Tax man says “No” to Noah’s Ark

ark-encounter-wallpaper-constructionAs you might, or perhaps might not be aware, the young earth creationist group, Answers in Genesis (the folks who assert the earth is only 6,000 years old because the bible says so), have been building a life sized replica of Noah’s Ark.

So how much would that cost? … apparently $73 million. They had originally planned to spend $150 million to build an entire theme park, and while there are indeed lots of young earth creationists out there, there are not $150 million of them, so they scaled it back to just the ark.

I’ve written about this before …

Latest News

The update is that their state sponsored funding has been pulled …

Kentucky’s Tourism Arts & Heritage Cabinet Secretary Bob Stewart informed representatives of the proposed Ark Encounter tourist attraction today that their project will not be eligible for up to $18 million in tax incentives from the state, due to their refusal to pledge not to discriminate in hiring based on religion.

That is good news.

If they do indeed wish to spend their own money building an Ark, then that might indeed be crazy and is something for us all to laugh at, but beyond that is also not really any of our business. However, tapping into state funding to the tune of $18 million for the promotion of their anti-science message and also happily discriminating whom they hire … nope, not cool, and so the folks in Kentucky made a good call there.

AiG claim: This is religious discrimination

Did they really claim that?

Yes they actually did …

Stewart cited AiG CEO Ken Ham’s Nov. 19 fundraising letter that accused the Beshear administration of religious persecution and reaffirmed their desire to discriminate in hiring based on religion. He also cited other statements throughout the year from AiG officials claiming the purpose of the park is to evangelize and indoctrinate its visitors.

“Certainly, Ark Encounter has every right to change the nature of the project from a tourism attraction to a ministry,” wrote Stewart. “However, state tourism tax incentives cannot be used to fund religious indoctrination or otherwise be used to advance religion. The use of state incentives in this way violates the Separation of Church and State provisions of the Constitution and is therefore impermissible.”

Stewart went on to wish the Ark Encounter project well, despite the fact that it will receive no money or incentives from the state.

What is quite clear to everybody, accept perhaps AiG, is that tolerance of their intolerant hiring policy is not “religious discrimination”, but rather is the legal obligation of the state. The state must be totally neutral and ensure that they do not in any way endorse any specific religious belief or associated discrimination, so the stance that Stewart takes is spot on.

You Can’t sink this ark

AiG have responded to all this with a new billboard campaign …

… er yes, I’m not exactly anticipating that this folly which is located many many miles from any body of water would actually sink, or for that matter if actually tested, would ever float, but what we do quite clearly see is that financially it is indeed sinking. Starting with $150 million, and then shrinking that down, to $73 million, and then $62 million, and now loosing another $18 million in funding … it is indeed sinking.

To help with that, Ken is now spending his fast shrinking pool of funds to pay for sixteen of these billboards to boast that nobody can sink his ship (not even god).

Now remind me again what happened the last time somebody made that boast … oh wait, that famous quote is mostly a myth, which is perhaps an appropriate association, because so is the actual ark.

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