Ken Ham’s Ark Will Get State Tax Funds

You know all about the suit filed against Kentucky to obtain state funds for the religious theme park being built by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. He’s the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed not only for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG), but also for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.

As we reported in Ken Ham’s Ark Wins First Round in Court, Hambo prevailed over the state’s motion to dismiss his suit, and then — to our surprise — Governor Matt Bevin decided that the state wouldn’t proceed any further. So the case was over and Hambo had his victory.

But there was a bureaucratic matter that needed to be dealt with. Because Hambo’s organization is a religious ministry, he had been fighting the state’s decision not to provide him with tax funds. That administrative decision had to be overturned. And it just happened.

This is the headline in the Lexington Herald-Leader of Lexington, Kentucky, the second-largest city in the state. State awards $18 million tax break to Noah’s Ark theme park. They have a comments feature. Here are some excerpts from the news story, with bold font added by us:

A state agency remade by Gov. Matt Bevin last week has approved $18 million in tax breaks to a Grant County amusement park that will feature a “life-size” Noah’s Ark. The $92 million Ark Encounter project, owned by the same company as the Creation Museum in Petersburg, is scheduled to open July 7.

Bevin “remade” the agency? So it seems, and by an odd coincidence, the bureaucrats are now favorably disposed toward ol’ Hambo. We’re told:

The tax break allows approved tourism sites to recover as much as 25 percent of their investment through a rebate of state sales taxes paid by visitors. The theme park also will receive tax breaks from Grant County and the city of Williamstown. The state also designated $11 million in road funds for an expanded interchange off Interstate 75.

Verily, the blessings of heaven are descending upon ol’ Hambo — at state expense. Let’s read on:

Last week, Bevin reappointed one previous member of the authority board and added four new members.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Thanks, gov! But hey — we know about the court case, but still, is Noah’s Ark the sort of thing government should be supporting? Silly question. In Kentucky, that’s no problem. The Lexington Herald-Leader informs us:

Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, has said previously the project will hire only Christians but won’t discriminate among denominations.

Oh — they will discriminate in hiring, but they won’t be discriminating among denominations. In Kentucky that makes it okay. Here’s one last excerpt:

“It is extremely unfortunate that the state is giving tax incentives to an organization that will discriminate against Kentucky citizens,” said Daniel Phelps, head of the Kentucky Paleontological Society and a longtime critic of the project.

Phelps is obviously one of those evolutionist secularists Hambo’s been telling us about. Well, Hambo showed him who’s running things in Kentucky.

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12 responses to “Ken Ham’s Ark Will Get State Tax Funds

  1. I don’t understand the “Christians only” hiring practice. The Jewish faith pretty much owns the Noah’s Ark story, since they wrote the original. Christians only annexed it, so to speak. Also, Islam includes Noah and the Ark in their faith tradition, and muslims could provide excellent guides to the Ark. There is nothing uniquely christian about the ark.

    Why discriminate against others who believe equally in the story being presented?

  2. michaelfugate

    Doesn’t this reduce the chances of anyone taking legitimate discrimination against Christians seriously? There is no valid reason that Ham needs to discriminate if this is an “entertainment” venue as advertised.

  3. I’m right now imagining Ham’s reaction to a tax break-receiving project with organizers who will only hire athiests, but won’t discriminate amongst kinds of athiests.

    And I also wonder if Ham will hire Christians who accept that evolution is true.

  4. For Ham, it was simply a matter of “ask (then sue) and ye shall receive.” But now the city/s, county and state will all lose tax revenue to this fiasco of Hams. Bet the Gov will cut the opening ribbon. Also, any state approved tourism sites will surely exclude any non-christian endeavors.

  5. Dave Luckett

    It’s a truly weird thing, but we have, in theory, an established Church here, and so does Britain. But that Church, its clergy, and its employees, pay taxes on non-charitable enterprises, at the same rate and on the same conditions as any other corporate entity. The same for all religious bodies. I don’t know how this controversy might arise, here. Any corporate enterprise starting up a tourist attraction might get taxation concessions, and that would be uncontroversial. But hiring only their own co-religionists to work in one? Er… no.

    Yes, there are still, in Britain, some remnants of political power for the Church. Bishops of the established Church sit in the House of Lords – although it should be said that the Lords has practically no real political power at all, not since 1919. It cannot seriously hinder any legislation from the Commons, and can do no more than to point out in public its consequences. Even that is not true for Australia, though.

    The churches are exempted from the various non-discrimination Acts, State and Federal, for their clergy and for certain traditional roles – so the Catholics are permitted to ordain only male priests, and so on, and they are allowed to operate one-sex schools, hostels and Orders, and even to require members of their own faith as teachers, even in schools that may make a profit. The Baptists, I know, require a reference from a Protestant pastor with any teacher’s resume. That much is lawful. Another exemption is for very small businesses, I find. Why that should be so defeats me. But still.

    The idea that they might hire only their co-religionists for non-teaching, non-clergy, non-domestic employment in a for-profit entity with more than six employees – that would be unlawful. Not only would the religious body not receive tax breaks; it would be prosecuted. Well, at least I hope it would be, although I think there would be some correspondence first.

    And we’re the ones with the established religion, and no absolute separation between Church and State!

  6. Mark Germano wonders

    if Ham will hire Christians who accept that evolution is true.

    Absolutely not–as Ham makes explicit in the AiG Statement of Faith, viz.:

    … to proclaim the absolute truth and authority of Scripture and to provide a biblical role model to our employees, and to the Church, the community, and society at large, it is imperative that all persons employed by the ministry in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide by and agree to our Statement of Faith…[snip]…

    …The various original life forms (kinds), including mankind, were made by direct creative acts of God. The living descendants of any of the original kinds (apart from man) may represent more than one species today, reflecting the genetic potential within the original kind. Only limited biological changes (including mutational deterioration) have occurred naturally within each kind since creation….

    So, Christians who understand and accept science (and they are legion) need not apply.

  7. Dave Luckett

    That’s AiG, Megalonyx, which owns Ark Encounter, LLC, which is the for-profit company that in turn owns the land, the Ark “replica” and the various concessions that they will presumably rent out. Employees of Ark Encounter do not work for AiG, and so technically are not subject to its statement of faith.

    Technically.

    But Ham has won the right for Ark Encounter to discriminate on religious grounds, and Ham holds as the central tenet of his religion, which he calls “Christianity”, that the Bible is an absolute authority that must be read literally wherever he, Ken Ham, says it must. Ham really believes – or at least affects to believe, which amounts to the same thing – that what he calls “evolution” is a separate religion, an aspect of “humanism”, which is by definition “non-Christian”.

    So far as Ham is concerned, then, he may – and he certainly will – require employees of Ark Encounter LLC (which he controls) to be creationists, as well as to make an affirmation in extremely specific terms of their religion.

    Perhaps more recent data exists than this: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/11/11/what-ken-ham-isnt-telling-you-about-ark-encounter-funding/

    but at 15 November last, they required “commitment to grow the outreach of Answers in Genesis,” “Salvation testimony,” “Creation belief statement,” and “Confirmation of your agreement with the AiG Statement of Faith.”

    Perhaps someone with more google-fu than I could examine current job listings, if any, to see if they’re still doing that. Whatever, I wouldn’t believe them if they said they weren’t.

    And all because one damfool Governor is so brain-dead that he can’t see the consequences of requiring the taxpayers to support a religion.

  8. Christian Sharia appears alive and well in Kentucky.

  9. Ed: “The Jewish faith pretty much owns the Noah’s Ark story, since they wrote the original. Christians only annexed it, so to speak. Also, Islam includes Noah and the Ark in their faith tradition, and muslims could provide excellent guides to the Ark. There is nothing uniquely christian about the ark.”

    Yes! I wished that would be rubbed in much more. Also that most Jews and a slight majority of Christians don’ take it literally anyway. Most Jewish and Christian religions officially accept evolution. I googled the Governor, and he’s a Southern Baptist. I’m not sure, but I think that’s one of those radical ones that did not officially endorse evolution (which does not mean that any individual church leader denier it, let alone takes the Ark story literally, either Ham’s young-Earth version or one of the old-Earth ones).

    Either way this ought to be an opportunity to ask the Governor detailed questions of what he thinks the evidence supports in terms of “what happened when” in Earth’s history, and watch him either come across as an idiot, or evade the questions, which is effectively admitting that science is right, but “pleading the 5th” about it. Plenty of people will be complaining about his church-state position, so there’s no need for everyone to do only that.

  10. Megalonyx: “So, Christians who understand and accept science (and they are legion) need not apply.”

    Nor do OECs and Discoveroids. Klinghoffer (a Jew) would be “expelled” on 2 counts.

  11. Probably not a good idea to tie your employment fortunes to Hambo’s ark anyway…

  12. The Lexington Herald-Leader informs us:

    Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, has said previously the project will hire only Christians but won’t discriminate among denominations.

    Oh — they will discriminate in hiring, but they won’t be discriminating among denominations.

    In other words, discrimination against non-Christians somehow doesn’t violate the First Amendment, as far as Ken Ham—and apparently the Kentucky legislature—sees it.

    Throw the Christians to the lawyers!