Ark Encounter park won't get Ky tax incentives


A Noah’s Ark theme park slated for Kentucky will not receive $18 million in state tax incentives.

The group behind the proposed park, Answers in Genesis, says that it is considering taking legal action in federal court.

The state Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet said in a letter Wednesday that the Ark Encounter theme park has changed its position on hiring policies since it originally filed for incentives in 2010 and now intends to discriminate in hiring based on religion.

It also said the park has evolved from a tourist attraction into an extension of the ministry activities undertaken by Answers in Genesis, which promotes a literal interpretation of the Bible’s old testament and argues that the Earth is only 6,000 years old.

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


Do theme parks usually get tax cuts/incentives??

The Cabinet says they intend to discriminate in hiring based on religion. That’ll do it.



There is no separation of Church and State in the Constitution as the Tourism Secretary describes. The first amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

To withhold funding of indoctrination purposes, I can see. But to withhold funds simply “to advance religion” is an awfully broad phrase and sounds like it could be quite discriminatory from a legal standpoint alone. Does Kentucky withhold all public funding of any homeless shelter that has a religious foundation? A battered women’s refuge? Nothing makes the advancement of “non-religious” world views automatically superior to religious world views.

I think all these religious people from which they withhold taxes should altogether be absolved of taxes if they can never be the recipient of those same dollars as a government grant. Religious and secular people pay taxes. Religious and secular business owners pay taxes. But the government will only ever return those dollars as grants to secular people? That’s ridiculous and reeks of criminality.


From another report on this story:

The comments came after state Tourism Secretary Bob Stewart, in a letter to the group, said the $18 million in tax breaks were lost because Answers in Genesis wouldn’t commit not to discriminate on the basis of religion in its hiring. And, he said, the project had evolved from a “tourism attraction to an extension of AIG’s ministry.” The group responded saying it had the right to discriminate on the basis of religion and receive incentives.

And from Insider Louisville:

…at issue in the dispute is the tax status and independence of the various groups affiliated with the park. The nonprofit ministry Answers in Genesis created the for-profit Ark Encounter, LLC in order to be eligible for the state tax incentives, and the park is to be operated by their nonprofit Crosswater Canyon, which also operates their Creation Museum in northern Kentucky. However, the lines between these organizations have blurred, as they share many of the same leaders and AiG raises funds for the park claiming such donations are tax-deductible. Ark Encounter’s job applications are posted on AiG’s website, which includes a requirement that employees agree with AiG’s fundamentalist religious beliefs — a legal practice for the AiG ministry itself, but one that precludes Ark Encounter from receiving tax incentives from the state.


First, there are no “separation of church and state provisions” in the US Constitution. Unless Secretary Stewart can explain how this park establishes a state church, which is what the Constitution does prohibit, he is misrepresenting the US Constitution.



we have to stand up for our moral beliefs and stop worrying about getting tax subsidies.


I agree. As an example, Hillsdale College accepts no federal funding, not even federal student loans, so that their education principles are not compromised.



that’s wonderful. i pray more catholic colleges and universities will begin down this road and stop compromising themselves.


I have the same prayer for Lutheran colleges. My sense is that as government becomes more and more hostile to religious schools, hospitals, etc., we won’t have any choice.



Answers in Genesis seems to want to have their cake and eat it too.

You don’t get to simultaneously claim that you are a for-profit tourist attraction deserving of state tourism tax incentives, simultaneously claiming that you are an extension of a religious organization’s teaching magisterium and therefore deserve to violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


ya, that’s a tough one.


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