Originally posted at Dispatches From the Culture Wars: Ed Brayton writes on this clear violation of the 1st amendment in America.
Howard Friedman reports:
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear announced yesterday that, subject to approval by the state Tourism Development Finance Authority, the state will grant tax incentives that could total more than $37 million to developers of a new theme park, Ark Encounter. The park’s centerpiece will be a 500 foot long replica of Noah’s Ark, and will also feature an ancient walled city, a petting zoo, live animal shows featuring giraffes and elephants and a replica of the biblical Tower of Babel. The day-to-day operation of the park will be handled by Answers in Genesis, the group that operates the successful Creation Museum in northern Kentucky. Mike Zorvath, co-founder of Answers in Genesis ministry says the mission of the new park is to dispel doubts that Noah could have fit two animals of every kind on his ark.
Next they’ll give $100 million in tax breaks to the Rev. Moon to dispel the myth that he’s not the True Messiah and savior of the world. The governor can’t imagine why anyone might think there’s a constitutional problem with this:
State involvement in the $150 million project brought outrage from groups focused on the separation of church and state, but Beshear said there was nothing “remotely unconstitutional” about the proposal…Beshear said the law does not allow the state to discriminate against a for-profit business because of the subject matter. Not everyone supports NASCAR, the governor said, but that did not stop him from providing incentives to help Kentucky Speedway hold a Sprint Cup race next year.
Well yes, but the Constitution doesn’t say anything about government funding and endorsing auto races; it does have a thing or two to say about funding and endorsing religion.