In a new post by Ken Ham on Answers in Genesis titled, The Real Reason We’re Building the Life-Size Noah’s Ark in which he masterfully misunderstands everything about the Ark Encounter tax incentive loss; again.
But not before first falsely reporting that the Ark Encounter attendance record in the first year of opperation would be 1.4 million people.
“In fact, the very latest study by America’s Research Group (a renowned organization) has increased its estimated minimum attendance for the first year by 200,000 guests—up to 1.4 million people!” wrote Ham.
Except ARG is not renowned in making theme park estimates. As I noted in a previous post, they focus on retail shops and strip malls and even more important, ARG is actually closely tied to AIG and Ham as it is run by Britt Beemer, the co-author of one of Ham’s books.
In fact, the state commissioned its own estimate by a group that has a history of theme park and tourist, the Hunden Strategic Partners in Chicago. As I wrote earlier on this subject,
“[…] Hunden estimated in the first year the park would receive roughly 325,000, with a peak attendance in the third year around 425,000, declining to 275,000 after that.”
So even though these numbers by ARG are nothing but a fabrication by a close friend and colleague of Ham, he knows they are disputed, tried to defend them, and still continues to use them!
Then Ham gets back to the lost tax incentive. The one which is long gone and he just can’t let it go.
In a letter to AiG, the state laid out the reasoning the group was losing the 18 million dollar tax incentive piece by piece, it was clear, they opposed giving a “for-profit” business tax dollars to discriminate against employees and which has made it clear that the mission of their business is to spread the gospel, making them a religious organization and not a business eligible for taxpayer money.The states letter highlighted,
On February 27, 2014, in a press conference streamed live from the Creation Museum, Mr. Ham described how the Ark was designed to further AiG’ s evangelical mission. He has stated that he wanted people to come and have an encounter with Noah’s Ark, but at the same time to have an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Patrick Marsh, AIG’s Director of Museum Design, in describing the Ark’s design has said that the Ark Encounter will present an evangelical, yet entertaining, Gospel message, and that the project is really about evangelism to the unchurched.
At the Hammer & Peg ceremony on May 1, 2014, supporters were reminded that Deck 3 of the Ark would contain the Christ Theater and referred to Ark Encounter as ‘this Gospel proclaiming project that will stand as a monument to biblical authority, reminding people of God’s judgment on sin as well as His great mercy.’
One speaker proclaimed ‘that the new Ark Encounter would save people to Jesus just as the original Ark saved Noah, his family and the animals.’ In addition to these statements, the current design schematic for the Ark featured on its webpage shows the Christ Theater and a room called, ‘Why the Bible is True’ as prominent features on the third floor.
In the November 19 fundraising letter, Mr. Ham characterized the purpose of the Ark and its exhibits as a mechanism to ‘point people to God’s Word and the gospel’, and stated his belief that ‘it is going to be one of the most effective evangelical outreaches of our era.’
Yet Ham claims this is a “for-profit” business model that is worthy of taxpayer money. He has never read the constitution.
“You can clearly see what the bottom line is for the state regarding its tourism incentive program and the Ark Encounter: it’s not the physical Ark as a tourist attraction that certain officials (and secularists around the country) have objected to—it’s the message inside the Ark that they don’t want guests to see and consider,” Ham wrote.
But this is incorrect, it is not the message, it is the message coupled with a request for tax money. The state is fine with the ark being built, but they cannot defend such a tax incentive to a religious ministry.
Ham is simply trying to turn their words to make it seem as though AiG is being discriminated against for being religious.
Ham makes it no secret his park is meant to spread the word of God, and Kentucky has made it no secret you cannot do so with taxpayer money.
(Image: Answers in Genesis / Ark Encounter)