Religion, the Stimulant of the People

Paul R. Pillar 

The state of Kentucky is providing major tax incentives for the development of a Bible-based theme park called Ark Encounter. The featured attraction at the park will be a rendition of Noah’s ark, complete with an on-board menagerie. The park also will include a Tower of Babel and special effects depicting the ten plagues and the parting of the Red Sea. The park was conceived by, and has an ownership relationship with, the same Christian ministry that built the Creation Museum, also in Kentucky. That museum has evolution-denying exhibits that depict humans and dinosaurs living together on an earth that God created in six days. The tax incentives, which will enable the developers of Ark Encounter to recoup as much as a quarter of their investment, have raised the issue of separation of church and state, given that it constitutes major public support for a facility that promotes a specific religious message. The governor of Kentucky downplays the issue and says the public support is all about creating jobs.

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