Thursday, 11 December 2014

Ken's Ham-Fisted Plan Scuppered

The Lost Ark: Kentucky will not grant tax incentives to Ark Encounter - Insider Louisville

Thanks to their own arrogant stupidity, the plan by the money-making loons at Answers in Genesis to subvert the US Constitution and con the State of Kentucky into using taxpayers money to help them promote their fundamentalist Christian bigotry and Bronze Age superstition, despite the 'Establishment Clause', has failed.

AiG had been planning to create an 'Ark Encounter' theme park to promote its infantile belief that the story of Noah's Ark in the Bible is a literal account of an actual event 4000 years ago, and had promoted this to the State of Kentucky as a tourist attraction and not a vehicle for proselytising and promoting its anti-science creationist agenda.

However, Ham and his minions were unable to sustain that deception for long and even went back on a previous assurance that they wouldn't be discriminating against anyone who isn't a Christian fundamentalist creationist in its employment policies. In reality, the park would have been a magnet for fundamentalist Christian parents to bring their children to be misinformed about science, taught how to avoid critical thinking, and be indoctrinated into the creationist loon cult - and give a lot of tax-deductible money to Ken Ham's outfit.

In the end, Kentucky’s Tourism Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary, Bob Stewart, wrote to AiG's Ark Encounter attorney informing him:

As you know, since the filing of the original incentive application in 2010, we have strongly supported this project, believing it to be a tourism attraction based on biblical themes that would create significant jobs for the community, however, based on various postings on the Answers in Genesis (AIG) and Ark Encounter websites, reports from Ark Encounter investor meetings and our correspondence, it is readily apparent that the project has evolved from a tourism attraction to an extension of AIG’s ministry that will no longer permit the Commonwealth to grant the project tourism development incentives.

Bob Stewart, letter to Ark Encounter’s attorney, quoted in Insider Louisville.

It had looked like they were going to get an $18 million 'tax incentive' until the state became too embarrassed by AiG's own statements on its website and in fundraising letters to potential investors in which Ken Ham made it perfectly clear what he planned to use public money for, even moaning that he was being discriminated against by being required to comply with Kentucky's laws.

Atheist groups have launched major attacks in various ways. They tried to derail our bond offering, and are now attempting to undermine the sales tax refund incentive for the Ark project. These secularists are ‘rocking the boat’ and we have had to work hard to counter their attacks. But through it all, God has blessed and the Ark construction is well underway!

Right now, because of pressure from atheists and some very liberal newspapers in Kentucky on state government officials, our freedom of speech and freedom of religion with this outreach are now under attack.

One letter from the State of Kentucky to AiG makes it clear that the state seeks to discriminate against us because of our Christian message. The letter from a state official, with statements that criticize us for having an evangelistic purpose and possibly hiring Ark staff who agree with our Christian faith, is remarkable.

Here is one of the many incredible statements in that letter (which was also obtained and published by the liberal media): ‘The Commonwealth (of Kentucky) must have the express written assurance from Ark Encounter, LLC that it will not discriminate in any way on the basis of religion in hiring.’

But as is clear settled law, churches and other religious organizations are allowed to hire employees who agree with their religious viewpoint!

Who would have ever thought that such governmental interference would come to America!

But it has. You have seen many other attacks on religious liberty — and such attacks are increasing in America.

So Ken Ham couldn't resist having the traditional paranoid whinge about not being privileged enough, not being exempted from the laws everyone else has to comply with and not being allowed to discriminate against people he doesn't agree with; in other words not being allowed to use his piety as an excuse to be antisocial, and has lost his project $18 million dollars in the process.

Martyrdom at any price it seems but at least through his own inept stupidity and paranoia, Ham has been prevented from exercising what he sees as his God-given Christian right to ignore and subvert the US Constitution and help himself to public funds and use it to fleece credulous and scientifically illiterate simpletons out of even more money.

Incidentally, thanks to PZ Myer for bringing this to my attention through his Pharyngula blog.

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