I first met Ken Ham almost 20 years ago at a Christian leadership conference. A few years later, I found our organizations in partnership on a youth “evangelism” project that was focused on, of course, dinosaurs and… young earth creationism. Truth be told, I inherited the project from a fundamentalist predecessor and found myself deeply troubled by a partnership that had already proven to threaten the credibility of our own organization with donors and even our own staff. As such, when AIG made a request to take over all aspects of the project, I was elated to grant their request and remove our organization from perpetuating the anti-science indoctrination of young minds.
Being in similar circles of Christian ministry, the paths of our organizations crossed several times over the years. I watched AIG grow considerably, from the development of home
schooling indoctrination resources to the opening of the Creation Museum. When I was called by an AIG executive asking for a donation to the museum project, I asked, “Will there be any humans riding dinosaurs?” When I was eagerly assured there would be, I declined to give. When I was later contacted about giving to the Ark Encounter, I asked, “Why not use revenues from the Creation Museum to fund the ark project?” I never got a straight answer, but I’m pretty sure it had to do with the age-old non-profit mantra, “Why build a sustainable business when donors will foot the bill in the name of Jesus? Just pass the collection plate.”
Though, obviously my dissent was in the minority as AIG was able to quickly raise $102 million dollars to add an Ark replica to their growing
amusement indoctrination complex that will now cost a family of four $198.00 per day to visit. (Those $10 parking spots in the middle of Kentucky must be really nice.)
Of course, it’s not enough for a 501c3 religious non-profit organization like Answers In Genesis to be tax free, but AIG was also able to take advantage of a state-funded program designed to increase tourism and swing a sweetheart deal to receive $18 million in kickbacks on sales tax – in addition to a deal where 75% of their property tax will go toward paying their $60 million in bond debts. (All of this, despite being a christian company that openly discriminates to hire only Christian workers).
But, I’ve got to give it to Ken Ham as his organizations are doing a remarkable job of ensuring generations of donors to come through the systematic dumbing down of America’s youth. Well done, sir – mission accomplished. But, wait! Maybe things aren’t as “amazing” as AIG’s spin machine would like donors to believe? (There are some pretty revealing clips from Tracey Moody’s tour over on Friendly Atheist.)
SPOILER ALERT: Yes, hundreds of thousands of “tourists” might spend millions of dollars to visit the ark and creation “museum” over the coming decades. However, their presence will not alter the actual observable, testable, and provable science of biology, astronomy, geology, and physics. Just imagine what all of those donations, entry fees, and tax breaks could have been used for, instead?