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Louisville Atheists and Freethinkers had a presence at the Kentuckiana Pride Festival this year, including
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The Secular Humanist Helping Hands (SHHH), in association with the Louisville Atheists and Freethinkers, held
Since our last post announcing our intentions to apply for an official Kentucky license plate, we submitted our application and met with the Transportation Department. Due to what we found out, we have withdrawn our application. There are two main reasons for this:
- An organization applying for a plate may not be involved in the promotion of religion or non-religion. KySS proudly supports atheist groups and the normalization of atheism in society, and this counts as the promotion of non-religion.
- There is a new rule requiring the name of the applying organization to appear on the plate itself. Our initial plate design does not follow this rule.
This does not mean that we are giving entirely up on the license plate. We are going back to the drawing board, adjusting the plate design, and considering working with other groups. When there are updates we will post them here.
Thank you for your support!
Join the KY Secular Society for 2016 and help us show our numbers for the opportunity to get a license plate like the one above in KY! (The image has been removed by request from the KY Transportation Cabinet since the design is not yet approved.) In order to apply for read more
Governor Matt Bevin 700 Capitol Avenue, Suite 100 Frankfort, KY 40601 RE: Kentucky should not give tax rebates to Ark Encounter The Commonwealth of Kentucky should not give tax rebates of up to $18 million to Ark Encounter for the following reasons: This action w read more
Please join or renew your membership in the Kentucky Secular Society (KYSS) for 2016. Your membership and other donations are tax deductible for the 2015 tax year if you complete your registration before December 31. Our Employee Identification Number (EIN) is 27-2311704. Please register or renew at https://kysecularsociety.org/join-online. Your membership will be valid for January 1 through December 31, 2016.
The KYSS pays for
- Infrastructure of all our meetup groups (Louisville Atheists and Freethinkers, Black Non-Believers of Louisville, etc) and websites (louisvilleatheists.com, reasonableliving.org, kysecularsociety.org, kyfreethoughtconvention.com, etc)
- State filing fees for KY Secular Society
- Post Office box for all groups
- The annual state fair booth
- The KY Freethought Convention
- Special events, such as Darwin Day, Gay Pride booth, Shelley Segal concert, etc
- Activism with Secular Student Alliances at KY Universities
- Coordination of efforts to protect church-state separation in Kentucky
If you do not wish to pay $25, you can create an account at Kroger.com and register your Kroger plus with the Kentucky Secular Society. Kroger will give a percentage of the money you spend at Kroger to KYSS. Register at https://www.kroger.com/communityrewards.
Your screen should include this when you are done.
- Organization Name:Kentucky Secular Society
- Organization Number:12545
The third Kentucky Freethought Convention is coming very, very soon! And we have a great line up of speakers, including Dan Barker from the Freedom From Religion Foundation and Matt Dillahunty from The Atheist Experience TV show.
Register online in advance to get $5 off the door admission price. http://www.KyFreethoughtConvention.com
Who: Kentucky Secular Society, Host
What: Darwin Day Celebration
When: February 22, 2015, 1:00 – 3:30
Where: Sullivan University College of Pharmacy
Why: Celebration of the birthday and accomplishments of the father of modern biology.
The Kentucky Secular Society is pleased to announce a celebration of the life of Charles Darwin. The celebration will include the following activities:
- Cake decorating contest. This contest is open to any attendee, but is not required for attendance. Participants will bring a cake decorated in a theme honoring Darwin or the theory of evolution. Cakes will be judged by popular vote and committee. Winning cakes will get gift certificates to Amazon.com. Cakes will be eaten by all attendees after judging!
- Kitchen Chemistry and other children’s activities. A children’s science educator will demonstrate scientific concepts that can be performed in any kitchen. Kids love this teacher! There will also be other children’s activities.
- Exhibit: Evidence of Evolution for Non-Biology Majors. Stand up exhibit you can view at your own pace that provides very visual examples of evidence that supports the theory of evolution.
- Exhibit: Why Ark Encounter Lost $18 Million in Tax Incentives. This stand up exhibit you can view at your own pace provides documents, emails, and letters obtained from the Kentucky Open Records Act, filings with the Secretary of State, filings with the Tourism Cabinet, job postings, the Ark Encounter lawsuit and more!
- Presentation: Misuse of Biology in Film and Pop Culture. Dr. Michael Perlin of the University of Louisville Biology Department will play clips from television shows and movies demonstrating common misperceptions of biological concepts. This presentation is education and very humorous!
This event is free, open to the public. Citizens of all religious demographics are invited.
Multiple facebook and meetup groups have events established. An RSVP is not required, but is preferred to help with adequate preparation. Please RSVP at a facebook or meetup group, or at https://www.facebook.com/events/636805363091986/ or by calling 502-939-9275.
Hunden Report Reveals Ark Encounter Inflated Projections, Sharp Decline in Creation Museum Attendance in 2014
Who: Hunden Strategic Partners, LLC, of Chicago
What: Application Review of Ark Encounter, LLC, for the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet reveals much lower attendance projections than those commissioned by Ark Encounter. The report also reveals a severe drop in attendance at the Creation Museum in 2014.
When: Submitted to KY Tourism Cabinet on December 3, 2014. Legal department redacted some attendance figures for the Creation Museum since these could be used by competitors. Mailed to Kentucky Secular Society on January 8, 2014.
Where: Ark Encounter is building a replica of Noah’s Ark near Williamstown, KY.
Why: Ark Encounter has frequently projected attendance of 1.2 to 2 million per year. The Hunden report projects a first year attendance of 325,000, a peak attendance in the third year at 425,000, declining to 275,000 in future years. Ark Encounter recently lost its bid to earn up to $18.25 million in tax incentives due to its desire to practice religious discrimination in employment and the evangelistic nature of the park.
Hunden Strategic Partners, LLC, of Chicago, recently completed a review of the 2014 application for tax incentives by Ark Encounter. This includes the first non-biased attendance projections of the 2014 proposal. Hunden made projections for two scenarios. Scenario A assumes a “mainstream approach to the attraction”, and Scenario B assumes a “more religious-based approach that may represent a specific viewpoint more associated with the Creation Museum”. Numerous individuals with Answers in Genesis (the parent company of Ark Encounter) have publicly stated that the theme of Ark Encounter will be like that of the Creation Museum, even referring to the ark as an “Evangelical Ark.”
Projections in Scenario B included 325,000 the first year, peaking to 425,00 the third year, and plateauing at 275,000 by year 10. Ark Encounter and Answers in Genesis have publicly proclaimed attendance projections of 1.2 to 2 million per year. However, these projection figures were for the 2010 proposal, not the 2014 proposal. The 2010 proposal was for a $172 million project and was a multi-day attraction, while the 2014 proposal was for a $73 million project that consisted mainly of Noah’s Ark. More importantly, the group hired by Answers in Genesis to project attendance, America’s Research Group, has several conflicts of interest. The
president of America’s Research Group is Britt Beemer, who is also a co-author with Ken Ham on the book Already Gone. Furthermore, research by Beemer and America’s Research Group is featured in Already Compromised, another book authored by Ken Ham. The Hunden Report contains the only non-biased attendance projections for the 2014 project.
The Hunden report also reveals a very small net fiscal impact of only $4.9 million when compared to the $18.25 million cost of the tax incentives.
Finally, the Hunden report notes a steady decline in attendance at the Creation Museum. The exact numbers were redacted since they could be used by Creation Museum competitors. However, the report states “…each year the attendance figures have decreased… This peak, the decline, is typical for museums, aquariums, and other attractions. The figures for 2014, however, suggests much lower attendance for the full year, as opposed to a plateauing of attendance.” It should be noted that the large drop in attendance at the Creation Museum occurred after the February 4, 2014, debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye.
“The Hunden Report adds more evidence that the Commonwealth of Kentucky made the correct decision in rejecting the Ark Encounter application for tax incentives,” commented Ed Hensley, treasurer of the Kentucky Secular Society and co-organizer of Freedom From Religion Foundation, Kentucky Chapter. “Ken Ham, Ark Encounter, and Answers in Genesis are currently threatening to sue the Commonwealth for the right to have tax-supported religious discrimination in employment. We should consider the contrasting claims of the Hunden report while evaluating their threats.”
Treasurer, Kentucky Secular Society
Co-Organizer, FFRF Kentucky Chapter
Reason’s Greetings from the Kentucky Secular Society! Here is what KySS has done in 2014!
Our efforts helped to expose the for-profit/non-profit shell game and religious discrimination in hiring behind the Answers In Genesis ‘ark park.’ These efforts have lead to greater scrutiny of the park by the Tourism Department of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the denial of AIG’s bid for up to 18 million dollars in tax incentives for the park.
2014 was our 5th year in a row at the Kentucky State Fair! This year we held a petition for fairgoers to express their disapproval of tax dollars being used to build a replica of Noah’s ark in Kentucky. We collected over 600 signatures at the fair alone, from atheists, humanists, and also many self-identified Christians!
As part of our mission to support atheist communities in Kentucky, KySS has provided support and funding for activities held by local Kentucky groups, including Louisville Atheists and Freethinkers, the Secular Student Alliance at UofL, and FFRF Kentucky. If you run a local group, or would like to start one in your area, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help support your efforts.
The Kentucky Speakers Bureau is now live at https://kysecularsociety.org/kyss_speakers. Check here for a listing of speakers from Kentucky or neighboring states who are available to be contacted to speak at your meeting or special event!
The date and location have been set for the next Kentucky Freethought Convention! It will be at the Lexington Convention Center on May 30, 2015. Early confirmed speakers include Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Will Gervais from the University of Kentucky, and Matt Dillahunty from The Atheist Experience TV show. For the latest announcement and updates for KFC 2015, visit http://www.kyfreethoughtconvention.com.
All of these services and accomplishments are made possible by the membership dues and donations from our members. If you have not already done so, please consider renewing your yearly KySS memberships for 2015 online at https://kysecularsociety.org/join-online/. Your support will help us continue to uphold the Separation of Church and State and to support atheist and secular communities in Kentucky. Donations to KYSS are tax deductible. Our Employee Identification Number (EIN) is 27-2311704
Thank you for your support!
Mikel Hensley, KySS Secretary