A new church vs. state controversy has emerged in Kentucky over the proposed building of a Noah's Ark theme park, because the destination will benefit from generous tax incentives. While it's hard to see how this would in any way represent the establishment of a state religion and violate the Constitution, it's another reminder that government is inviting these sorts of battles whenever it meddles in the operation of a free economy. If a private company believes there's enough demand for a biblical-themed tourist attraction, let it convince investors and build one. But there's no reason why the state should have to offer special inducements.
According to the New York Times:
Under Kentucky’s Tourism Development Act, tourist attractions can get back up to 25 percent of their development costs over 10 years from sales tax generated at the facility. Ark Encounter stands to receive $37.5 million — a quarter of its investment.
The article also details how the park's devolopers are going to great lengths to try and make the experience as authentic as possible. Yet I went back and read chapter 6 of Genesis and am having a hard time finding the part where God says, "Make thee an ark of gopher wood...but first apply for government tax incentives."
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