We really need a “you can’t make this stuff up” tag for stories like this. The hope is that the Ark Encounter theme park will attract conservative Christians, ‘Intelligent Design’ believers and creationists from all across America, perhaps bailing out Kentucky from it’s flood of red ink. It may well work, but should the state be subsidizing what is clearly a religious venture? Laurie Goodstein reports for the New York Times:
Facing a rising tide of joblessness, the governor of Kentucky has found one solution: build an ark.
The state has promised generous tax incentives to a group of entrepreneurs who plan to construct a full-size replica of Noah’s ark, load it with animals and actors, and make it the centerpiece of a Bible-based tourist attraction called Ark Encounter.
Since Gov. Steven L. Beshear announced the plan on Wednesday, some constitutional experts have raised alarms over whether government backing for an enterprise that promotes religion violates the First Amendment’s requirement of separation of church and state. But Mr. Beshear, a Democrat, said the arrangement posed no constitutional problem, and brushed off questions about his stand on creationism.
“The people of Kentucky didn’t elect me governor to debate religion,” he said at a news conference. “They elected me governor to create jobs.”
The theme park was conceived by the same Christian ministry that built the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., where dioramas designed to debunk evolution show humans and dinosaurs coexisting peacefully on an earth created by God in six days. The ministry, Answers in Genesis, believes that the earth is only 6,000 years old — a controversial assertion even among many Bible-believing Christians.
Although the Creation Museum has been a target of ridicule by some, it has drawn 1.2 million visitors in its first three years — proving that there is a sizable paying audience for entertainment rooted in a literal interpretation of the Bible…
[continues in the New York Times]