In a blog post today by Ken Ham over at Answers in Genesis called Intolerant Pastors Unite with Secularists Against Ark Encounter, Ham attacks the pastors who along with Americans United for the Separation of Church and State have filed a motion to intervene in Answers in Genesis’ lawsuit against the state of Kentucky.
Now, the Americans United for Separation of Church and State is once again attacking AiG’s life-size Noah’s Ark project. It has lodged a motion with a federal court to intervene in our lawsuit with the state of Kentucky. The group wants to be part of this legal action—on the side of the state—to try to stop AiG from being allowed to participate in the sales tax rebate.
AU has found people who will be the intervenors: “four Kentucky taxpayers who oppose the use of their tax dollars to promote religion,” declares AU, and who “pay taxes, including sales and income taxes, to the Commonwealth.”
Now these are four Kentucky citizens who pay taxes and whose lives are affected by how Kentucky uses its tax dollars. Whether it be to fund public schools, fix roads, repair bridges, you name it, if the state pays for it, these citizens rely on it.
Yet Ham calls the fact that these four citizens pay taxes in the state “inconsequential,” because he claims they do not have to visit the park:
“[U]nless they chose to visit the Ark once it opens and pay sales tax on their tickets. If they don’t choose to visit, none of their money will be used in any way to subsidize the Ark Encounter. They will not be compelled to ‘subsidize a religious ministry against [their] will.'”
But that is a very short sided view for Ham to have.
For starters, the state is already paying for road upgrades to make traveling to the Ark Encounter possible, so taxpayers are picking up the bill here, but even more importantly, Kentucky has had some education finance problems for public schools and an influx of tax dollars in the sum of $18 million could be very helpful in fixing that and other problems in the state.
Yet Ham wants to generate tax revenue and then keep it, removing the possibility of state-wide upgrades that all the citizens could enjoy.
The Ark Encounter is not going to generate massive amounts of tourist spending in the state based on the states visitors report that shows less than 400,000 people will be visiting the park each year, so Ham has no argument that the park will help the overall economy like the NASCAR track –in which Ham often references as a project that was approved for the tax rebate– will.
Ken Ham refuses to see the big picture.
He lost his tax subsidies because of illegal hiring practices and using taxpayer funds to spread a religious message, a clear violation of the first amendment.
But he is also refusing to understand why others in the state, including Baptist ministers would fight against such tax funding.
These ministers could very well approve of the message, but they understand their tax dollars should not be spent spreading it, and they also understand that tax dollars in the states hands is much more useful to the citizens of Kentucky than in the hands of a man just wanting to expand on a theme park nobody wants to visit.
And in an odd, childish twist to the end of Ham’s piece, he attacks AU’s stance against tax dollars being given to AiG and the Ark:
I suppose that AiG and the Ark are AU’s “villains of the month” for fundraising purposes. They want their supporters to send them money to help them stop Christians from their free exercise of religion.
An odd statement from a man whose organization ends each post with a donation link and a link to a “prayer” page in which donations are requested.
(Image: Answers in Genesis / Video screenshot)