On December 1, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (D) held a press conference to unveil plans for a theme park inspired by one of history’s most mysterious epic structures: Noah’s Ark.
Titled “Ark Encounter”, the proposed privately funded $150 million for-profit project is expected to be an exciting addition to Kentucky’s economy. Ark Encounter may employ 900 workers and attract 1.6 million visitors in its first year, according to an America’s Research Group feasibility study.
But the question and answer exchange after the announcement sounded like a case point destined to appear in a future edition of S.E. Cupp’s book Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity.
“Isn’t the idea of tax credits from the state or the local governments blatantly unconstitutional?” asked one reporter, who apparently thought a violation was so obvious that he didn’t even need to mention the words “God”, “faith”, “church” or “religion” in that sentence…
Click here to continue reading at The Washington Times Communities.
It fails the test. Just because three religions buy into the Ark story doesn’t mean that the park suddenly passes the test.
Explain to me exactly how multiple religions believing a myth suddenly means the park doesn’t advance religion. If anything, it’s advancing three religions and thus fails.
It does not establish one religion as being an official religion of the state. The Lemon test is, understandably, rooted in the Establishment Clause.
Furthermore, there is Kentucky’s religiously explicit State Constitution:
“We, the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy, and invoking the continuance of these blessings, do ordain and establish this Constitution…
…No preference shall ever be given by law to any religious sect, society or denomination; nor to any particular creed, mode of worship or system of ecclesiastical polity; 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; nor shall any man be compelled to send his child to any school to which he may be conscientiously opposed; and the civil rights, privileges or capacities of no person shall be taken away, or in anywise diminished or enlarged, on account of his belief or disbelief of any religious tenet, dogma or teaching. No human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience…”
By the way (if I didn’t make this clear), taxpayers will not actually be paying for the building of the Ark Encounter theme park: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2010/12/10/feedback-taxpayers-not-paying-to-build-ark-encounter
I’m as atheist as they come, but I definitely want to go to this park. In fact, it might be the only reason I’ve ever been compelled to visit Kentucky (besides the fried chicken, of course). Looks like a hilariously good time.