Ken Ham, president of a Christian ministry and the Creation Museum got millions in tax-break assurances from Kentucky, but now the State is shocked that he plans to discriminate based on religion. Will those tax breaks disappear?
Ken Ham recently made headlines when he debated evolution with Bill Nye, “the science guy,” at Ham’s Creation Museum in Kentucky. Depending on your point of view, Nye won, or Ham won. But in another sense, Ham was the winner because Nye has been much more of a household name, for decades, than Ham.
Born in Australia in 1951, Ham is a “young earth creationist” who believes the earth is just 6000 years old and everything anyone needs to know can be learned from the Bible — actual science, he insists, is misleading and wrong. He is the president of Answers in Genesis, a Christian Ministry that runs his Creation Museum, and soon — or, soon he had hoped — Ark Encounter, a Noah’s Ark museum to be based in Kentucky, too.
But asÂ The New Civil Rights Movement reported this summer, Ham’s detractors found that the Ark Encounter, unlike the Creation Museum, isn’t a Christian ministry, and that’s creating a legal employment rights problem for Ham.
TheÂ Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority has already approved millions in tax breaks. It first gave Ham $173 millionÂ in tax breaks, which he ultimately declined because he was having funding problems. Then, he asked for $73 million. Finally, the State approved $18 million. Until now.
“The Commonwealth doesn’t believe that Ark Encounter, LLC will be complying with state and Federal law in its hiring practices,” Bob Stewart, secretary of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, wrote to an Ark Encounter attorney, according to the Courier-Journal.
Stewart wrote that “serious concerns” were raised by a job posting for an Ark Encounter position that required applicants to provide salvation testimony, a creation belief statement, and agreement with the “Statement of Faith” of Ark Encounter’s parent organization, Answers in Genesis.
Indeed, asÂ The New Civil Rights Movement reported,Â Daniel Phelps, the president of the Kentucky Paleontological Society and vice president of Kentuckians for Science Education wrote an op-ed in which he details the issue.Â “On the day the tax incentives were recommended, the Answers in Genesis website had a help-wanted advertisement,”Â Phelps explained.
The job description included this statement: “Our work at Ark Encounter is not just a job, it is also a ministry. Our employees work together as a team to serve each other to produce the best solutions for our design requirements. Our purpose through the Ark Encounter is to serve and glorify the Lord with our God-given talents with the goal of edifying believers and evangelizing the lost.”
Ham claims that the Ark museum will be run separately and differently from the Creation Museum.Â
ButÂ job postingsÂ atÂ Answers in Genesis include this statement: “All job applicants for the non-profit ministry of AiG/Creation Museum need to supply a written statement of their testimony, a statement of what they believe regarding creation, and a statement that they have read and can support the AiG Statement of Faith.”
TheÂ AiG Statement of Faith claims “it is imperative that all persons employed by the ministry in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide by and agree to our Statement of Faith, to include the statement on marriage and sexuality, and conduct themselves accordingly.”
It also requires all employees to believe and support “the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ as Sovereign, Creator, Redeemer, and Judge,” and the “66 books of the Bible are the written Word of God. The Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant throughout. Its assertions are factually true in all the original autographs. It is the supreme authority in everything it teaches. Its authority is not limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes but includes its assertions in such fields as history and science.”
And that’s just for starters.
Meanwhile, after several warnings in the media, the State of Kentucky is finally getting the message.
“The Commonwealth does not provide incentives to any company that discriminates on the basis of religion and we will not make any exception for Ark Encounter, LLC,” Tourism secretary Bob Stewart wrote. “The Commonwealth 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.”
One voice has been conspicuously absent from the debate over Ark Encounterâ€™s intolerance: that of Christian conservatives. They have spent the past several years loudly and unceasingly condemning what they view as discrimination on the basis of religion. AnÂ anti-gay CEOÂ voluntarily resignsÂ from a private corporationÂ following public pressure?Â Religious discrimination. An anti-gay Christian college group loses state funding for refusing to accept those who donâ€™t follow its creed?Â Religious discrimination. A financial firm sends out a diversity survey to its employees that mentions sexual orientation?Â Religious discrimination. Some conservatives have evenÂ arguedÂ that the marriage equality movement turned America into a â€œtotalitarian systemâ€ where animosity toward religion is mandatory.
Yet in none of these examples did any actual religious discrimination occur. No employers have fired their employees for holding anti-gay religious beliefs; no colleges have expelled students for finding homosexuality immoral. Meanwhile, a shockingly brazen form of religious discrimination is occurring in Kentucky right now, as Ark Encounter asserts its right to discriminate against people who are not young-Earth creationists while receiving state funds.
The government shouldn’t be in the business of religion, and that includes financing religious projects — especially anti-science ones.
Image via Ark Encounter
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GOP Congresswoman Saying She Would ‘Do Anything’ to Protect Her Grandchildren, Even ‘Shooting Them’ Sets Internet on Fire
U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) in a speech denouncing a House bill on gun safety, appears to inadvertently have declared that to protect her five grandchildren, she would “do anything,” even shoot them.
“I rise in opposition to H.R. 2377,” Congresswoman Lesko says in the video. “I have five grandchildren. I would do anything, anything to protect my five grandchildren, including as a last resort shooting them if I had to, to protect the lives of my grandchildren.”
NCRM has verified the video is accurate. Congresswoman Lesko made the remarks on June 9, according to C-SPAN, while she was opposing a red flag law.
The Congresswoman presumably meant she would as a last resort shoot someone threatening her grandchildren.
One Twitter user, Ryan Shead, posted the previously ignored video to Twitter, where it has gone viral and is trending.
Lesko, who some social media users note is running for re-election unopposed, went on to say: “Democrat bills that we have heard this week want to take away my right, my right to protect my grandchildren. they want to take away the rights of law-abiding citizens to protect their own children and grandchildren. and wives and brothers and sisters,” which is false.
“This bill takes away due process from law-abiding citizens. Can you imagine if you had a disgruntled ex or somebody who hates you because of your political views and they go to a judge and say, ‘oh, this person is dangerous,’ and that judge would take away your guns?”
Lesko’s hypothetical claims are false. Red flag laws are designed to protect both gun owners and those around them.
Allow me to introduce you to Congresswoman Debbie Lesko of Arizona, who is currently running for office unopposed in her district.
She would like America to know she loves her grandchildren so much she would shoot them if necessary. 😳
But liberals are the problem, right? 😏 pic.twitter.com/qk5BT9FDLw
— Ryan Shead (@RyanShead) July 5, 2022
Some social media users noted that Congresswoman Lesko reportedly “attended meetings about overturning the election,” while others are having fun with the Arizona Republican’s remarks:
Anybody check on Debbie Lesko’s grandkids?
— Sam Youngman (@samyoungman) July 6, 2022
Or maybe one of Debbie Lesko’s grandchildren gets rabies and she has to put it down before it attacks the other four! All sorts of things can happen.
— Ron Hogan (@RonHogan) July 6, 2022
The most probable interpretation is that @DebbieLesko meant she would shoot someone to PROTECT her grandchildren and garbled it. However, it’s the GOP, and it’s 2022. So . . . /1 https://t.co/KVWir9t8te
— CyborgSlavesOfPopehat (@Popehat) July 6, 2022
/3 Anyway, bottom line, good luck and best wishes to Debbie Lesko’s (for now) five grandchildren.
— CyborgSlavesOfPopehat (@Popehat) July 6, 2022
/4 But seriously it’s VERY unlikely that a GOP member of Congress was casually advocating shooting her grandchildren. I mean they’re white.
— CyborgSlavesOfPopehat (@Popehat) July 6, 2022
Since Debbie Lesko is trending for threatening to ::checks notes:: shoot her grandkids, now is the perfect time to revisit this recent thread/story on her very shady past. https://t.co/90xkhzrWny
— TrumpsTaxes (@TrumpsTaxes) July 6, 2022
Lauren Boebert is crazy and unqualified
Louie Gohmert is an idiot and unqualified
Marjorie Taylor Greene is dangerous and unqualified
Trump is mentally ill and unqualified
Debbie Lesko = hold my beer
— Jimmy (@JimmyStreich) July 6, 2022
This is the same Debbie Lesko who would shoot her grandchildren to own the libs. 😬
Arizona has better to offer. 💯 https://t.co/oXd9o3ucbo
— Ryan Shead (@RyanShead) July 6, 2022
I don’t think she meant the thing she said. I think she’s just dumb. She was trying to make some overblown dramatic point and she screwed up the script. https://t.co/aKzzocabim
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) July 7, 2022
Watch Congresswoman Lesko’s remarks above or at this link.
Separation of Church and State Is a ‘Fabrication’ Says Far Right Activist Charlie Kirk: They Should Be ‘Mixed Together’
Far-right religious activist, conspiracy theorist, and founder of the right-wing organization Turning Point USA Charlie Kirk has falsely declared that separation of church and state, a bedrock principle on which American society is based, is a “fabrication” not in the Constitution.
Kirk is a member of the secretive theocratic Council for National Policy., a close friend of Donald Trump, Jr., and spent years promoting President Trump – even interviewing him at one point. Turning Point USA has had repeated challenges. The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer in 2017 write a piece about TPUSA titled, “A Conservative Nonprofit That Seeks to Transform College Campuses Faces Allegations of Racial Bias and Illegal Campaign Activity.”
Former TPUSA communications director Candace Owens has praised Hitler, saying “the problem” with him was that he wanted to “globalize.”
On Wednesday Kirk declared, “There is no separation of church and state. It’s a fabrication. It’s a fiction. It’s not in the Constitution. It’s made up by secular humanists.”
The claim separation of church and state is not in the Constitution is a religious right belief that has been debunked by countless legal experts.
“Of course we should have church and state mixed together,” Kirk continued. “Our Founding Fathers believed in that. We can go through the detail of that. They established – literally – a church in Congress.”
That too is false.
“It’s a good thing Charlie Kirk doesn’t go to Wheaton because he would fail my Constitutional Law class,” writes Dr. Miranda Yaver, PhD, a Wheaton College professor.
As most public school students know, Kirk’s claims are belied by the First Amendment to the U.S., Constitution, which states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
It’s the Establishment Clause, legal experts say, that debunks Kirk’s falsehood.
In reviewing the Supreme Court’s recent rulings, Reuters last month noted: “It was President Thomas Jefferson who famously said in an 1802 letter that the establishment clause should represent a ‘wall of separation’ between church and state. The provision prevents the government from establishing a state religion and prohibits it from favoring one faith over another.”
Jefferson is also considered the principal author of the Declaration of Independence.
Watch Charlie Kirk below or at this link.
Charlie Kirk: “There is no separation of church and state. It’s a fabrication. It’s a fiction. It’s not in the Constitution. It’s made up by secular humanists” pic.twitter.com/R4dkUSxGwI
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) July 6, 2022
Pat Cipollone Is ‘A Greatest Hits Package of Crazy Statements’ by Donald Trump: Legal Expert
Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone has agreed to speak to the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress on Friday.
Former Assistant Deputy Attorney General Harry Litman told CNN that Cipollone has carefully negotiated the testimony and he will likely “steer around down the middle” of the attorney/client privilege. However, former President Donald Trump is not the client of a White House counsel, the White House is. President Joe Biden has waived executive privilege for anything involving Jan. 6 or the 2020 election.
“He is a greatest hits package of crazy statements by Donald Trump,” Litman said of Cipollone. “He is the one who says to Mark Meadows, ‘You know, if you do this, you’ll have blood on your effing hands.’ He’s the one who says to Mark Meadows about [Mike] Pence, ‘You’ve got to stop it’ and Meadows says, ‘You’ve heard him. He thinks the rioters are right.’ He’s the one who has to go to Cassidy Hutchinson, a 25-year-old, and plead with her because Meadows won’t speak to him. ‘Please try to keep him from going to the Capitol.’ He’s the one who says, ‘if I go to the Capitol, it will be every effing crime imaginable.'”
“Now, they’ve negotiated it up, and probably what he wants is to say he’s not piercing attorney/client privilege. But all these statements I’ve said to you, Trump’s nowhere around. So, attorney/client has to be with the client for the purpose of getting legal advice, so he’s got tons to say without that.”
As Litman explained, Cipollone is in “everything.”
See the discussion below.
Image: Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks via Flickr:
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump talk with Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, her husband Jesse Barrett, Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, his wife Virginia Thomas, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, and Deputy White House Counsel Kate Comerford Todd in the Blue Room of the White House Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, after attending Barrett’s swearing-in ceremony as Supreme Court Associate Justice.
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