikipedia says the place has a population of 3,227 according to the 2000 census. Hambo’s museum is near Petersburg, in an adjacent county, but it’s close enough to be a source of regional pride. And Hambo’s Ark Encounter is scheduled to be built in the same county as Williamstown. What could be finer? One day you’re in the middle of nowhere, and the next day you’re in the center of the universe!
The good folks of Williamstown are so thrilled about ol’ Hambo and his creationist empire that their town sponsored the sale of municipal bonds to help finance his expansion — see Ken Ham’s “Ark Encounter” Bonds. Hambo is the most famous Kentuckian since Daniel Boone!
With that as background, we can better appreciate what we found at the website of television WAVE 3, located in nearby Louisville. That’s 70 miles from Williamstown, which is too small to have its own TV station. Ignoring Cincinnati, which is in a neighboring state, WAVE 3 is probably the closest Kentucky TV station to Hambo’s base of operations. Their headline is Ark Encounter plans to sue Kentucky over tax incentives. There’s a comments section at the end. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
It promises to soar seven stories into the air, attracting visitors from all over the country – maybe the world – to Kentucky. The Ark Encounter, now under construction in tiny Williamstown in Grant County, has attracted as much attention as it eventually hopes to attract visitors both for its scope and its tussle with the Commonwealth of Kentucky, but few people have seen the park for themselves. WAVE 3 News got a tour of construction of the park.
Wowie — the whole world will be going to northern Kentucky to see Hambo’s Ark. And the TV station was given a tour! We can sense their excitement in the story that follows:
Lawyers say this encounter is about to make an appearance in court and it’s all over tax incentives. The lawyer for the Ark Encounter says it will sue the state in federal court to try to regain the rebates it believes the state should give it for building the biblical attraction.
We’re written about that a few times before — see Ken Ham’s Ark Park Loses Tax Incentives. Let’s read on:
[Mike] Johnson is an attorney for Freedom Guard, which is representing the Ark Encounter and its parent company, Answers in Genesis. Johnson is the only person the groups will let speak on camera about the ark. “It’s a life-sized recreation of Noah’s Ark,” Johnson said. “They’ve taken the measurements from the biblical accounts and what biblical scholars say how it would be measured, a massive structure.”
So while we had a guided tour of construction that lasted a couple hours, looking at all the clearing, plumbing and electrical work and that’s been done, Johnson talked to us the next day about what we saw. “They had to move over a million cubic tons, I think it was, of dirt,” said Johnson.
Plumbing and electrical work? Hey — that sounds authentic. And who cares if they moved a million tons or a billion tons — what’s the difference? The thing is going to be an honest-to-God replica of the original! We continue:
The reason for the caution [presumably in having only one spokesman]: Johnson said Ark Encounter and Answers in Genesis will file suit against Kentucky in federal court in February, challenging the state’s decision to yank incentives for the sales tax and income tax the ark project generates. “We feel the state has overstepped its bounds in terms of the constitution in state and federal law,” said Johnson, “and we’re planning now to proceed to the court to get that straightened out.”
They’ll sue in February? That’s only one day away. Isn’t this thrilling? Here’s more:
[T]he state pulled incentives over concern the ark would refuse to hire some people based on their religion and the tax incentives would be used to advance religion. The ark’s lawyers responded that it is clear they are a religious organization and the state’s conditions for getting tax rebates for the ark violate religious freedom.
This is going to be a great lawsuit. Here’s one last excerpt:
With or without the incentives, the park is supposed to open sometime in 2016.
It’s not just northern Kentucky — the whole world is eagerly waiting for Hambo’s ark. And Hambo is eagerly waiting for his tax rebates. And we’re eagerly waiting for the lawsuit. It won’t be long now.
Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.