Ken Ham Explains the Constitution

We are frequently astounded by 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 mind-boggling Creation Museum.

Ol’ Hambo is not only the world’s holiest man, he also knows more about science than everyone else. And that’s not all! Today, dear reader, you will see that he is also a Constitutional scholar. His latest post is Suffering from a “Lack of Knowledge”. He’s not referring to himself, of course, because he knows all things. Rather, he’s talking about you. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

You may be aware (it made international news a few weeks ago) that a US federal judge ruled in favor of AiG in its religious freedom lawsuit against the state of Kentucky! State officials, including the previous governor, had denied AiG’s and the Ark Encounter’s right to participate in a state tourism tax incentive program available to all qualifying groups. The federal judge also confirmed that as a religious organization, AiG had a right to use a religious preference in hiring at the Ark.

Yes, we know all about it — see Ken Ham’s Ark Wins First Round in Court. When the news was announced, we thought it was merely a routine denial of the state’s motion to dismiss Hambo’s lawsuit, and that the case would drag on to a trial, followed by the expected appeal process. But Matt Bevin, Kentucky’s new Governor — who is obviously a flaming creationist — decided that the state wouldn’t appeal. So Hambo had his victory, and he’ll be receiving tax money from the state for his openly religious theme park. Hambo says:

So why were so many of the Ark’s opponents shocked and dismayed with the judge’s sensible ruling? Not only were there the usual aggressive secularists/atheists who were stunned, but even some in the church decried the judge’s decision. They claimed the judge did not abide by the so-called “separation of church and state,” and/or that it was illegal for AiG to use a religious preference in hiring.

Why were we shocked? Because the result violates only the First Amendment of the US Constitution, but also the Kentucky Constitution. Section 5 of the state’s Bill of Rights says:

No preference shall ever be given by law to any religious sect, society or denomination; nor to any particular creed, mode of worship or system of ecclesiastical polity; nor shall any person be compelled to attend any place of worship, to contribute to the erection or maintenance of any such place, or to the salary or support of any minister of religion; nor shall any man be compelled to send his child to any school to which he may be conscientiously opposed; and the civil rights, privileges or capacities of no person shall be taken away, or in anywise diminished or enlarged, on account of his belief or disbelief of any religious tenet, dogma or teaching. No human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.

Also, although Section 189 of the Kentucky Constitution applies to the state’s school system, it’s nevertheless instructive. It says:

No portion of any fund or tax now existing, or that may hereafter be raised or levied for educational purposes, shall be appropriated to, or used by, or in aid of, any church, sectarian or denominational school.

None of that matters. The result of the prematurely aborted litigation is that Hambo will get tax money from the state. And now, from the unimaginably towering height of his supreme wisdom, Hambo tells us about the Constitutional principles involved:

I have found that many do not have the knowledge they should about the US Constitution or the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh — instruct us, Hambo! [*End Drool Mode*] Let’s read on:

Not only has much of the church today failed to instruct the current generation on the things of the Lord as they should have, but many people in both the church and the secular world do not have an understanding of history. As a result, they may be doomed to make the same mistakes of the past. Ignorance abounds! I’ll share some examples of this ignorance to highlight the lack of understanding.

Hambo then gives some examples of how little history young people know — which is indeed deplorable — after which he tells us:

I could give you many more eye-opening examples. The reason I mention them is that we have the same sort of lack-of-knowledge problem in regard to the Ark project, the tourism incentives, and the employment rights of religious groups in America. So many people are just ignorant of the law! And they do not understand the US Constitution.

But Hambo understands such things. He continues:

For instance, we’ve all heard the phrase “separation of church and state” uttered over and over again. But it’s just not in the US Constitution!

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We’ve pointed out a few times before that “checks and balances” doesn’t appear in the text of the Constitution either, nor does “limited government,” or “federal republic,” or “popular sovereignty,” or many other phrases that are nevertheless routinely used to accurately describe the Constitution. So it is with “separation of church and state.”

When Hambo raised that same issue earlier, we wrote Ken Ham Unhinged: Creationism & Theocracy Too, in which we quoted letters from James Madison, the man who drafted the First Amendment, stating that the absolute separation of between ecclesiastical and civil authorities was the Amendment’s purpose. But Madison’s opinion is nothing compared to Hambo’s. The deluge of his Constitutional wisdom is unstoppable:

Of course the First Amendment was written to prevent a state-sponsored church from being imposed on people, as it was in England. Actually, a form of state church is being imposed on our nation: our taxes are used to fund a public education system that by and large has imposed the religion of naturalism (atheism) on generations of students!

Brilliant — the First Amendment was designed to protect us from the evils of teaching evolution! Here’s more:

Secularists often dismiss the phrase “the free exercise” of religion. They want to treat Christians as second-class citizens! Just because an organization like AiG is a Christian one, doesn’t mean it can’t receive a tax rebate incentive offered to any organization that will bring economic impact and jobs to a state. That’s what the Tourism Development Program in Kentucky offers.

Aaaargh!! No one says Hambo can’t freely practice his religion. No government agency is trying to shut down his creation museum, or his “life size replica” of Noah’s Ark. But he wants tax money contributed to his activities — and he feels that if he doesn’t get it, he would be denied his right to exercise his religion. He explains:

We said all along that to deny AiG this right to participate is viewpoint discrimination and violates our First Amendment rights to the free exercise of religion. On the basis of the Constitution, the federal judge ruled that the state must allow AiG the opportunity for its incentive application to move forward. That’s what we expected would happen if a judge ruled according to the US Constitution and the law.

Well, Hambo got his ruling. He quotes a bit from the judge’s misguided opinion, and then he gloats:

The gospel will be tastefully presented inside the Ark. Due to the anticipated huge flow of guests, we will be adding a separate 800-seat theater. It will also present the gospel message through the showing of a powerful video to our guests.

Kentucky tax money at work. The people must be pleased. Hambo goes on a bit more, but we’ve seen enough. Oh — before we quit, we want to thank Hambo for teaching us what the Constitution is all about. We’d be so lost without him!

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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12 responses to “Ken Ham Explains the Constitution

  1. The exact phrase, “separation of church and state,” is NOT in the Constitution, just as “democracy” does not appear there, nor “federal judiciary,” nor “White House” nor “Executive Mansion” nor “liberty.”

    Here’s a roadmap for finding separation of church and state in the Constitution. Hint: It’s it no fewer than four articles, plus the First Amendment. https://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/still-looking-again-heres-how-to-find-separation-of-church-and-state-in-the-constitution/

  2. “Ken Ham Explains the Constitution”

    I’m trying to think of a less-likely coupling. The closest I can come is

    “Honey Boo Boo Explains Quantum Mechanics”

  3. The amendment protects citizens, I know that. Can an attorney tell us if it also protects organizations, or other legal entities, in the same way?

  4. michaelfugate

    If Ham belonged to a real religion, he wouldn’t need protection from science….

  5. Mary L, Wikipedia has an article on Corporate personhood.

  6. So now that he’s got his tax breaks, will he resume hiring only people who will sign a statement of faith, or submit a reference from their pastor?

  7. Thanks, I should have thought of that. Brought back some memories I was trying to find. So, basically, corporations don’t have amendment rights because those apply to individuals.

  8. The gospel will be tastefully presented inside the Ark. Due to the anticipated huge flow of guests, we will be adding a separate 800-seat theater. It will also present the gospel message through the showing of a powerful video to our guests.

    Er . . . am I nuts, or did Ham originally claim his Ark park was not meant as a religious enterprise, in order to sucker, er, I mean, *cough, cough* persuade the Kentucky legislature to give it tax privileges to which it wouldn’t be entitled if it were identified as religious?

  9. Charles Deetz ;)

    So is that a theater, or a ‘for-profit chapel/church’? Will the theater be conveniently rented to a congregation on Sundays?

    But really, as an attraction, isn’t the point to impress people with the reality of an ark, not a movie about it. And for the non-ark-believer visitor, they aren’t going to want to be submitted to ‘powerful’ messages. He is missing the point of the whole project, I think.

  10. It seem to me that now that Hambone has the creationist governor on his side, he’s decided he can make it a full-scale sky fairy promotional site with the support of the tax payers of Kentucky. Maybe some of the citizens of that poor state should support the removal of the governor for misconduct in office.

  11. abeastwood says: “Maybe some of the citizens of that poor state should support the removal of the governor for misconduct in office.”

    That ain’t gonna happen. Hambo knew what he was doing when he chose to locate in Kentucky.

  12. Mary L, whether corporations or other entities are protected by the First Amendment was one of the issues in the Citizens United case. In earlier litigation, it’s been determined commercial entities generally don’t get First Amendment rights, so a rum maker does not have a First Amendment right to advertise, contrary to restrictions on advertising alcoholic beverages.

    But Citizens United muddies all that area, badly.

    See a good lay explanation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._FEC