As I posted earlier, nearly $10 billion in taxpayer money went to religious organizations in the form of forgivable loans as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, based on information released yesterday by the government.
Some churches received more than $5 million apiece. While the money is meant to help pay staffers, it certainly allows those churches to reallocate funds that could have served a similar purpose, giving them more cash on hand to use for preaching. It’s taxpayer money that’s effectively promoting religion.
But here’s one more bit of news regarding that cash.
Crosswater Canyon, the parent company for Ark Encounter, received between $1 million and $2 million from the Paycheck Protection Program.
The government filing says that the money was given to support 419 staff positions.
Now maybe you’re thinking that’s not weird. It’s a non-profit. People who work for them are struggling like everyone else during this pandemic. Churches are getting money and that’s arguably much more egregious. So what’s the big deal?
Well, unlike other institutions, Ken Ham spent months urging his donors to give him more than $1 million because of how Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum were affected by the virus:
… During the nearly three-month shutdown of our attractions, Answers in Genesis chose to keep moving forward, declaring the truth of God’s Word during a difficult time for so many, with increased online programming, outreach, and teaching. The proclamation of the gospel demands it.
How were we able to do this? We let you know our needs and you responded by giving sacrificially to get us through.
He said repeatedly that he needed cash to “help sustain the core AIG ministry during the coronavirus situation.” One email fundraiser even said the money would be used to “cover costs such as recalling furloughed staff.”
So if that fundraiser was meant to assist with the “reopening” and paying staffers who were temporarily laid off… what’s the taxpayer money doing? If nothing else, the government’s cash (75% of which must be used for payroll if Crosswater Canyon doesn’t want to pay it back) can now be used for paychecks, allowing Ham to use the money donors gave him — which he raised by saying it would help staffers — for preaching purposes. Or maybe a mini Ark for the kids to play in. Who knows.
According to the government filing, though, the loan was approved on April 14. That thermometer didn’t go up on their website until mid-May. At least one of those fundraising emails alluding to furloughed staff was sent on May 30. They knew they were receiving money from the government and still asked people for cash to assist with the same damn thing.
Shady. Just shady…
(Thanks to Dan for the link)