I think in addition to my attempt to be leaner and faster on this blog in 2016, I’m going to be more direct. Hence the title of this blog post.
For those who don’t know, Answers in Genesis (AiG) is probably one of the three biggest anti-think tanks for young-Earth creationism in the world. They have a large creationism museum in Kentucky, about a 45-minute drive from where I grew up a bit north of Cincinnati, Ohio. They are currently building an “Ark Encounter” theme park based on, as you can probably guess, the Judeo-Christian story of Noah’s Ark.
I’ve been following The Friendly Atheist blog posts about this for several years. To be direct, based on their reporting, AiG has been trying to break the law many, many times during the building process. And it’s mostly all having to do with money.
In effect, they can’t build it on their own. They don’t have enough. So they’ve been trying to get tax breaks and other things to help them build. Problem is (for them), even in Kentucky they sometimes respect separation of church and state and refused to let a religious organization that would discriminate based on religion have access to public funds.
So, as an example, they were eligible for state funds of some sort several years ago so long as they would not discriminate in their hiring. Then, someone (I forget, possibly the ACLU) pointed out that all employees would have to be hired through the AiG creation museum and hence sign a statement of faith to prove they are religious. They got smacked down and the money was taken away.
Now they have a new scheme. And, this was just pointed out in a large essay in Newsweek by journalist Lindsay Tucker. Tucker demonstrates how AiG has been manipulating things to, in the end, still get taxpayer money to support their very clearly religious endeavor.
Ken Ham, the guy in charge of AiG, hit back at Newsweek by manipulating information under the assumption that you are stupid.
I found out about this because The Friendly Atheist blog has a very lengthy post by Tracey Moody hitting back at Ken Ham. Here’s an excerpt, where “TIF” is the tax breaks, and the double-block is from Ken Ham’s blog post:
Ham insists on describing the TIF in a condescending manner in his post, even conceding that he hardly understands it himself. But not understanding a topic never stopped him before. Why start now?
Most people do not understand this complicated incentive (called Tax Increment Financing) that is common across the nation, and I hope I won’t lose you here. …
Now, we simply don’t mention the TIF to reporters because perhaps 1 in 1,000 readers would even know what it is, it is highly complicated, and I don’t understand it all myself. …
At the risk of your eyes glazing over regarding this TIF matter…
He’s setting the stage to make us feel too dumb to understand what’s going on — the same trick his whole Creation ministry is based upon. But it’s not as complicated as he makes it sound.
I recommend reading it if you have the time. I thought it was very informative and clearly demonstrates how AiG is manipulating things.
As for why it’s on this blog, well, I deal with young-Earth creationists manipulating science on this blog quite a lot. This isn’t science, but it’s perhaps just as important – if not more-so – than science because it’s public policy and it’s tens of millions of dollars that is currently going to a discriminatory, manipulative religious organization. Fortunately, I don’t live in Kentucky and my tax money is not directly contributing to this effort. But I hope that if any of you do live in Kentucky, you will voice your concern to the appropriate legislators.