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Latest Ark Encounter twist screws the folk of Kentucky

Latest Ark Encounter twist screws the folk of Kentucky

In a sneaky move that could rob Kentucky’s Williamstown and Grant County of much-needed revenue,  Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter has flogged its main parcel of land for $10 to its non-profit affiliate, Crosswater Canyon.

The move followed a decision by Williamstown not to exempt Ham’s biblical theme park from paying a safety fee that would fund necessary emergency services for the city.

The Lexington Herald Leader reports:

On June 29, Williamstown City Attorney Jeffrey Shipp sent a letter to the Biblical amusement park Ark Encounter, rejecting their request to be exempted from a new safety tax because they are a religious organization.

Shipp said it was clear that Ark Encounter is a for-profit entity, which is how it has been listed with the Secretary of State’s office since 2011.

But the day before, Ark Encounter LLC sold the land on which the ark stands … to itself.

Now some are worried Ark Encounter’s maneuver is a precursor to declaring itself exempt from all taxes, including property taxes that help fund Grant County schools.

Previously the park has been classified as a for-profit organisation, and received numerous and lucrative tax breaks as a for-profit organization. By attempting the reclassification, the Ark Park officials hope to have the best of both worlds, enjoying the tax breaks given to the organization as a for-profit organization, and now trying to claim tax-exemption as a religious organization.

Commenting on the nefarious machinations of the Ark Encounter organization, Williamstown City Councilperson Kim Crupper said:

I believe this is the first step. The impact would be far larger than just Williamstown.

The once hopeful and favourable relationship between the locals and Ark Park officials began souring after financial promises made by Ken Ham and his organisation to the city and county failed to materialise.

Hat tip: Angela_K and BarrieJohn

14 responses to “Latest Ark Encounter twist screws the folk of Kentucky”

  1. Peter Sykes says:

    “Biblical amusement park Ark Encounter..”
    Perfect description.

  2. Laura Roberts says:

    This is merely a microcosm of the kind of religious corruption that has been thriving for decades in America. That fire’s been burning for over 40 years, but Conservatives have been fanning the flames since Reagan first fellated Jerry Falwell. Now, Trump is handing them gasoline.

  3. lonborghini says:

    My guess is they’re trying desperately trying to stay afloat financially. When the ark finally goes under, we’ll turn it into The Sodom and Gomorrah Encounter, complete with a glitzy casino, bawdy entertainment, hotel rooms, swimming pools and a plethora of ribald diversions. This is all a part of my perfect plan.

  4. L.Long says:

    To hell with respect or anything else. Treat ALL religions as charities and make then show their books and pay taxes like everyone else…NO special privileges.

  5. barriejohn says:

    This is the sort of devious behaviour that Christians smugly refer to as being “Wise as serpents and harmless as doves”. If only they WERE harmless, but we all know that that is very far from the case.

  6. Paul says:

    Historically having tax exemptions etc would have been because without a welfare state social services (and not a complete suite for sure) may or would have been provided by religious places. Poor Laws and then the introduction of social welfare programmes through taxation of the public at large, has meant that the social service side of the religious has fallen away and I agree with the main comments that no religion ought to get any tax break, because they don’t really provide any service for all (if they ever did) they line their own pockets and perpetuate a myth based system that has no place in a civil society.

  7. barriejohn says:

    Paul: Spot on. I knew many Christians (usually the more extreme type) who were totally opposed to the welfare state, and who thought that it was the responsibility of family members to provide for the needs of those who were elderly and sick etc. (those who “would not work” being be left to starve, of course), and these ideas are gaining traction amongst the right wing again today, especially in the States, which helps explain the opposition to “Obamacare”. These people seem to have no idea of the true costs of health care alone, and of course, they don’t believe in insurance, as that shows “lack of faith”!

  8. Granr says:

    If there were no tax advantages or other fiscal loopholes then a huge proportion of American creationist, evangelist, bible thumping sects would cease to exist because the hucksters would give it up. The easy money would dry up. Want to make the USA a secular country, as enshrined in the constitution, then remove all the tax breaks and other means of extracting easy money.

  9. StephenJP says:

    I understand that Ham’s Ark (hey, what about Shem and Japheth?) is in serious financial trouble (US experts please confirm or not). Might explain this latest desperate move.

    I am continually amazed at what the churches get away with. The CofE, for instance, enjoys charitable status, but spends 100% of its income on its own expenses, including pay, pensions, real estate upkeep, etc. Any genuine charitable activities – poverty or disaster relief etc – are all separate fund-raising drives. Religion is still regarded as a legitimate charitable objective in itself. This is long overdue for challenging.

  10. Dave says:

    Mr Lie is taking part in a Mega Creation (?) conference in the Midlands at the end of October. In 2014 a similar conference attracted around 1300 attendees … in a venue that can accommodate 2700!

    If Mr Lie’s message is so important to God, shouldn’t he at least be selling out a two week residency at the London 02 arena?

  11. gedediah says:

    Maybe the Pastafarians could take over the park when it goes under? The ark would make a great pirate ship!