There is a major update today. Kentucky has withdrawn tax incentives for the Ark Park. This ship is sunk. HUZZAH!
Tourism Secretary Bob Stewart says the planned project had evolved from a tourism attraction into an outreach for the Christian ministry that is building it. Stewart wrote in a letter Wednesday to the group’s lawyer that “state tourism tax incentives cannot be used to fund religious indoctrination.”
Originally published 09-Dec-2014
In a followup to this story: Greenbacks and Ham: Ark park money may fall through due to religious discrimination, we might need to send a Waaambulance to Answers in Genesis HQ. They don’t like people skeptical of the Ark park. What to do? Put up inane billboards, of course. That always works.
Answers in Genesis announced Monday that it will run 16 billboards, including in Louisville, Lexington and Frankfort, directing people to the group’s website for more information about the project.
The group says it wants to counter “myths” about the project’s future hiring policies and use of tax dollars, which it said are being spread by the media and secular activists. It plans to continue the campaign into January.
In July, the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority gave preliminary approval for the park to participate in a state tax-incentive program. The deal would let the park keep 25 percent of the sales tax it collects for 10 years, amounting to more than $18 million.
But state tourism officials have cited fears that the project won’t comply with state and federal law, and before giving final approval, they have asked for assurances that it will not discriminate on the basis of religion.
Yet, it’s been made pretty obvious that they will be somewhat discriminatory. That is, the park itself promotes religion so the employees will be expected to subscribe to that belief or at least promote it enthusiastically as part of the park. But Ark Encounter is allowed to give employment preferences based on religion under both state and federal law.
Regardless, this project was a boondoggle from the get go and should never have been approved. Ham’s Creation Museum is facing troubles, the project could not raise money (Ham blamed the mean old liberal atheists), and Ham got skewered in a debate with Bill Nye. It’s going to take a lot more than billboards in Kentucky to keep this ship afloat.