Why suing over your biblically based theme park may not be the most biblical response

AiG's lawsuit says Kentucky is discriminating against them by not letting them discriminate. Yeah, good luck with that, guys. (Photo by Brian Turner, via Wikimedia Commons.)

February 9, 2015

Adapted from an earlier post on Sojourners’ God’s Politics blog.

America is a nation established on certain inalienable rights. The right to life. The right to liberty. The right to pursue happiness as one sees fit. The right, as a religious organization, to sue a government and its officials whenever you don’t get what you want.

You may not remember that last one from social studies class — and to be honest, I don’t recall Jefferson expounding upon it, either — but it is nevertheless a right the fundamentalist group Answers in Genesis and its president, Ken Ham, availed themselves of this week with the announcement of their forthcoming lawsuit against the state of Kentucky, its governor and its tourism secretary.

The kerfuffle is over AiG’s Ark Encounter — the “creationist theme park” complete with a 510-foot wooden replica of Noah’s floating barn (except this one won’t float, plus it costs 70 million bucks) — and specifically, the $18 million in special tax incentives the Commonwealth’s tourism department had initially approved in 2011 before retracting them last year.
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    I still remember my high school history teacher, Mrs. Gibson, and her unit on the muckrakers — a term initially intended perjoratively but later worn with pride, used to describe reform-minded journalists whose in-depth investigative reporting throughout history has exposed all manner of societal ills, corruption and abuses of power.

    It was what made me want to become a journalist myself. And though the daily realities of both community and top-level journalism have dulled the romantic ideals I once held, I’m still keenly interested in the few remaining investigative journalists out there who just might have made their muckraking predecessors proud.

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    There was a comment posted on our Facebook page this morning that was so insightful, and so in keeping with yesterday’s article, that I wanted to make sure all of you had a chance to see it.

    Here it is (with some bold font for emphasis added by me, since Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook apparently don’t know what bold font is):

    All I keep hearing from the Ham-Camp is that our kids are becoming atheists due to evolution. NOT SO!!! Kids turn away from their faith when they are forced to choose between evolution or Ham’s theory of faith. It’s ridiculous!

    I grew up believing evolution and that God had chosen this method for life. It never once conflicted with my faith. Then my husband and I attended an AIG church that had me shaking in my boots that I had somehow missed something so huge and was probably never even a believer because of it. I’m so glad we are away from that.
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    What Ken Ham doesn’t want you to know about his “gospel”

    November 5, 2014

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    As you know, Ken Ham loves to respond to people.

    Of course, when I say “respond,” I mean “pull a few quotes out of context as an opportunity to trot out the same two or three tired arguments he has been using for years.” Which is sort of like calling the pre-recorded catchphrases of a Chatty Cathy doll a “response” simply because they occur as the result of human activity (in the case of Chatty Cathy, the pulling of a string; in Ham’s case, the public expression of any opinion with which he disagrees).

    And when I say “people,” I mean “anyone to whom Ham is philosophically opposed, but particularly scientists, atheists, agnostics, Catholics, writers and Christians who have the audacity to follow the lead of most all legitimate theologians and Bible scholars in reading Genesis as theology and metaphor rather than literal history.”

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