The Kentucky Governor’s Race & Ken Ham’s Ark

Once again, we write about the Ark Encounter project, a theme park under construction in northern Kentucky, promoted by 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.

You know that Hambo’s outfit is currently embroiled in litigation with the State of Kentucky over AIG’s application to receive millions in sales tax rebates. The last time we wrote about it was Ken Ham’s Litigation: Americans United Joins In. We don’t have any news about the lawsuit — at least not about what’s going on in the courtroom. Instead, this is about the effect of that mess in Kentucky generally.

Our usual news sweeps didn’t pick this up, but we were told about it by one of our clandestine operatives. It comes from the Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky (not far from ol’ Hambo’s Creation Museum). Their headline is: Ky gubernatorial candidates on the issues An icon below the headline will take you to the newspaper’s comments feature. Only a few excerpts from the news story are of interest to us. We added some bold font for emphasis:

Here are the views of the six candidates for Kentucky governor on a range of issues. The questions were emailed to them this week.

The issues that were put to the candidates involve tax reform, pensions, the cost of higher education, health care, gambling, a statewide smoking ban in workplaces and indoor public places, jobs and the minimum wage, climate change, and — of all things — ol’ Hambo’s Ark Park.

On taxes, the Republicans want them lower; the Democrats don’t. On health care, the Democrats favor “Obamacare” and the Republicans don’t. On climate change, one Republican (Comer) doesn’t believe in it. The other two who responded (Heiner and Scott) say it may be happening, but they don’t want the state’s coal industry shut down. Only two Democrats responded. One (Conway) says it’s happening, but he still wants to protect the coal industry. The other (Young) says “polluters should pay.” Those are unremarkable responses, pretty much in line with what one would expect these days.

Okay, now for the topic of interest around here — ol’ Hambo’s ark project, and the millions in sales tax rebates that he’s suing to get. Although the matter is in court, and it involves purely Constitutional questions about the role of the state in paying money to religious organizations, this is somehow an issue in the Governor’s race. Here’s the question that was sent to all of them:

Do you favor or oppose extending $18 million in state tax rebates to the Ark Encounter project in Grant County, which has acknowledged it plans to limit its hiring to Christians? Why or why not?

This is what the candidates say, Republicans first:

Bevin: I favor the extension of these rebates, because to do otherwise is discriminatory and flies in the face of protected 1st Amendment rights. Last time I checked, Christians’ jobs and money are just as critical in supporting our economy as any other dollars.

Comer: I favor extending these tax rebates. This should be viewed like any other economic development project by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It will bring hundreds of jobs to Kentucky.

Heiner: Favor. I support an even playing field for Kentucky Tourism Development Program dollars. Assuming that the Ark Encounter’s religious preference in hiring is within legal bounds, it should receive fair and just treatment under the program guidelines.

Scott: I favor the existing agreement for performance-based tax rebates for this project and expect that anyone who would want to work there would probably be a Christian.

They’re all theocrats, and therefore they don’t care about the Constitution of the US or of Kentucky. Now the Democrats:

Conway: I support the right of individuals to live by their religious beliefs, but we’re a better state and country for not discriminating in employment.

Young: Oppose. They demand the “right” to practice religious discrimination in their hiring practices. While they might legally be allowed to do that — if they’re actually some kind of church, for example — the state is under no legal or ethical obligation to subsidize their business.

So there you are. That’s our two-party system in action. We have previously expressed our dismay at the current state of affairs — see Creationism or Socialism: Which is Dumber? But before you read it, be warned — our Curmudgeonly views will upset most of you. Being a Curmudgeon, we’ve learned to accept it.

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

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31 responses to “The Kentucky Governor’s Race & Ken Ham’s Ark

  1. “But before you read it, be warned”
    I have read it many months ago, perhaps more than a year. What did upset me was not your views – the Soviet political system was worse than dumb – but the errors an obviously intelligent person – with a great sense of humour nonetheless! – made. For instance socialism equating with the Soviet political system, which is about as dumb as equating modern Evolution Theory with the writings of Darwin. For instance calling nazism a branch of socialism – that’s about as dumb as saying that Hitler was a creationist. Hint: Hitler expellled the Strasser brothers several years before he obtained power; when he did he had already fully embraced capitalism and was close friends with the German economical elite. See point 3 below.
    And that’s only the beginning of the dumb errors in your “analysis”. But yeah, if you accept it you even should vote on Ol’ Hambo would he ever be a candidate. It’s the same type of thinking. How did it go again? Something like

    1. Formulate a conclusion you want to be true;
    2. Pick a piece of evidence that seems to confirm it;
    3. Ignore and dismiss the rest, no matter how;
    4. That’s it.

    Exactly the method you used to answer the question you asked ……

  2. michaelfugate

    What makes me wonder about the sanity of Republicans is that they continue to cut taxes, but spend money like it is going out of style. Where do they think government money comes from? Do they really believe that money for defense and prisons comes from a special source immune to economics? If they pray hard enough Jesus will transfer the “loaves and fishes” miracle to tax money? This is not to say Democrats are sane either, but, my God, reality is not a land that current Republicans in office live.

  3. @michaelfugate: Unfortunately, the Republican’s *don’t* want to spend the money — not on infrastructure, anyway. Our roads in this totally Republican Great State of Indiana are in terrible shape. The way we have dodge potholes feels like we are immersed in a giant video game.

  4. Charles Deetz ;)

    The way my brain wants to size up these responses is what I would say out loud in public about this ‘case’. Further, I am repulsed by those who ignore or flip the very strong constitutional questions that are involved in the case. Young is the only one who does resonate, but I still feel his response lacking.

  5. I despise the two party system of our country. You have to choose between the lesser of two evils. Of recent years, I tend to take George Carlin’s advice and not vote.

  6. “Creationism or Socialism: Which is Dumber?”

    Since creationism is not a form of government, the question should be “Theocracy or Socialism: Which is Scarier?”

    To compare Democrats to the leaders of the handful of one party socialist states that are left in the world is ridiculous.

    But if you want to broaden your definition to include social democracies, then I’ll let you choose between Sweden and Iran.

  7. If I was the one candidate that actually had the correct answer (Young) I would have also pointed out that the religious criteria were so narrow the majority of Christians in the state would be ineligible to do work of any sort in the Ark park.

    To Comer I’d suggest Hambo’s park IS being treated like any other economic development project. That is if you get the tax break you can’t discriminate.

  8. Diogenes' Lamp

    Germany has social democracy, and they’re an economic powerhouse.

    The idea that regulations such as worker safety, no child labor, anti-pollution etc. are “socialism” is just a joke. That’s not socialism.

    The Democrats don’t believe in socialism; they don’t believe in anything, except in being nice and inoffensive and not hurting the delicate feelings of war pigs, jingoes and theocrats.

    The Republicans believe in lots of things and all of them are insane. The Republicans see an American institution and think, “How can we work from within to destroy it?” Republicans will literally study how public school boards operate and think, “How can we get elected to the school board to destroy public schools and prevent improvements to education?” Republicans see a Congressional science committee and think, “Let’s destroy it by appointing as committee chairman the most anti-science lunatic in our entire party.” They put James “Snowball” Inhofe, who spends half his time in Uganda encouraging them to kill the gays, in charge of the environment.

    If you want to see how Austrian libertarian economic theory works out, look at Kansas under Brownback. Austrian economic theory belongs on the scrapheap along with Marxism.

    Jefferson would spin in his grave. With patriots like this, America doesn’t need enemies.

  9. DickVanstone

    Two groups of people try to, and succeed in some cases to use a government to force their view of education on one another(and all other hapless bystanders). They both are cowardly groups of fascists hiding behind altruism and afraid of the Free Market System. Why?

    Both groups should know better. One group even supposedly claims to fight for Liberty, Reason, and Free Enterprise. Yet they force their teachings through Government which they insist are for our betterment. They are in denial if they think they aren’t socialists.

  10. michaelfugate

    Dick, who are you talking about – and what teachings?

  11. DickVanstone

    People here fighting for evolution to be taught by daddy gov, and anti-evolution fighters wanting their dogma taught through daddy gov.

    While I believe in Evolution, forcing education onto the people is socialism. Not free market.

  12. DickVanstone

    As to the earlier discussion about money. They aren’t spending money anymore than I do playing Monopoly. We’ve been using funny money since 1971.

  13. DickVanstone

    Thank you Curmudgeon for not banning me. Speaks alot to your character. I am, shall we say, passionate.

  14. DickVanstone

    I affectionately call our currency, “Plantation Scrip.” Thanks Legal Tender Laws for forcing me to be paid in this non-PM backed piece of paper.

    How do those shackles feel? I’m tired of mine.

  15. docbill1351

    Dick Flintstone A little study will reveal that humans are social animals, anthropology 101. We live in a society that is by definition social. Ice cream socials are nice gatherings, even for curmudgeons and old Doc Coots. As a society we all contribute to the common good by providing basic services, including public education. It’s 2015. What is this “legal tender” of which you speak? Your worth and mine consists of a set of records held by various financial institutions, contracts if you will, that document our ownership of assets comprising a variety of “instruments,” as they say: stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities and tangible objects such as houses, cars, works of art, dungeons filled with gems that only have a market value, but no intrinsic worth themselves.

    Education, in particular, is not a democracy. There is good pedagogy, and bad. State boards of education are set up to provide the best pedagogy for students and to discard tripe. Nobody “fights” for evolution to be taught. Evolution is a fact and the modern theory of evolution is the most comprehensive explanatory framework, a scientific theory, supported by every line of scientific study. Creationism, on the other hand, is a religious ideology with no scientific basic, no empirical evidence and based on dogma, inconsistent opinion and revelation. It is a false premise that opinion can be compared to fact in a “free market.” They are different commodes.

    I would suggest, Flintstone, that a little pedagogy on your part would go a long way to dispel your misconceptions about science, markets, economics and education. Good luck and remember, buy low, sell high!

  16. DickVanstone

    Whatever misconceptions you think I have about science, markets, economics and education is a mistake on your part. I guess the point I should have stressed was both proponents and opponents of evolution want to use the Government to ‘educate’ every citizen. That is socialism. Both sides insist that is for the betterment of everyone, altruism, and government forcing it is fascism. The only way to win in that market is to not play. I’ll wait for the free market and I won’t hold my breath. Too many hate liberty and freedom in the land of the fee, home of the slave.
    I appreciate your attempt at humoring a dreary soul. I’m assuming that’s what you are attempting by hacking my last name.

  17. DickVanstone

    I should have put a paragraph break at. “the only way to win…”

    Apologies

  18. DickVanstone, a comment you posted with some links you consider essential got hung up in the spam filter. It’s not my doing. Some other blogger on WordPress must have classified you as a spammer. Here, that hasn’t happened. But you’re difficult to understand and therefore somewhat marginal.

  19. DickVanstone

    No worries, you aren’t the first person to call me marginal or insignificant.

    Speaking of pedagogy(had to look that up) I’ve been teaching myself Latin the past couple of nights. My favorite phrase, hands down, is: Sic semper evello mortem tyrannis!

  20. In the list of Republicans, Heiner qualified his response with “Assuming that the Ark Encounter’s religious preference in hiring is within legal bounds…”, indicating he might be closet rational. He says what he needs to in order to placate the base, but he clearly is not going to fight a decision that the state cannot subsidize a religious park.

  21. oops, forgot to close the italics.

    [*Voice from above*] I am with you always.

  22. Dick Vanstone: “While I believe in Evolution, forcing education onto the people is socialism.”

    No one is being “forced” into being educated by the government, Dick. For those who have the means, there are private schools. For those without the means and those who prefer “do it yourself”, there is homeschooling.

    Peace, Brother. It’s not worth getting worked up over; we’re all gonna die, anyway. Enjoy every minute you have before that time comes. I gathered from comments you made in the past that you are a connoisseur of good bud; well, if so, mellow out.

  23. “… limit its hiring to Christians”. Read “Young Earth Creationists”. Ham won’t settle for just anyone who claims to be a “Christian” in a generic sense. You must also sign a paper confirming that you believe in a 6000-year-old universe and that you are, in general, a card-carrying fundamentalist and a devoted Bible-literalist.

    Only a subset of all “Christians” need apply.

    I don’t believe Ham would ever hire even a Catholic.

  24. DickVanstone

    Retiredsciguy: “No one is being “forced” into being educated by the government, Dick. For those who have the means, there are private schools. For those without the means and those who prefer “do it yourself”, there is homeschooling.”

    All true, however my taxes, property and otherwise, say another story. Also, very few have the means as they are scraping by or too busy working and are forced by default. Their children are sent into those State indoctrination centers to pop out another wave of “good citizens” which in reality are nothing more than debtor tax slaves.

    “Peace, Brother. It’s not worth getting worked up over; we’re all gonna die, anyway. Enjoy every minute you have before that time comes. I gathered from comments you made in the past that you are a connoisseur of good bud; well, if so, mellow out.”

    I think it’s all too important and complacency was the cause of our problems and will only add to them.
    I firmly believe the mellow will be all the more sweet as a free man, until then it’s simply therapeutic. I don’t want to use the black market, but so long as there is no free market it is my duty to break the law. I only wish I could freely grow next to my bananas on my private property without threat of imprisonment and loss of said property. I have been considering growing in order to uphold my patriotic duty, but the inevitable Storm trooperS coming has me a bit on edge. I don’t know if I want to die yet, and I will, because I will fight.

  25. DickVanstone

    Retiredsciguy: I meant to say Peace to you as well.

  26. DickVanstone

    @docbill1351: Perhaps you should study Legal Tender Law. Here is a short, short version: The reconstruction Congress passed Legal Tender Laws. The Supreme Court deemed them unConstitutional. The reconstruction Congress packed the Supreme Court. Legal Tender Laws were now Constitutional.

    @ Sensuous Curmudgeon: I hang my head in shame. I only registered as ‘somewhat marginal.’ I WILL work harder next time.

  27. Ah, yes, that good old antebellum Supreme Court!

  28. DickVanstone

    Docbill1351: “Your worth and mine consists of a set of records held by various financial institutions, contracts if you will, that document our ownership of assets comprising a variety of “instruments,” as they say: stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities and tangible objects such as houses, cars, works of art, dungeons filled with gems that only have a market value, but no intrinsic worth themselves.”

    Your definition of ‘worth’ sounds similar to that of my fathers. It is an aberration of what self-worth truly is. Honor. Loyalty. Love. Commitment. Courage. These are measures of worth.

  29. DickVanstone

    Happiness.

  30. DickVanstone says:

    I hang my head in shame. I only registered as ‘somewhat marginal.’ I WILL work harder next time.

    Here’s the deal. On your blog, if you have one, you can write all the political lectures and rants you like, and you can post thousands of links to what you consider recommended reading. However — and this is very important! — you can’t do that here. If you’re not interested in what’s going on here, then this isn’t the place for you. My meaning should be clear and without ambiguity.

  31. @DickVanstone – ‘Their children are sent into those State indoctrination centers to pop out another wave of “good citizens” which in reality are nothing more than debtor tax slaves.’

    Sorry for being late to this discussion. I have various gripes with the public school systems, and am not at all convinced that my local school district spends money in the wisest of ways. Like all institutions, school systems tend to make the institution’s survival and the well-being of the inner circle their highest priorities. (The same can be said for Congress, the military establishments in many countries, the Catholic church, etc.).

    But despite what kids are taught in school, the public schools only have the kids for 5 days a week, forty or so weeks a year, and 13 years for K-12. That leaves a lot of time for the parents to teach and influence their children. (Parents who don’t have time to spend with their kids should perhaps have considered this before becoming parents in the first place).

    As far as kids being indoctrinated to become “debtor tax slaves.” Many people end up living in debt as a result of getting sucked into our consumer culture. I see this more as a a result of advertising, striving for status, keeping up with the neighbors, etc. as opposed to anything the schools teach. It’s the parents who either live within their means or else borrow what they can to own the latest and greatest shiny new toys, fashionable clothes, etc.

    Advertisements aimed at children and their parents tell them that the way to be happy is to consume. But there are ways to avoid this commercial indoctrination: turn off the TV, check out some books from the (free) local library, or just spend some time walking and playing at a park.

    It’s of course up to the parents as to whether or not their kids get dragged to church for the parents’ preferred religious indoctrination. IMHO this is a form of child abuse, but the legal system does not treat it that way.