There have been screams from the right for years about how tax-payer money is spent. They scream about tax-payer money being used to fund abortions for example. There have also been screams from the right about unions using union dues for campaign contributions. They want to make sure that any union member can “opt out” of their dues being used to support candidates. We all know that if unions were endorsing Republican Candidates, this “opt out” wouldn’t be necessary.
Their argument has always been that tax-payer money cannot be used for things like these because everyone doesn’t agree with them. So, if you disagree with abortion for example, your tax money should not be used to fund abortions, even for military personnel. On the surface, that seems logical. But, on the other hand, they have no problem with using tax-payer money to pay for things like Christmas scenes on government property. They call that religious freedom.
Well, the State of Kentucky has just taken this one step further. It seems that the State of Kentucky is recognizing a particular religious cult. They are willing to offer tax incentives and tax-payer money to them to show their support. Of course, Kentucky is saying they are doing this not to recognize a religious cult, but rather to create jobs.
Here is the story. Ken Ham and his nuts are planning to build a life-sized Ark based on the biblical story of Noah and the flood. The Ark Encounter is being built by Answers in Genesis, which also runs the Creationist Museum in Kentucky. The issue is that this clearly religious organization has been approved by the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority, a state-run agency, for a great deal of state money. Yep, this religious group has received preliminary approval for an $18 million tax incentive.
However, the State is turning a blind eye to the fact that the people who apply for these jobs will be subject to discrimination based on their beliefs. Daniel Phelps, a geologist, president of the Kentucky Paleontologist Society, and vice president of Kentuckians for Science Education, pointed out:
“However, it is apparent that Ark Encounter is likely to discriminate against non-Christians. Moreover, Catholics, mainstream Protestant Christians and some conservative Christians who have different doctrinal beliefs are also unlikely to be hired.
The job description included this statement: ‘Our work at Ark Encounter is not just a job, it is also a ministry. Our employees work together as a team to serve each other to produce the best solutions for our design requirements. Our purpose through the Ark Encounter is to serve and glorify the Lord with our God-given talents with the goal of edifying believers and evangelizing the lost.’”
The entire job description requires a salvation testimony, a creation belief statement and a confirmation of your agreement with the AiG Statement of Faith. That “Statement of Faith” includes these items.
“Those who do not believe in Christ are subject to everlasting conscious punishment, but believers enjoy eternal life with God.”
“The only legitimate marriage sanctioned by God is the joining of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other, and has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. Any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography, or any attempt to change one’s gender, or disagreement with one’s biological gender, is sinful and offensive to God”
“By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.”
It doesn’t take much reasoning to figure out that this Statement of Faith, which is required by anyone who will be employed will lead to discrimination against non-Christians, Catholics, LGBT persons, atheists, or anyone else who does not agree with the Statement of Faith. Yet, As Phelps put it: “The tax incentive, along with the city tax breaks, and the parcel of land sold to the project at a discount by Williamstown, plus $200,000 cash given by the Grant County Economic Development Commission is clearly a case of government entanglement with religion.”
The State may claim that this tax money is being used to create jobs. But, it is being used to create jobs for a small minority of people. It will be used to discriminate against anyone who disagrees with the Statement of Faith but still needs a job. As a result, there can be no conclusion other than the one that says the State of Kentucky is guilty of “recognizing” a particular religion. That is an obvious violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that says “the government shall not recognize an official state religion”.
Kentucky, the home of the renowned constitutionalist Mitch McConnel, seems to think that the First Amendment doesn’t pertain to them. But, that is the way it always works. Vilify your enemies and reward your supporters. Even if it breaks the law.