Once again, we write about the Ark Encounter project, a theme park under construction in northern Kentucky, promoted by Answers in Genesis (AIG), the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.
You know that Hambo’s outfit is currently embroiled in litigation with the State of Kentucky over AIG’s application to receive millions in sales tax rebates. The last time we wrote about it was Ken Ham’s Litigation: Americans United Joins In. We don’t have any news about the lawsuit — at least not about what’s going on in the courtroom. Instead, this is about the effect of that mess in Kentucky generally.
Our usual news sweeps didn’t pick this up, but we were told about it by one of our clandestine operatives. It comes from the Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky (not far from ol’ Hambo’s Creation Museum). Their headline is: Ky gubernatorial candidates on the issues An icon below the headline will take you to the newspaper’s comments feature. Only a few excerpts from the news story are of interest to us. We added some bold font for emphasis:
Here are the views of the six candidates for Kentucky governor on a range of issues. The questions were emailed to them this week.
The issues that were put to the candidates involve tax reform, pensions, the cost of higher education, health care, gambling, a statewide smoking ban in workplaces and indoor public places, jobs and the minimum wage, climate change, and — of all things — ol’ Hambo’s Ark Park.
On taxes, the Republicans want them lower; the Democrats don’t. On health care, the Democrats favor “Obamacare” and the Republicans don’t. On climate change, one Republican (Comer) doesn’t believe in it. The other two who responded (Heiner and Scott) say it may be happening, but they don’t want the state’s coal industry shut down. Only two Democrats responded. One (Conway) says it’s happening, but he still wants to protect the coal industry. The other (Young) says “polluters should pay.” Those are unremarkable responses, pretty much in line with what one would expect these days.
Okay, now for the topic of interest around here — ol’ Hambo’s ark project, and the millions in sales tax rebates that he’s suing to get. Although the matter is in court, and it involves purely Constitutional questions about the role of the state in paying money to religious organizations, this is somehow an issue in the Governor’s race. Here’s the question that was sent to all of them:
Do you favor or oppose extending $18 million in state tax rebates to the Ark Encounter project in Grant County, which has acknowledged it plans to limit its hiring to Christians? Why or why not?
This is what the candidates say, Republicans first:
Bevin: I favor the extension of these rebates, because to do otherwise is discriminatory and flies in the face of protected 1st Amendment rights. Last time I checked, Christians’ jobs and money are just as critical in supporting our economy as any other dollars.
Comer: I favor extending these tax rebates. This should be viewed like any other economic development project by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It will bring hundreds of jobs to Kentucky.
Heiner: Favor. I support an even playing field for Kentucky Tourism Development Program dollars. Assuming that the Ark Encounter’s religious preference in hiring is within legal bounds, it should receive fair and just treatment under the program guidelines.
Scott: I favor the existing agreement for performance-based tax rebates for this project and expect that anyone who would want to work there would probably be a Christian.
They’re all theocrats, and therefore they don’t care about the Constitution of the US or of Kentucky. Now the Democrats:
Conway: I support the right of individuals to live by their religious beliefs, but we’re a better state and country for not discriminating in employment.
Young: Oppose. They demand the “right” to practice religious discrimination in their hiring practices. While they might legally be allowed to do that — if they’re actually some kind of church, for example — the state is under no legal or ethical obligation to subsidize their business.
So there you are. That’s our two-party system in action. We have previously expressed our dismay at the current state of affairs — see Creationism or Socialism: Which is Dumber? But before you read it, be warned — our Curmudgeonly views will upset most of you. Being a Curmudgeon, we’ve learned to accept it.
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