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 would violate section 5 of the Kentucky Constitution and the first amendment of the United States Constitution.
- Answers in Genesis, Crosswater Canyon, and Ark Encounter have been created for the purpose of three corporations acting as one corporation that is both a for-profit and non-profit corporation. The legality of their arrangements must be investigated.
- Ark Encounter was dishonest in its 2014 Application for tax incentives and in correspondence with the Tourism Cabinet.
- Ark Encounter and Answers in Genesis have discriminated and will continue to discriminate in employment against anyone who is not a young-earth fundamentalist protestant Christian, including any old-earth creationist Christian.
- Ark Encounter promotes views on race that are scientifically inaccurate.
Section 5 of the Kentucky Constitution states that “…nor shall any person be compelled to attend any place of worship, to contribute to the erection or maintenance of any such place, or to the salary or support of any minister of religion…” The tax rebates would come in the form of a check or bank transfer from the Kentucky treasury to an evangelical organization that will use the funds to proselytize. It does not matter that the funds might have originally come from sales tax on paid attendance at Ark Encounter.
Crosswater Canyon is a non-profit ministry owned by the non-profit ministry Answers in Genesis. Crosswater Canyon operates the for-profit Creation Museum LLC and will operate the for-profit Ark Encounter. Tax deductible donations are being collected through Answers in Genesis to construct the Ark, because it is being claimed that the ark is an educational tool. The land surrounding the ark, however, is part of Ark Encounter, a for-profit corporation. Tax-deductible donations are being given to construct an object in the center of a for-profit company. The Commonwealth of Kentucky needs to examine the legality of this arrangement. A for-profit company such as UPS is not permitted to solicit tax-deductible donations in order to build a new facility. Ark Encounter could not legally solicit tax-deductible donations for its park. The arrangement of the Ark Encounter – Answers in Genesis – Crosswater Canyon relationship needs to be examined thoroughly before Kentucky becomes a business partner with them.
In the 2010 agreement between Ark Encounter and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Ark Encounter agreed not to discriminate religiously in employment. On May 5, 2014, John Pence of Ark Encounter wrote to William Dexter of the Tourism Cabinet a letter that included the following statement: “Thus, nothing has materially changed in the Ark Encounter Project from that previously submitted in the original (2010) application, other than the scope of the Project, which will now feature Phase I, Noah’s Ark and supporting infrastructure.” However, Ark Encounter planned on practicing religious discrimination in employment, which is contrary to their claim that the difference between the 2010 and 2014 application was only a matter of scope.
The desire to practice religious discrimination in employment is evident by past and present requirements posted online to work or volunteer at Ark Encounter. All non-Christians and most Christians would be prevented from employment. By providing the tax incentives to Ark Encounter, the Commonwealth of Kentucky would be participating in religious discrimination in employment.
Finally, Ark Encounter is promoting views that racial differences of today’s populations are due primarily to the genetic diversity of the wives of Shem, Ham, and Japheth and partly due to the differences in Shem, Ham and Japheth. This view is unscientific and is also not found in the bible. A lesson on the Table of Nations (Genesis 10) is beyond the scope of this letter, but this idea influences what Ark Encounter is currently presenting online and what will be presented at Ark Encounter concerning racial differences. Ark Encounter repudiates the idea that black skin and slavery are associated with the Curse of Canaan (Ham’s son), but Ark Encounter promotes the idea that Ham and his wife are the ancestors of many Africans. Ark Encounter also claims that most Europeans descended from Japheth and his wife. Ark Encounter present this in giving Japheth and his wife light hair and skin, and giving Japheth’s wife green eyes. Ark Encounter gives Ham’s wife the darkest skin of anyone on the ark. Modern genetics contradicts the ideas presented by Ark Encounter. First and foremost, human genetic diversity is not due to a group of 6 people from 4000 years ago. But even if there were such a group of people, it would be unscientific to speculate what their skin, hair, and eye color might be based upon modern descendants. Genetic affinity and diversity is a better indicator of relationships than skin, hair, eye color, and geographic boundaries. For example, the average Ethiopian has more genetic affinity with Norwegians and Armenians than he or she does with Bantu Africans. If you have questions about modern genetics and how it contradicts the ideas of Ark Encounter, I recommend you contact scientists from one or more of our fine state universities. It is possible that Kentucky would be criticized once the presentations of Ark Encounter on the inhabitants of the ark is made more public.
The following pages include text and images from Ark Encounter blogs.
“At 100 years old, Japheth should look like he is in his prime. Many of Japheth’s descendants settled in Europe, so we can give him a slightly lighter skin shade than his brothers. He could still have dark hair and eyes, since we are portraying his mother and father with these traits.
He may also have been a little taller than his brothers, since some northern European groups are taller than average. We could make him slightly taller than Noah, maybe an inch or so—with three boys, there’s a good possibility that one of Noah’s sons would have surpassed him in stature, particularly if his wife was of at least average height.”
“Shem, Ham, and Japheth were no more than 100 years old by the time of the Flood. Their wives were likely about the same age as they were, so Noah’s daughters-in-law, like his sons, should look like they are in their 20s.
Since many of Japheth’s descendants settled in Europe, we need someone to display some of the typical European traits. Japheth’s wife can have lighter hair than the others on board. Everyone else will have brown eyes, but we can give her green eyes to show the origin of green eyes and blue eyes in our world today.”
“While some of Ham’s descendants in Scripture settled in Africa where darker skin is more prevalent, many others did not. Ham can still have dark brown hair and brown eyes like his mother and father, but he should be a little shorter than Noah.
There are hints that Ham and some of his close descendants were more powerful or sought to be more powerful than their relatives. As such, we can show Ham as a little more muscular or stockier than his brothers.”
Ham’s wife may have been the darkest of anyone on the Ark. This would fit with the idea that many of their descendants settled in Africa. However, it seems like most of Ham’s descendants actually fall into the middle brown category—Mizraim (Egypt), Put (Libya), and Canaan (Canaan) were probably middle brown based on images of the early peoples that settled these lands. Only Cush (Ethiopia) seems to have been pretty dark.
Since she will be the darkest, she will also have dark hair and eyes. There’s also the possibility that some of Ham’s descendants spread to East and Southeast Asia, so his wife could display some of the facial features and skin tones that are common to people in this region.
Please also visit the Ark Encounter posts about Noah’s wife, Shem, and Shem’s wife.
I will also attach a petition signed by thousands of Kentucky citizens who oppose these tax rebates. The petition includes many Christians, Republicans, and conservatives.
Thank you very much for your consideration.