Ken Ham Undermines His Own Lawsuit

Ken Ham says he’s suing the state of Kentucky for violating his God-given right to tax subsidies in denying them to his Ark Park, but he’s undermining his own case. In withdrawing those subsidies, the state’s Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet ruled that those incentives “cannot be used to fund religious indoctrination or otherwise be used to advance religion.” So what does Ken Ham do? Goes on the radio and says that the park will be “one of the greatest evangelist outreaches of our day, of our period in history.” Thanks, Ken!

httpv://youtu.be/NmH0opAqWf0

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  • Doug Little

    “one of the greatest carpenter evangelist outreaches of our day, of our period in history.”

    If he really is going to build an arc that could actually pull off the job this seems more like it. Hope there are plenty of Home Depots near the site.

  • raven

    Goes on the radio and says that the park will be “one of the greatest evangelist outreaches of our day, of our period in history.”

    Then why build it in Kentucky, one of the most fundie states we have? It’s a lot like sending Catholic missionaries to Vatican city.

    It is really a monument to the most complete genocide in history with only 8 survivors and a witness to just how incompetent the creator god is as he tries to fix his mistakes with mass murders and…fails. (Somewhat compensated for in that AFAWK, both are entirely imaginary.)

    Making believing the earth is 6,000 years old and Noah had a Big Boat full of dinosaurs, a litmus test for xianity works both ways. Creationism is one way out of xianity.

    PS Ken Ham is sounding a bit desperate here. I don’t see why. He has raised ca. $74 million, enough to make a good start.

  • Ethan Myerson

    Completely serious here… is it possible that Ham actually doesn’t understand the issue? I assumed his responses to the “atheist attacks” on his park were simply him being obtuse, spouting rhetoric to fire up his base. But is there a chance that somehow he still doesn’t understand what’s actually happening?

  • eric

    Yep. A critical flaw in the whole stealth creationism strategy is that you can’t remain totally stealthy and have it succeed. Early on, you have to reveal to evangelicals what you’re trying to do in order to get their support. Later on, you have to reveal to potential converts your religious beliefs, because proselytizing them is the entire point of the strategy. Smart outsiders are going to pay attention to both reveals, and then your jig is up.

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    @Ethan Myerson

    Yes, it’s quite possible that Ham doesn’t understand the issue. He, and his ilk, are absolutely convinced that they are right. They’re convinced that Christianity should dominate everything. The idea of separation of church and state doesn’t make sense to them at all. They can’t conceive of anything that isn’t influenced by Christianity.

    This is why it can be extremely difficult to talk to fundies. They can’t admit that there might be a legitimate alternative to their religion so there’s no basis for any discussion.

  • raven

    They can’t admit that there might be a legitimate alternative to their religion so there’s no basis for any discussion.

    That is not a problem. They have no legal, moral, or ethical right to dominate me, you, or anything and anybody.

    Just watch them closely. If and when they break our laws, arrest them, try them, and send them to prison. Our society has long had methods for dealing with religious kooks

  • raven

    If and when they break our laws, arrest them, try them, and send them to prison.

    It happens occasionally.

    The family planning clinic bombers and MD assassins get sent to prison. In some states, faith healing cultists who kill their kids get sent to prison. In some states, the Christian reeducation camps get shut down, usually after a kid or two gets killed.

    More often, teachers who think their jobs are to convert kids rather than teach are removed from public schools. Ministers who try to infilitrate the schools and subvert other people’s kids are kicked out.

    Society has a right and a duty to protect itself from fundie xians and often does so. Just saying no to toxic religion goes a long way.

  • abb3w

    I’m not convinced this undermines the planned lawsuit. (Have they actually filed, or are they still just whining in the press?) Based on the letter published here, their planned argument appears to be an attempt to parallel Rosenburger v UVA, reasoning that even if they are engaged in evangelizing, Kentucky’s exclusion of speech that is religious evangelism from such co-funding is an impermissible content-based discrimination. That might have half a shot at flying… if they weren’t engaged in hiring discrimination at the same time. (I’d myself also like to argue that the state has a compelling interest in maintaining a thick wall of separation, but I’m no lawyer, much less one involved in this prospective case.)

    As such, it seems Ken Ham’s admission doesn’t change anything about that argument.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Oh, come on! It’s totally secular! Just think of it as a fun-filled Universal Studios ride, but with a ride that doesn’t move and is full of Jesus.

    No. Wait. Let me start over…

  • wreck

    “is it possible that Ham actually doesn’t understand the issue?”

    The guy believes the Earth is 6000 years old, and that 4000 years ago there was a global flood. The list of things he doesn’t understand is limitless.

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    @ raven

    They can’t admit that there might be a legitimate alternative to their religion so there’s no basis for any discussion.

    That is not a problem. They have no legal, moral, or ethical right to dominate me, you, or anything and anybody.

    Just watch them closely. If and when they break our laws, arrest them, try them, and send them to prison. Our society has long had methods for dealing with religious kooks

    While that’s great in theory, in practice, it doesn’t happen very much. Christian hegemony is firmly entrenched in society and often entrenched in our laws. “Ceremonial deism” and all that. While some extreme cases may be prosecuted, the daily Christianity-is-the-only-possible-way stuff never will be. Take, for example, the Florida counties where they’ve stopped doing marriages altogether, rather than having to do SSM marriages. We all know the reasons for their actions, but it’s not clear that they are breaking any laws at all.

    Besides, my point wasn’t about laws, or criminal behavior. It was simply about being able to talk to someone. It’s just not possible to talk about atheism or secular humanism with someone who doesn’t believe that those things can possibly exist. For some of the fundies I know, there is no such thing as an atheist, just someone who believes in, but hates, God. See the responses to Ryan Bell’s apostasy for example. You can start here.

  • whheydt

    Once again, the Big Lie is trotted out. The Kentucky board didn’t decide to “revoke” the tax breaks. They decided–in light of AIG actions with regard to hiring–not to renew the *expired* tax breaks. The previous tax break approval expired because Ham took too long to get his project moving (and, of course, he took too long because he couldn’t raise enough money on time).

    Now granted, that’s a fine point, but it’s the sort of thing that a court could use to toss a suit without even getting to the rather ugly “merits” of the situation. Rather like dismissing a suit for lack of standing.

  • raven

    Besides, my point wasn’t about laws, or criminal behavior. It was simply about being able to talk to someone. It’s just not possible to talk about atheism or secular humanism with someone who doesn’t believe that those things can possibly exist. For some of the fundies I know, there is no such thing as an atheist, just someone who believes in, but hates, God.

    Sounds perfectly horrible.

    But again, it depends on where you are. I don’t even know many xians. The few I do know are almost all very old, i.e. my parents. Most of my friends and the kids of my generation are either apathetics or Pagans.

    I don’t bother trying to talk to fundie xians. There aren’t many of them around here and they tend to be not very bright or interesting.

    For some of the fundies I know, there is no such thing as an atheist, just someone who believes in, but hates, God.

    Just point out that they hate all the other gods, Thor, Zeus, Ahura Mazda, Marduk, Isis. Gaia, etc.. Usually their eyes go blank as their minds idle in neutral.

    It’s been my experience that they don’t really believe their own mythology anyway. Fundie-ism is just right wing extremist politics with a few crosses stuck on for show. The important part isn’t the religion, it is the politics. Which makes sense. The gods might exist but probably don’t and certainly do nothing. But politics is real and a route to money and power, both also real.

  • Crimson Clupeidae

    Hold on sec, Ken, let me reload that gun for you. You’ve got another foot left to shoot off…..

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    @Modusoperandi

    No, I totally get it. They are the same thing. In fact, I heard a rumor that Disney was going to rework the Pirates of the Caribbean ride into the journey of Moses in his basket in the bull rushes. In the Haunted Mansion, instead of ghosts popping up, it’ll be Jehovah’s Witnesses waving tracts at you. For It’s a Small World, all of the dolls will be white and they’ll sing Yes, Jesus Loves Me on an endless loop. Indiana Jones will be re-imagineered into a ride through Hell. Space Mountain with angels on clouds projected on the walls, singing endless praises to God. Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln will be replaced by an animatronic of Ken Ham lecturing on OEC, alternating with David Barton talking about America’s founding in Christianity. Fantasmic? A minute-by-minute show of Jesus battling with Satan in the wilderness for 40 days.

    In California Adventure, Soarin’ over California will be replaced by Soarin’ Over The Holy Land. Tower of Terror will be redone with a Dives and Lazarus theme, the drop being Dives’ descent into Hell. I understand that they are also considering remaking ToT into the Tower of Babel as an alternative. World of Color will be changed to World of Jesus, with the Son of Man projected on a screen of water, smiling benevolently at everyone.

    Disney’s been really worried about the fundie boycott due to their gay-friendly policies and this is a way of recovering that valuable audience.

    Hmmmmm… I wonder if I can fake the Christianity requirement and get a job with the Ark people. I think I’ve got some perfect ideas for them! It’s ok to lie, as long as it’s for Jesus, right?

    Besides Universal has the parting of the Red Sea as part of the studio tour. Obviously they are with the program.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    ArtK “@Modusoperandi

    No, I totally get it. They are the same thing. In fact, I heard a rumor that Disney was going to rework the Pirates of the Caribbean ride into the journey of Moses in his basket in the bull rushes. In the Haunted Mansion, instead of ghosts popping up, it’ll be Jehovah’s Witnesses waving tracts at you. For It’s a Small World, all of the dolls will be white and they’ll sing Yes, Jesus Loves Me on an endless loop. Indiana Jones will be re-imagineered into a ride through Hell. Space Mountain with angels on clouds projected on the walls, singing endless praises to God. Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln will be replaced by an animatronic of Ken Ham lecturing on OEC, alternating with David Barton talking about America’s founding in Christianity. Fantasmic? A minute-by-minute show of Jesus battling with Satan in the wilderness for 40 days.

    In California Adventure, Soarin’ over California will be replaced by Soarin’ Over The Holy Land. Tower of Terror will be redone with a Dives and Lazarus theme, the drop being Dives’ descent into Hell. I understand that they are also considering remaking ToT into the Tower of Babel as an alternative. World of Color will be changed to World of Jesus, with the Son of Man projected on a screen of water, smiling benevolently at everyone.

    Disney’s been really worried about the fundie boycott due to their gay-friendly policies and this is a way of recovering that valuable audience..”

    You put way too much thought in to that. (Also, Ham is a YEC).

     

    “Hmmmmm… I wonder if I can fake the Christianity requirement and get a job with the Ark people. I think I’ve got some perfect ideas for them! It’s ok to lie, as long as it’s for Jesus, right?”

    You’re thinking about faking Christianity? I don’t know if Ham’s park hires Episcopalians.*

     

    * Take that, generally liberal Christian denomination!

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    @Modus,

    Oops, yes, I meant YEC not OEC.

    I don’t know about too much effort, though. It was an amusing 5 minutes thinking of ways to convert Disney attractions to make them fundie-friendly. What’s sad is that I wouldn’t be surprised if Ham built attractions like the ones that I proposed — Poe’s Law does apply here.

    As for religion, if you’re going to lie, lie big! I was thinking something along the lines of Southern Baptist. Or even a Mars Hill spin-off.

    On a more rational basis, I wonder if Ham ever investigated the success of this Holy Land amusement park, or did a competitive analysis with this one. Whenever I’m in Orlando, I keep thinking that I should visit the latter one, for shits-and-giggles, but I don’t want to waste my precious travel time and money on these people.

    The failed one is what I imagine would happen to the Ark Park if it ever opened. If it wasn’t for the little old ladies sending in their dollars, I’d be rooting for it to open and then fail spectacularly.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    They’ve made no secret of this in either their lawyer’s response to the KY government or in any of their fundraising/propaganda letters or radio/TV appearances. Their strategy has consistently been to argue that yes, it’s religious, and yes, they’re trying to proselytize people, and yes, they fully intend to practice hiring discrimination. But they are still entitled to free taxpayer money because their religious beliefs trump all else; if you force them to follow a law they don’t like, that’s viewpoint discrimination.

    It’s not going to work (nor is it clear that they care if it works — it’s posturing for the purpose of fundraising and crying persecution). But at no time that I’m aware have they ever denied that evangelism was the point of the project.

  • John Pieret

    Area Man:

    But at no time that I’m aware have they ever denied that evangelism was the point of the project.

    Well, yes and no. The state and the investors were told that the park was going to be operated as a for-profit (not “for-prophet”) business. Obviously, the Noah’s Ark theme had religious connotations but it wasn’t until they, in effect, claimed a “ministerial exemption” from discriminatory hiring that it was made clear that this wasn’t just eye candy for YECs but an active ministry. That’s when the state got nervous and put on the brakes.

    Economic development funds can be given to religious organizations if whatever benefit to the religion is incidental to a benefit to the general welfare. An example was in the early 2000s Detroit was trying to revitalize the city center by building stadiums for its football and baseball teams. At the same time they gave out funds to repair and spruce up nearby buildings, including a church. The idea was to aid the general welfare by making the downtown area more attractive to visitors and new businesses. The courts found that was okay. But helping to create a huge new “church” from scratch would likely be problematic. Also, the rather underhanded way Ham went about it could give the state a reasonable excuse to say that it has lost confidence in the backers of the project.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    @ John Pieret,

    I agree with everything you say. What I was getting at though is that they don’t accept the law as you and I reasonably understand it. After the Hobby Lobby case (which the AiG lawyer cites endlessly), they really do think that simply being Christian means they’re exempted them from any law that would require them to behave in a religiously-neutral manner, even when accepting public funds. They truly believe themselves privileged; you and I can’t discriminate against Christians when hiring, but they can discriminate, because their religious beliefs say they should. And they regard this as applicable to any situation, not just those exemptions that current law recognizes.

    Obviously, in terms of the law, their understanding is not only immoral and prejudicial but is an invitation to anarchy, so it clearly can’t work. (But then again…the fucking Roberts court). The point being that by now at least, AiG has no reason to hide their religious motivations because, in their endless arrogance, they think their religion is a carte blanche. Hence, they aren’t trying to hide it.

  • Mark Main

    Ham is delusional, though I don’t believe him to be stupid. I think he has resigned himself to the fact that he has lost the tax breaks and doesn’t really expect the lawsuit to win. He is going to use the lawsuit to continue to keep this whole thing in the news because he thinks it will keep the donations coming. Once he loses he will continue to cry long and hard about how he is persecuted. We know how much the evangelicals love to feel persecuted and will rally around their persecuted brethren. It’s a win win for Ham. His clueless followers will donate to him for being a religious hero no matter what happens and he knows it.

    The one caveat to all that is I truly believe he is delusional enough to believe he is doing the whole thing for God and that it’s ok to lie and deceive because he’s doing it for God.

  • weatherwax

    #21 Mark Main: My own thoughts were along a different line. I suspect he’ll complain but actually be thrilled. When the whole thing’s collapsed he can point to the withdrawn tax break as the reason, and face fewer questions as to where the money went.

    If he can raise more funds for a phony lawsuit, so much the better.

  • abb3w

    Followup — news out today that AiG has moved past whining to the press, and is now declaring to the press that they’re filing the lawsuit.