Who knew that Noah’s Ark was going to be a major American news item? The country’s at war, the economy is dismal, the electorate is aroused, and the press is babbling about … Noah’s Ark. We can’t figure out whether this is denial or dementia.
What — you don’t know what we’re talking about? Okay, here’s some background: This is about the recently-announced Noah’s Ark theme park to be built in Kentucky and named Ark Encounter. It’s the latest scheme being promoted by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian creationist who brought you Answers in Genesis (AIG) and the mind-boggling Creation Museum.
As we recently posted (see Kentucky’s Governor Is a Flaming Idiot), Governor Steve Beshear — a Democrat — not only appeared with ol’ Hambo at the official announcement of the new park, but he’s also trying to get the project some special tax incentives.
Okay, now you know what’s going on. The New York Times has a long piece on the proposed Kentucky project. See In Kentucky, Noah’s Ark Theme Park Is Planned. All the information is there, but the article is quite neutral in tone. We didn’t realize the Times could do that.
But it’s different in Kentucky. The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky isn’t neutral at all. We earlier posted Editorial Opposes Gov. Beshear & Noah’s Ark. Now they have a column by Joseph Gerth titled Beshear sails risky waters for ark park.
Gerth is good — he coulda been a blogger! We want you to click over there to read it all for yourself, so here are just a few excerpts, with bold added by us:
The announced plan for the state to help fund a $150 million monument to fundamentalist religious belief in Grant County has unified liberals, moderates and even some conservatives on one theological question:
What in God’s name is Gov. Steve Beshear thinking?
We told you this guy was good. Let’s read on:
Some have questioned whether the state can legally offer the incentives, which would basically be a refund of sales taxes collected on tickets, food and other items sold at the park.
The Beshear administration has defended those tax incentives, saying that because they are available to groups of all faiths, the incentives do not run counter to the First Amendment, which has been interpreted to provide for a separation of church and state.
Creationists never see any constitutional impediment to their theocratic plans. We continue:
If there is a constitutional problem with the incentives, the problem may be more with the Kentucky Constitution, which says no one should be “compelled to attend any place of worship, to contribute to the erection or maintenance of any such place, or to the salary or support of any minister of religion.”
Your Curmudgeon is very impressed. We’ve been writing about The Controversy between evolution and creationism for almost three years now, and this is the first time we’ve seen anyone in the press refer to his own state’s Constitution. Here’s more:
[Gov. Steve Beshear] seems to be courting a segment of the population that is not likely to back a Democrat — especially this Democrat. Remember, it was Beshear, who as attorney general in 1981, wrote that the Ten Commandments had to come down in Kentucky classrooms.
We didn’t know that. Beshear seems to be fixing an old defect in his Luddite appeal.
In a strategic way, this reminds us of Alabama Governor George Wallace. After losing an election early in his career, he decided that he lost because he hadn’t been segregationist enough; and he vowed that no one would ever defeat him on that issue again. No one ever did. You may disagree, but we’re starting to suspect that creationism has replaced segregation as a regional campaign issue.
Here’s one more excerpt, and then you’re on your own:
Beshear’s spokeswoman said it would bring “a boatload of jobs” to the state, while one Capitol wag joked that Beshear had promised to bring more jobs to the state “come hell or high water.”
The question is, will it help him hold on to his.
No one in Kentucky is going to surpass Steve Beshear when it comes to Noah’s Ark! Paraphrasing Wallace, Beshear’s next campaign slogan will be: “I say creationism today, creationism tomorrow, creationism forever!”
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