Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Kentucky Equality Federation's Chair and Treasurer Promise legal action for Noah's Ark tax incentives; teacher's express alarm
Previous pictures taken inside the "Creation Museum" attribute homosexuality as being an abomination. Kentucky Equality Federation has created an online petition to stop government sponsored religion by denying tax incentives to the "Ark Project."
The freedom of religion is clearly outlined in the Section V of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. In addition, the Kentucky Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down funding to religious institutions.
However, by personally announcing the Ark project, Kentucky's chief of state, government, and commander-in-chief, has done exactly that. Governor Steve Beshear said the group has applied for tax incentives via the Kentucky Tourism Development Act, and the fact that the project has a religious theme should not be a factor in the approval process.
By giving tax incentives to Ark Encounter LLC, or Answers in Genesis, the Commonwealth is in fact giving "preference to a religious sect, society or denomination."
"We have a responsibility to our Constitution and our youth. By ignoring science, in addition to the Kentucky House of Representatives passing a resolution adopting the Manhattan Declaration's anti-gay "Christian values," they are creating a religious Commonwealth, stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. How many additional teen suicides will occur because our government is adopting these so-called "Christian values? They are certainly not any Christian values I have ever read."
Palmer continued: "People across the United States are making fun of Kentucky because of the "Ark Project," in addition to the Kentucky House of Representatives adopting the Manhattan Declaration. We will not allow Kentucky to become a religious state.
"Not only is it a question of freedom of religion, but a question of the usage of our tax dollars. There are more important things that they could be utilizing the money for," stated Matt Berry, Kentucky Equality Federation's Eastern Kentucky Regional Director.
Several Kentucky teachers have also protested the tax incentives. Due to the volatile nature of this project, their names shall remain confidential: "I teach science in Kentucky, and am confronted everyday with the difficulties of dispelling myths about what science is and what scientists do. This is not entertainment, it is misinformation that is harmful to our future. We are trailing behind other developed countries in science education - if the governor truly cared about jobs, then science, math, and technology education should be a priority rather than something to undermine." Another stated: "In the midst of a huge recession and Republicans suddenly demanding we balance the budget, we're going to give away free money to these folks? I don't think so."
"If the Commonwealth provides tax incentives to the Ark project, we will attempt to form a coalition to challenge it as government sponsored religion," stated Richard T. Jones, Kentucky Equality Federation's Chairman of the Board. "By adopting the Manhattan Declaration, and lawmakers filing 'friend of the court briefs' to uphold the law to 'Publicize the findings of the General Assembly stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth by including the provisions of KRS 39A.285(3) in its agency training and educational materials' the Commonwealth is creating a religious state and forcing a specific religion on the Commonwealth's citizens."
Dean Byrd, Kentucky Equality Federation's Treasurer also denounced the project, and stated the Federation would sue the Commonwealth, or form a coalition to sue the Commonwealth if tax incentives are granted.
at 11:52 PM