Answers in Genesis — A Dynasty of Drool?

We post about the Discovery Institute’s tax returns when they’re available, but it’s no fun to read that stuff, and we’ve never bothered to look at the tax returns of Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo).

If you care to look, you can see AIG’s 2013 return here. But if you’d rather spare yourself the agony, you can see the results of a study by Cincinnati station WCPO-TV: Is Answers in Genesis’ tendency to hire family members problematic? They say, with bold font added by us:

For Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham, work has been very much a family affair. The Boone County, Ky.-based non-profit best known for its Creation Museum, which portrays a non-evolutionary history of the world’s creation based on the Biblical book of Genesis, employed seven of Ham’s family members in fiscal 2012-13. That’s according to the most recent Form 990 – an informational return non-profits file in lieu of an income tax return – that the organization filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

It’s not remarkable for creationist ministries to employ more than one family member. For example, the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the granddaddy of all creationist outfits — was founded by Henry Morris (1918-2006). The founder’s eldest son, Henry Morris III, is carrying on the family business as ICR’s Chief Executive Officer. His son, Henry IV (the grandson of ICR’s founder), is “Director of Donor Relations at the Institute for Creation Research.” Another son of ICR’s founder, John D. Morris, is now president of ICR.

But according to WCPO-TV, Hambo’s AIG employs seven family members — in addition to Hambo himself. We’re told:

Those family members were Renee Hodge, Ham’s daughter, who earned $34,000 that fiscal year; Danielle Johnson, another daughter, who earned $19,767; Kristel Ham, a third daughter, who earned $13,312; Jeremy Ham, a son, who earned $40,166; David Hodge, Ham’s son-in-law, who earned $59,973; Susan Ham, a daughter-in-law, who earned $21,002; and Stephen Ham, Ken Ham’s brother, who earned $74,856. Ham himself, who is the organization’s CEO, had $193,361 in total compensation that year.

Ol’ Hambo is certainly a good provider for his family. Let’s read on:

Altogether, Ham and his family members received a total of $456,437 in compensation from Answers in Genesis Inc. in fiscal 2012-13. That amounts to 4.4 percent of the $10.4 million in total compensation-related expenses that the organization reported that year. That figure includes payroll, insurance, pension accruals and payroll taxes.

We don’t know if this is unusual, or if it’s routine for organizations like Hambo’s. But it’s certainly interesting. And here’s something else we learn from WCPO-TV that’s interesting:

According to the Form 990, Answers in Genesis had $19 million in total revenue during fiscal 2012-13, versus $19.5 million in total expenses.

Wow — they lost half a million! Why? Could it be — gasp! — that the thrill of visiting Hambo’s creationist museum and buying creationist trinkets at his gift shop is gradually wearing off? No problem. When the Ark “replica” is finished, there’s certain to be a boost in revenues.

There may be more goodies to be discovered in that tax return, but we’re not going to slog through the thing. It’s sufficient to see that the Hambo family is well taken care of. That’s what’s important.

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

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10 responses to “Answers in Genesis — A Dynasty of Drool?

  1. michaelfugate

    In true biblical tradition, the boys earn much more than the girls….

  2. Our Curmudgeon notes on the AiG balance sheet:

    Wow — they lost half a million!

    By remarkable co-incidence, that’s pretty much the “$456,437” the Ham Clan took in remuneration for their inspirational work…

  3. The Ham’s is makin’ bacon!

  4. This doesn’t surprise me, they want only true believers as employees — and how better to ensure true belief than raising them in the belief from birth (with the commitment of marrying into the family as second-best)?

  5. WCPO-TV reports:
    “Altogether, Ham and his family members received a total of $456,437 in compensation from Answers in Genesis Inc. in fiscal 2012-13.”

    Not a bad profit for running a non-profit.

  6. I suspect that the members of the Ham family are otherwise unemployable.

  7. So what we’re looking at here is business masquerading as religion masquerading as science.

  8. Ah, but methinks the really big money comes from the for-profit publishing side of the Ham Family and Friends Business Combine. Books, CDs, magazines, and various materials for homeschool, vacation bible school, sunday school, and general church and home use (and vigorously promoted at their web site and “seminars”) are purchased by AIG from companies Ham has very close business connections with. I can’t speculate as to whether they are part owners of these several publishing companies; at the least, most often the Hammites are the authors and co-authors themselves of these published materials. I think that AIG simply buys them, then resells these materials at a modest price margin. The largest profit, of course, probably goes to the publishers and Hammites. But of course the materials are initially purchased with by the millions donated to each year to “promote the ministry” of the non-profit AIG. What’s most interesting about this business plan, is that when Ham gave up a good living as a teacher to become a professional YEC, he started by publishing materials for his own church and other local churches. This activity gradually expanded, especially after joining forces with the big-time Australian YECers. And when he came to the US, and some years later had the Court battle that split the US/Australian YEC combine, the real battle was not over theology, but the publishing rights of the in-house magazine, which from it’s humble beginnings in Ham’s garage.

  9. @Eric Lipps
    What I wonder is, what if somebody would disclose that their advocacy of creationism in the classroom was not based on religion? That it was a business, or a social movement, or politics. Therefore there would be no constitutional problem with teaching it.

  10. It makes sense he’d hire family, they are some of a minority that can pass the strict Hambo faith litmus test. Keep in mind northern Kentucky might not be the best place to spearhead a career. Hambo wouldn’t want them moving away and *gasp* going to another church!
    Ray Comfort does the same thing keeping the family employed.
    Kent Hovind’s basically owned a whole city block for his family in Pensacola (he had fun fun fundamentilism ’til the government took the dino a-way)
    It’s actually the Darwinian thing to do. (Promote your biological fitness by providing for your closest relatives.)