AIG’s Suit Against Kentucky Is Coming

The last time we wrote about this subject was Ken Ham’s Tax Litigation Coming Soon. Now there’s an announcement at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.

The announcement is AiG to File Discrimination Suit against Kentucky, written by Mark Looy, AIG’s co-founder and vice president. He says it’s adapted from a press release they sent out today. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Answers in Genesis (AiG), developer of the Ark Encounter theme park in northern Kentucky, confirmed today it is filing a federal lawsuit against state officials for denying the park participation in the state’s tax rebate incentive program. Although the program is available to all qualifying tourist attractions seeking to build in the state, AiG’s application was rejected solely because of the religious identity and message of AiG. The lawsuit explains how this action by Kentucky officials, including Gov. Steve Beshear, violates federal and state law and amounts to unlawful viewpoint discrimination.

He’s talking about AIG’s Ark Encounter project, but you already know that. Then he quotes Hambo, the world’s greatest authority on science and everything that’s holy:

“Our organization spent many months attempting to reason with state officials so that this lawsuit would not be necessary,” said AiG president Ken Ham. “However, the state was so insistent on treating our religious entity as a second-class citizen that we were simply left with no alternative but to proceed to court. This is the latest example of increasing government hostility towards religion in America, and it’s certainly among the most blatant.”

There are other alternatives, by the way. AIG could hire anyone they want, just like AIG itself does, and forgo the sales tax rebates. Or they probably could have the tax rebates if they were willing to hire anyone, regardless of religion, as long as the employees were able to do the job and were also willing to comply with the organization’s style of operating. But apparently, AIG wants to hire only true believers. Let’s read on:

AiG has produced a video that provides relevant background concerning its suit. It features Ham, who became nationally known for his debate against Bill Nye “The Science Guy” one year ago this week, and constitutional law attorney Mike Johnson. Johnson is the chief counsel of Freedom Guard. Serving as co-counsel in the case is Nate Kellum, chief counsel of the Center for Religious Expression. Both public interest law firms are providing their legal services at no charge to AiG in order to defend AiG’s religious freedoms.

They’re representing AIG at no charge. Very interesting. Here’s the website for Freedom Guard. They have a page with information about Johnson, who is described as their chief counsel.

In addition to that, we learned from one of our clandestine operatives that he has recently become a member of the Louisiana state House of Representatives — see Johnson takes House seat without opposition! That website lists some of the organizations he’s represented, including some we’ve encountered before, such as the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Living Waters Publications/Way of the Master, Coral Ridge Ministries, Answers in Genesis, and the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools. It also has this quote from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal:

I have known Mike Johnson as a trusted friend for more than a decade, and I am glad he has now chosen to offer his time and talent to the Legislature.

It looks like ol’ Hambo has found the right man for the job. Looy’s post also has a video AIG prepared to explain the suit, which we haven’t seen yet, about which Looy says:

In the video, Johnson explains the well-established legal principles supporting AiG’s case, and why these principles are so important to defend. AiG notes that all freedom-loving Americans should be concerned with these government abuses, regardless of their individual perspectives on the book of Genesis. When such an unconstitutional state action goes unchallenged, it sets a dangerous precedent for all other religious and minority groups.

So that’s the news. The lawsuit is coming. For obvious reasons, we don’t want any comments about Johnson that could be interpreted as defamatory. The last thing your Curmudgeon needs is to get sued because of something like that. So be nice, or there will be some severe editing, which we’d rather not have to do.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

26 responses to “AIG’s Suit Against Kentucky Is Coming

  1. Funny. You’d’ve thought an aspiring patriarch like Kanny Humbug would simply pray for it to rain down a good Old Testament smiting on his detractors, not opt for this secular path of filing some namby-pamby lawsuit.

    (Curmy, 4th paragraph: “There are another other alternatives, by the way.”)

  2. Popcorn at the ready!

  3. This is probably a rhetorical question but, who exactly is the target audience for a video of a pending lawsuit?

  4. Lawsuit? Wasn’t there something in the New Testament condemning lawsuits?”

    Better to cheat than to be cheated?”

    And even if he can loophole his way around that, what exactly are the grounds for the lawsuit? He is being treated as a second class citizen because he isn’t allowed to treat others as second class citizens?

  5. /Sighs/ Oh voice from on high, I summon thee to fix an obvious error I made on the last comment when quoting the NT. Please grant the mercy and absolution only you can bring.

  6. /Crosses fingers and sacrifices a goat to the one above, then tosses salt over his left shoulder for good measure/

    [*Voice from above*] You’re probably referring to 1 Corinthians 6:1-8, which says, in part:

    7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?

    8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

  7. Diogenes Lamp

    If I were in a drugstore and saw any product named Freedom Guard, I would be ashamed to present it to the clerk for purchase. Anything named Freedom Guard can’t be good.

    And why is it that when liberal pursue anti-discrimination measures, conservatives call it “equality of outcome”, but when Christian conservatives pursue anti-discrimination measures, they call it “Freedom”? What Ken Ham demands is govt handouts and enforced equality of outcome.

  8. Since the litigation is over money I’m a bit surprised they do this kind of thing for free. I could see pay only if you win, but for free they are putting down money so Hambo can put sales taxes in his own pocket.
    Looking at their facebook page they ask the question about Christian litigation and answer it too with a link:
    http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2014/10/24/is-it-wrong-for-christians-to-defend-their-rights/
    Basically if you find a Bible verse you don’t like, keep lookin’ pardner!

  9. Troy, these organizations are either funded by rich religious people, or by donations from credulous less-rich followers. They do just fine for themselves, and, as a bonus, get to say that they’re doing their work “pro bono” which, in the court of public opinion, looks pleasantly egalitarian.

  10. The most disturbing thing I saw on Johnson’s bio, and it drove me to drink, it did, was that we’re members of the same fraternity. Brother Mike.

  11. Regarding Ed’s link:
    I like Johann Scheepers comment basically asserting that Hambo might be able to have it established that all his personnel are in fact ministers and so Hambo is exempt by the “ministerial exception” written into Title VII. The reason I don’t think this will fly is that the whole issue started by requiring someone doing CAD work on the Ark to agree to the statement of faith. One could in fact make the case that all guides and greeters are ministers, but not someone doing CAD work to design the ark as well as all other maintenance and food service jobs.

  12. I wonder if all the bulldozer operators, truck drivers, cement pourers, plumbers, electricians and all the other workers on the Ark Encounter site were required to sign Ham’s statement of faith.

  13. If the whole thing boils down to separation of church and state, why don’t they throw the whole case out and tell Ham to pay up like all the rest of us working stiffs or shut the h e double hockey sticks up?

  14. @ Troy
    I like that link also. Scheepers cuts thru the mumbo jumbo nicely and makes sense. The one group of comments I didn’t understand was “rcohenfox”; what does he mean by “accept”?

  15. @jack102248:

    The one group of comments I didn’t understand was “rcohenfox”; what does he mean by “accept”?

    That had me a bit curious, too. The article was written by “Fox Rothschild LLC” of which Mr. Fox is a member / partner. I’m guessing that he was moderating all comments. His little tidbit after each comment was that it was accepted to be published on the site.

  16. Thanks. I went back and clicked on the link and they seem to specialize in labor relations cases.

  17. Diogenes, to a right-winger, “equality of outcome” is when he gets something that any of his neighbours have. “Freedom” is when he gets something more than anything his neighbours have. Both are his absolute right.

  18. On a semi-relevant note: The publicity surrounding the lawsuit may seem to boost donation to Ark Encounter. Their “donation progress bar” at arkencounter.com made a sudden, over-night leap from $ 17.681,248 when I checked it on February 2, to $ 18,182,663 when I came back the next day. So clearly some wealthy supporter suddenly donated half a million (+ some small change from supporters with no-so-deep pockets). Money well spent, hm?

  19. You know you’re dealing with a fraudulent lawsuit when people feel they need to “explain” it via video. Ham and his defenders hope to win via PR what they’ll surely lose in the courts.

  20. hnohf, I think you overestimate the sophistication of Hambo’s website. I doubt the website gets continuous updates, with every donation being logged in. It is more likely the web master just updates the number once every month or so.

  21. Diogenes Lamp

    Creative Challenge: who can write the best commercial for the product Freedom Guard™?

    “Hello, I used to have a problem with incontinence. I couldn’t bicycle along the beach or play checkers with my grandson without my bowels suddenly and explosively releasing. It was so embarrassing, I had to stay at home like a hermit. Then a friend told me about Freedom Guard. Freedom Guard gave me the confidence I need to get out of the house without fear or shame. Now I can walk along the beach at sunset with my attractive wife, sail my yacht around the world, and rake leaves with my grandson without anyone knowing that I just pooped in my diaper. Freedom Guard. Where there’s Freedom Guard, there’s a huge pile of [edited out].”

  22. Troy — I have been following the donations at arkencounter.com since 2013, and they do seem to update daily. At one point they also “updated” the goal, making it 29.5 million instead of 24.5 million as before. I suspect that the goalposts will continue moving, so that the “full amount” will NEVER be raised: If Ham allowed that to happen, people might stop sending money, and he obviously can’t have that!

  23. hnohf-Ok, yes and I see it changed today. I was looking for a “last updated” date but didn’t find one and I noticed the numbers were hard coded in the source rather than referencing a variable (like from a database maybe) making me think updates were less regular that they are.

  24. The suit has been filed. The complaint is here. It’s a 48-page pdf file.

    I probably won’t make a separate post about it. Things won’t get interesting for a while, and Hambo will probably say very little at his blog. But there will undoubtedly be some interesting news stories.