Yesterday I reported that Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration requested that a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed agains the state by Answers in Genesis over the 18 million dollar tax incentive the organization lost to complete its Ark Encounter theme park.
According to the states motion to dismiss,
Even if the allegations in Plaintiffs’ Complaint are taken as true, Plaintiffs’ claims fail as a matter of law. The majority of the Complaint’s factual allegations are immaterial or implausible. Providing the public funding sought for religious purposes in this multi-count Complaint would constitute an unlawful establishment of religion under the federal Constitution and the more demanding Kentucky Constitution.
However, Answers in Genesis is claiming that the state was aware of the religious theme the entire time,
The state alleges that the Ark has changed its objective from tourist attraction to a ministry. AiG, however, has long pointed out the obvious: this Bible-themed park, like its sister attraction, the successful Creation Museum, would center on religious themes. How could Gov. Beshear—who originally expressed his enthusiastic support for the Ark project in 2010 and also declared that the law could not discriminate against a tourist project because of its message—now claim that he has suddenly discovered that a theme park based on biblical themes is about religion?
The state and all of its officials were under no illusion the park would have a religious theme, it is a Noah’s Ark theme park, however the organization hid the fact from the state that the theme would be pushed further into proselytization.
This should be painfully obvious to anyone that AiG would use this park to spread their Christian message, but it seems the state allowed the park to operate under good faith that it would adhere to all state and federal laws, something Ken Ham even told me himself the park would do.
However once the park started hiring and showed blatant discrimination of employees based on religious beliefs and wording in their job description it became obvious to everyone that the organization would not be following any state or federal laws.
AiG argues that its application for a sales tax rebate should be treated by the state as any applicant would be that is seeking to build a tourist attraction in Kentucky. Its federal lawsuit is being heard in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.
The issue is, the tax rebate application was in fact treated as any other and upon review it was found that the park was in violation of both state and federal laws and the state felt it would be a clear violation of both those laws to offer taxpayer money to the organization. Something made very clear in the states 101 page motion to the court,
Further, the denial of public funds to Plaintiffs reflects no hostility toward Plaintiffs’ faith — and as a matter of law, there has been no violation of the Free Speech Clause, Plaintiffs’ Right of Expressive Association, the Free Exercise Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, or the Due Process Clause.
As I reported yesterday, this case seems pretty open and shut and given the document sent to the courts highlighting the history of the Ark Encounter the judge should have very little problem dismissing the case as it shows that AiG has no legal standing and no legal right to taxpayer money.