If you don’t know about the suit filed against Kentucky by Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — it’s discussed here: AIG’s Complaint Against Kentucky. The last time we posted about it was Ken Ham’s Litigation: Two Reactions.
Today we have some news from the Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky (not far from ol’ Hambo’s Creation Museum). Their headline is Beshear asks for dismissal of Ark case. An icon below the headline will take you to the newspaper’s comments feature.
“Beshear” refers to Steve Beshear, the Governor of Kentucky. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
The Beshear administration on Friday asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed by developers of a proposed Noah’s Ark theme park over the state’s rejection of tax incentives for the project.
That’s expected. It would be unusual for the motion to be granted, but one never knows. Then we’re told:
Park developers Answers in Genesis filed the lawsuit in February in U.S. District Court claiming its right to freedom of religion was violated by the state’s denial of its application for $18 million in state tax incentives to for the park in Grant County. The suit was filed against Gov. Steve Beshear and Bob Stewart, secretary of the state Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.
We know all that. Ol’ Hambo claims his religious freedom was violated by the State’s denying him that $18 million. Let’s read on:
In their motion to dismiss on Friday, Beshear and Stewart said, “Providing the public funding sought for religious purposes … would constitute an unlawful establishment of religion” under the U.S. and Kentucky constitutions. [That ellipsis is in the newspaper’s article.]
It’s possible that the judge might dismiss the complaint. You know about the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Here’s the Kentucky Constitution. Section 5 of the state’s Bill of Rights says:
No preference shall ever be given by law to any religious sect, society or denomination; nor to any particular creed, mode of worship or system of ecclesiastical polity; nor shall any person 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; nor shall any man be compelled to send his child to any school to which he may be conscientiously opposed; and the civil rights, privileges or capacities of no person shall be taken away, or in anywise diminished or enlarged, on account of his belief or disbelief of any religious tenet, dogma or teaching. No human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.
And although it doesn’t seem directly applicable to Hambo’s theme park, Section 189 of the Kentucky Constitution says:
No portion of any fund or tax now existing, or that may hereafter be raised or levied for educational purposes, shall be appropriated to, or used by, or in aid of, any church, sectarian or denominational school.
Back to the news story:
Beshear and Stewart said that the state’s denial of public funds for the ark park “reflects no hostility toward Plaintiffs’ faith” and does not prohibit Answers in Genesis and its affiliated organizations from following their religious beliefs.
That’s certainly true. The rest of the story is background information, so we can do without it. But this is worth noting:
Last year a board within the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet that reviews such applications gave preliminary approval of an application seeking $18 million in tax rebates for the $73 million development that would feature a 510-foot wooden replica of Noah’s Ark.
But in December Stewart rejected the aplication [sic] on final review saying the applicant changed its position on hiring practices and now intended to discriminate in hiring based on religion. Stewart said the project had evolved from a tourist attraction to an extension of the ministry activities of Answers in Genesis.
Motions to dismiss are usually routine, and in all likelihood, this one will be denied and the litigation will continue. We’ll be watching.
Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.