Creationist Group Wants a Tax Break to Discriminate

How far will religious-righters go to use faith as a weapon to harm others? Pretty far — including demanding government help to do it.

Answers in Genesis, a militantly anti-evolution ministry, is suing the state of Kentucky for the right of its proposed creation theme park to discriminate on the basis of religion even while getting $18 million in tax incentives.

Kentucky tourism officials told Answers in Genesis in December that the proposed Ark Encounter creationist theme park won’t be eligible for the tax incentives unless the organization pledges not to discriminate in hiring based on religion. That’s a requirement any non-religious business must meet. But Answers in Genesis President Ken Ham is claiming that Kentucky officials are hostile to religion:

“(T)he state was so insistent on treating our religious entity as a second-class citizen that we were simply left with no alternative but to proceed to court. This is the latest example of increasing government hostility towards religion in America, and it’s certainly among the most blatant.”

Ham — who has attacked the Texas Freedom Network for defending the teaching of evolution — is talking nonsense. The state is simply treating his proposed theme park as it would any other business. If Ham wants the right to discriminate on the basis of religion, then the theme park isn’t a business — it’s part of his ministry. Indeed, the state’s tourism secretary, in a letter to Answers in Genesis in December, worried that the theme park was evolving into an extension of the group’s ministry rather than a tourist attraction:

“State tourism tax incentives cannot be used to fund religious indoctrination or otherwise be used to advance religion. The use of state incentives in this way violates the separation of church and state provisions of the Constitution and is therefore impermissible.”

That is entirely correct. Frankly, however, we always thought it was a bad idea to provide tax incentives even to a supposedly non-religious business, like this creationist theme park, that is really promoting a particular religious perspective. But by demanding the right to discriminate, Ham simply made it clearer to Kentucky officials that tax incentives for the theme park were improper.

If Ham wants to create an expensive propaganda tool to promote his ministry and particular religious beliefs about creation, he has every right to do so — on his own dime. But has no right to expect government to help him do it, especially if he wants to use that help to discriminate against people who don’t share his religious beliefs.

4 thoughts on “Creationist Group Wants a Tax Break to Discriminate

  1. Any idiot, other than Ken Ham that is, would have realized from the start that a state, any state cannot provide financing for anything that is exclusive to his or any other religion and hostile to all that remain.

    “Answers in Genesis” provides no answers to anything natural, it’s just a farce in the first place, a laughable farce at that.

    1. Additionally, while the state has a public interest in job creation, and as such can justify spending tax dollars, it has a public interest in creating jobs available for all citizens — and thus, jobs subject to sectarian discrimination do not serve the state’s interest underlying the providing of such public funding.

  2. When old Hambo floated this project some years ago I had to laugh out loud at Ky. Gov. Beshear falling all over himself to welcome the Biblical theme park, and announced the tax incentives.

    It was transparent from the beginning, thinly transparent, that the for-profit Ark Encounter was a shell company run by AIG. Old Hambo never hid that fact. It was also clear that the for-profit Ark Encounter business would have to abide by regular business rules and regulations. It was when old Hambo put out a job opening and it said right there in the requirements that applicants would have to sign a “statement of faith” that it all came unraveled.

    Furthermore, it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to read on the AIG website that the Ark Encounter project is an extension of the AIG ministry.

    The state of Kentucky was idiotic getting involved with this project in the first place. Now they have to deal with this mess.

  3. There is only one word to describe those jackasses who deny evolution: Jackasses!

    One quick proof of evolution is the fact that bacteria can evolve to be immune to antibiotics!

    That is evolution in action. People who want to thump their bibles need psychological help to understand that God did not write the books, humans did. The bit about Adam and Eve are MYTHS.

    Their bastardization of the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” is beyond anything that can be called decent.

    Those people want to undo the civil rights legislation to bring back what they think of as the good old days. If given the choice, they would bring back Jim Crow laws and discriminate against people in housing and employment.

    As a person who is old enough to have BEEN discriminated against because of my religion, I am violently opposed to the “religious” people who want to take this country backwards.