Grifters Gotta Grift
We should have seen this one coming now that Kentucky has realized that it was being grifted by the founder of Answers in Genesis’ Ken Hamm, who is clearly Elmer Gantry without the sex appeal:
As you may recall Kentucky’s Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet suddenly realized that Ham’s latest embarrassing theme park (Noah’s Ark After Dark Park or some such thing) was actually a ministry to convert the heathen, would hire only Xristians (and make them sign an oath), and would not follow equal opportunity laws, especially they would discriminate against gay people. The Cabinet therefore refused Ham’s project request to keep 25% of tax revenue (about $18M over 10 years).
Which of course means that Ham is suffering the outrageous slings and arrows of religious persecution!
“Atheist groups have launched major attacks in various ways. They tried to derail our bond offering, and are now attempting to undermine the sales tax refund incentive for the Ark project. These secularists are ‘rocking the boat’ and we have had to work hard to counter their attacks. But through it all, God has blessed and the Ark construction is well underway!
Kentucky’s State Government is an atheist group? The 11th Commandment is a god-given right for Y’all Qaeda to bilk the taxpayer, and I think that is scriptural, but I could be wrong.
One letter from the State of Kentucky to AiG makes it clear that the state seeks to discriminate against us because of our Christian message. The letter from a state official, with statements that criticize us for having an evangelistic purpose and possibly hiring Ark staff who agree with our Christian faith, is remarkable.
This thinking is so twisted, it is outrageously hard to unravel what he thinks that the First Amendment does. There is nothing there that says every ministry has the right to grift.
Here is one of the many incredible statements in that letter (which was also obtained and published by the liberal media): ‘The Commonwealth (of Kentucky) must have the express written assurance from Ark Encounter, LLC that it will not discriminate in any way on the basis of religion in hiring.’
But as is clear settled law, churches and other religious organizations are allowed to hire employees who agree with their religious viewpoint!
Which is true, Ken. So is it a public amusement park, or is it a church? You can discriminate legally if it is a church, but you cannot get your hands on those sweet, sweet tax dollars if it is.
Even though this governmental heavy-handedness could mean an unjust loss of $18 million in sales tax refunds over 10 years, we will not — in any way — water down our message!”
How can it be a loss if it was never yours to begin with, Ken? You think you are entitled to that tax break?
So please send your contributions to
Answers in Grifting, um, well what does he say here:
Ham closes the letter by saying they need $14 million more in donations to complete the first scaled-back phase of Ark Encounter construction, enclosing a reply form soliciting donations directly to AiG. They also note that such gifts to their 501(c)(3) are “tax deductible.”
How can you be a tax-deductible charity if you are also a for-profit public limited liability corporation? Good thing the new Republican Congress is stripping funding from the IRS to investigate this sort of thing.
Soliciting supposedly tax-deductible donations to the nonprofit ministry AiG for the Ark Encounter project potentially opens up the project to another legal challenge, as the Freedom From Religion Foundation recently asked the IRS to investigate and possibly strip AiG of its tax-exempt status due to blurring the lines between it and the for-profit Ark Encounter, LLC they created and own. AiG created Ark Encounter in order to qualify for state tax incentives, but still appears to be soliciting tax-deductible donations for the park and requiring a religious test for job applicants — both legal if they wanted to do so on its own, but beyond the acceptable scope for a for-profit company seeking tax incentives under Kentucky law.
* Hat tip to Big Bad Bald Bastard for coining that headline.