In case you’re wondering whether the apple falls far from the tree, I present to you the sheer ignorance of Bristol Palin, who thinks Answers in Genesis’ Ark Encounter project was stripped of nearly $18,000,000 in potential tax rebates because it’s “too religious”:
I just get so sick of hearing about the “separation of church and state.” Because it usually means the state is pushing Christians around. Here’s the latest example.
Answers in Genesis is building a life-sized Noah’s Ark in Kentucky and a theme park to go with it. “Ark Encounter” will bring hundreds of jobs and millions of visitors to boost Kentucky’s economy. The state has a program to encourage tourism that refunds sales tax to big parks like this for the first 10 years they’re open. The plans for “Ark Encounter” were approved by the state in 2011 along with the tax credits.
But now, out of the blue, Kentucky officials say they’ve changed their mind! Answers in Genesis won’t be approved for the program unless they agree to hire people who aren’t Christians and unless the exhibit doesn’t talk about Christianity.
This is what we — those of us who actually educate ourselves on the issues — like to call “horseshit.”
Since she’s clearly unable to do any research, I’ll save her the time and give her the simplified version of the story:
Answers in Genesis was approved for the tax rebates because they were building a for-profit theme park and they agreed to play by the rules.
Like every other business that wants these government subsidies, they had to follow the law and not discriminate in hiring. Six Flags can’t do it. Kentucky Kingdom can’t do it. And Ark Encounter can’t do it.
But then they posted a job listing for Ark Encounter that required you to be a Christian. While that’s fine for, say, the non-profit Creation Museum, they can’t do that if they want the tax rebates.
Kentucky officials finally realized this and denied Answers in Genesis access to that money. It was the right move and it prevented a lawsuit from church/state separation groups in the future.
Governor Steve Beshear even said in a public statement:
“We expect any entity that accepts state incentives not to discriminate on any basis in hiring… While the leaders of Ark Encounter had previously agreed not to discriminate in hiring based on religion, they now refuse to make that commitment and it has become apparent that they do intend to use religious beliefs as a litmus test for hiring decisions. For that reason, we cannot proceed with the tourism incentive application for the Ark Encounter project.”
That’s it. It’s not anti-Christian. It’s pro-Following-the-Law.
What was Bristol Palin saying again?
Answers in Genesis won’t be approved for the program unless they agree to hire people who aren’t Christians and unless the exhibit doesn’t talk about Christianity.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. And she would know it if she bothered to read more than Fox News headlines. She’s either purposely lying or she’s blissfully ignorant and unwilling to admit the reality of the situation.
State officials (and church/state separation groups) aren’t against Christians. All we want is for them to play by the same rules as everybody else.
But playing fair is what Palin calls “pushing Christians around.”
I can’t imagine where she gets it from…