No dosh for Noah’s ark tosh in Kentucky

No dosh for Noah’s ark tosh in Kentucky

A proposed Noah’s ark theme park in Northern Kentucky has been refused around $18 million (£11.5-m) in state tax incentives amid concerns that it will promote religion and violate the separation of church and state.

But. according to this report, the bonkers group behind the project – Answers in Genesis – says it is considering legal action in federal court.

The state Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet said in a letter yesterday that the Ark Encounter theme park has changed its position on hiring policies since it originally filed for incentives in 2010 and now intends to discriminate in hiring based on religion.

It also said the park has evolved from a tourist attraction into an extension of the ministry activities undertaken by AiG, which promotes a literal interpretation of the Bible’s old testament and argues that the Earth is only 6,000 years old.

Tourism Secretary Bob Stewart wrote in the letter.

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.

Officials will “take no further action” on the application, he said.


AiG isn’t taking this blow lying down, saying it will run billboards to counter “myths” about it’s proposed Ark theme park, and it accused “secularist groups” of scuppering its attempts to sow superstition in Kentucky:

In a statement issued today, AiG said:

Bowing to pressure by secularist groups outside the state, Kentucky officials announced late Wednesday a decision to deny the Ark Encounter theme park an opportunity to participate in a popular tax rebate incentive program offered by the state’s tourism office.

By letter on December 10, state officials told the theme park’s developer, Answers in Genesis (AiG), that the only way AiG could participate in the rebate program is if AiG would agree to two conditions: 1) waive its right to include a religious preference in hiring, and 2) affirm that it will tolerate no ‘proselytizing’ at the theme park.

AiG has countered that the state’s new conditions are unlawful because it is well-established under both federal law (Title VII) and state law (KRS § 344.090) that religious organizations and entities like AiG are specifically permitted to utilize a religious preference in their hiring. Moreover, the government cannot show hostility toward religion or discriminate against persons or organizations who express religious viewpoints.Said AiG president Ken Ham.

We have been working on this project with Kentucky for more than two years, so this just-received denial announcement is as disappointing as it is costly for our ministry without the expected rebate. Our construction has already begun at the Williamstown, Kentucky, site, and it must proceed. We are fully prepared to defend our fundamental rights in court if necessary, as this issue is of huge importance, not only to us, but to every religious organization.

AiG is currently evaluating its legal options in the wake of the state’s actions, and will announce its decision within the next several days.


Said AiG president Ken Ham, above:

We have been working on this project with Kentucky for more than two years, so this just-received denial announcement is as disappointing as it is costly for our ministry without the expected rebate. Our construction has already begun at the Williamstown, Kentucky, site, and it must proceed. We are fully prepared to defend our fundamental rights in court if necessary, as this issue is of huge importance, not only to us, but to every religious organization.

The $73 million first phase of the Ark Encounter involves building a full-scale, 510-foot wooden replica of the ark in Grant County to present the mythical biblical account of Noah surviving a worldwide flood.

The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority gave preliminary approval in July but thereafter sought written assurances that project leaders would not discriminate on the basis of religion.

20 responses to “No dosh for Noah’s ark tosh in Kentucky”

  1. Broga says:

    I suppose AiG must believe the cobblers in Genesis. But how can they be sane? Remove the religious aegis and these beliefs would demonstrate that they are clinically insane. A small boat that has every creature on the planet collected, including polar bears and koalas, and put on the boat. Then there is the food. Eucalyptus leaves for the koalas and the polar bears love munching seals.

    The breeding will be incestuous. Will the wolves eat the deer? Who clears up the mountains of shit. Have they got all the insects on there. Have they got the Tyranosaurus Rex and Diplodocus etc. And the birds.

    What about the moral questions. The benign God exterminating all the people and creatures he has created. Has AiG got any answers to questions such as these and so many others? The situation is not without its unintended humour.

  2. Carlynot says:

    How can you argue with people like this. Just got to sit back and try to find some humour in their stupidity and greed.

  3. Angela_K says:

    Broga. If all living things where drowned except those on this boat, where are the skeletons, there should be Billions? I doubt Ken Ham could answer that.

    About time the tax exempt status of this ludicrous project was withdrawn.

  4. John C says:

    Lets hope they waste a pile more cash trying ( and failing ) to appeal it, its not like the money would be used for a worthwhile cause otherwise.

  5. Swiftsure says:

    What tax incentives did Noah get?

    Maybe Ham just doesn’t have enough faith.

  6. Blinko says:

    This is all about business and making money. It’s not about religion. Ham knows that the USA is full of gullible halfwitted christians who he can exploit. Couple this unthinking herd with the very attractive fiscal breaks on offer then the money making potential is plain for all to see. Ham is a chameleon, everyone thinks he is a believer but actually he is an accomplished deeply cynical huckster selling false dreams to stupid people with financial benefits provided by dishonest politicians and legislators. Great con. Duuuhhhuuuhhhhhuuhhhhhh.

  7. Paul Cook says:

    I think Gilgamesh will be laughing in his grave.

  8. Stephen Mynett says:

    “How can you argue with people like this.”

    Good point Carlynot. The start of the debate between Bill Nye and Ham showed exactly what Ham is. Both were asked “what would make you change your mind?” Nye replied “Evidence”, Ham replied “Nothing”.

    However, it has been brought up here before and on other sites, how religious are the religious? Perhaps they do all believe their guff but it could well be there are a lot of astute businessmen* who know that to waver in their “belief”would cost millions.

    * Normally I would say business people but this is religion so it unlikely any woman would be allowed much of a say.

  9. Alan C. says:

    If the ‘flud’ covered the whole Earth, presumably it covered mount Everest? What did the arc dwellers do for oxygen way up there?

  10. AgentCormac says:

    Note how denying Ham millions of taxpayers’ dollars is deemed by the certifiable fraudster to be ‘hostility’. Whenever they don’t get their own way, the default position of people like Ham and the equally repugnant Andrea Minichiello Williams is to play the victim card. It is a tedious response which is every bit as puerile as it is monotonous. I for one hope this failed project costs AiG every last cent it has.

  11. gedediah says:

    Why is it not obvious to AiG that the state can’t grant access to public incentives to organisations that can’t meet public employment standards? AiG is a not for profit but the application was made by a wholly owned for profit subsidiary. It’s obviously a ruse to get around the rules but the state would be in violation if they allowed it.

  12. Marky Mark says:

    Stephen Mynett… Bill Nye also said in the same debate that if such animals like the kangaroo traveled from the middle east to Australia as the creationist claim, how come there is no fossil evidence of this journey? Surely many had to die along the way, but not one fossil on that route.

  13. Marky Mark says:

    also… something funny to read here:

  14. Marky Mark says:

    “If the ‘flud’ covered the whole Earth, presumably it covered mount Everest? What did the arc dwellers do for oxygen way up there?”

    …Exactly! The goat herders who wrote the holy babble had no clue about this planet other than their immediate area.

  15. Stephen Mynett says:

    Marky Mark, you are a braver man than I for sitting through it. All of my knowledge of the debate is picked up from helpful people on the net, I have neither the stamina nor the courage to actually listen to any length of stuff with the likes of Ham and co involved, although I am pleased that, by all accounts, Nye was excellent throughout.

    With hindsight I now feel Nye was right to take the debate on, normally I am very much of the Dawkins idea and think it best to refuse the various religious cranks and fraudsters the oxygen of publicity.

  16. Cali Ron says:

    Indeed, Stephen Mynett. It’s usually best to not argue with a fool, people watching may not be able to tell you apart. When someone’s starting point is an irrational belief it’s doubtful that rational thoughts will have an impact on their deep sided unreality. That being said I’m glad that “Bill Nye the science guy” represented well. Ironic that they are going with the whole Noah flood storyline. It’s always been one of my favorite stories to point out how ridiculous and impossible the whole bible narrative is. I guess they figure if they can fool people with this one they can get them to do anything! Ka-ching!

    Side bar: I loved watching Bill with my kids as much as my kids loved him.

  17. Vanity Unfair says:

    To Alan C:
    Think, man. If the waters covered the face of the Earth then the atmosphere (less dense than water) would have risen above it so the Ark would not have been at 29,000ft. above sea level. It would have been at sea level and since in Biblical times the world was flat(tish) and rectangular*, not spherical the atmosphere at that level would have the same density as previously. Isn’t this obvious?
    My worry has always been about the fish. Would the sea fish have perished if the extra water was fresh, as seems likely, or would the fresh water fish have succumbed to the impurities in sea water? There is no mention of the Ark containing aquaria.
    * it had four corners and could all be seen from one high place.

  18. Vanity Unfair says:

    I suggest a practical archaeology project. Take four old age pensioners to represent Noah, about 600 years old, and his three sons, Shem, Ham (surely not….) and Japheth, each about 100 years old. I know this would be difficult to arrange but for practical purposes maybe we could settle on 80 as a compromise for convenience. Then give them some re-created bronze woodworking tools and instruction on how to build a 450 foot ship and leave them to it. Once it has been built, turn it over to a shipwright for testing and await his verdict. What could be simpler?
    I have just thought of a problem. Nobody knows what gopher wood is.
    Anyway, it would make a remarkable joint project for Time Team and Last of the Summer Wine.

  19. Robster says:

    He’s obviously in financial bother already, his boat thingy is missing its hull, it’ll sink no matter what. If you can’t afford the proper timber hull pieces Mr. Ham, timber painted canvas could work as a temporary fix until the state sends its cheque.

  20. Stephen Turner says:

    Seen what Ken Ham has to say about Stephen Hawking?

    “Sadly, Hawking’s body has problems because of the effects of sin, but he can have a perfect, new body and be with the Lord for eternity if he will receive the free gift of salvation.”