This one really bothers us. It’s from 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.
Ol’ Hambo seems to be celebrating some stupendous legal victory. We’ll let you decide if we misunderstand him. He just posted this at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), his creationist ministry: Third Anniversary of AiG’s Significant Religious Freedom Victory. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
Today marks the third anniversary of our federal court victory over the previous governor of Kentucky and the state itself. The state tried to block the Ark Encounter from receiving a tourism tax rebate (a return of sales tax generated within the actual park itself — money that would not have been available without the attraction’s existence), simply because of the religious/biblical nature of the Ark Encounter’s Christian, biblically historic themed attraction. We’re very thankful that we won the case — it was a decisive victory and a great win for religious freedom in America.
Do you remember hearing about a Supreme Court victory for Hambo? Or Federal appellate court victory? There wasn’t any. There wasn’t even a final decision in a trial court.
To refresh your memory, the state of Kentucky had decided that due to the religious nature of Hambo’s ark, it didn’t qualify for the state’s sales tax rebate program. Hambo sued the state over the issue, and the case was just getting started. It wasn’t even close to the trial stage. Hambo asked for a preliminary injunction preventing the state from denying him the tax rebates during the trial, and on that motion the judge ruled in Hambo’s favor (Opinion & Order). We wrote about it in Ken Ham’s Ark Wins First Round in Court.
Then an odd thing happened. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin got involved and decided not only that the state wouldn’t contest the injunction, but it would stop denying AIG the benefit of the tax rebate scheme. So Hambo won, but it was a political, not a judicial victory. Nevertheless, Hambo describes the litigation as if it were a landmark decision in his favor.
The rest of Hambo’s post is praise for his lawyers and bluster about the latest controversy regarding public school trips to the ark. For example, he says:
Hateful atheist groups such as the American Atheists and Freedom from Religion Foundation have been trying to bully schools into believing that field trips to religious attractions would be unconstitutional — when they’re not! As long as teachers don’t tell students they must believe what they see and hear, or tell them that it is truth, there’s nothing unconstitutional about taking a group of public-school students to see a different historical or religious perspective.
He’s bluffing, and we hope no one is misled. Well, the organizations that oppose public school field trips to Hambo’s ark are probably run by lawyers, so they know what’s going on. But school principals need to be aware of actual court decisions like the one described here: AHA Applauds Court Ruling Against Religious Field Trips.
It’s all huffing and puffing at this point, but somewhere in Kentucky there’s a drooling school official who’s eager to pile the kiddies into a school bus and send them to the ark. Then the fun will begin.
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