Amidst all the misinformation and false accusations coming from portions of the secular media, from the Democratic Speaker of the House in Kentucky, and from atheist bloggers in regard to the Ark Encounter project and its funding, we are thankful that the Courier Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) agreed to post an opinion piece (called an op-ed) that one of our attorneys wrote to clearly put matters right.
Mike Johnson is chief counsel of Freedom Guard, a nonprofit, constitutional law organization that has assisted Answers in Genesis with its Ark Encounter project. He states the following in the op-ed that was posted online today to the Courier-Journal website:
One would expect that any project that will bring millions of dollars in new capital investment, create hundreds of jobs and be a tremendous asset to the communities of Northern Kentucky would be enthusiastically welcomed by every Kentuckian. But because the project at issue is the Ark Encounter theme park, a few radical secularists and others are doing their best to oppose the park and misrepresent both the law and the related facts. Fortunately, the secularists' arguments hold no water.In regard to the performance-based sales tax refund, Mike Johnson states the following:
This is clearly not a government "grant," as the secularists have claimed, because not a single penny will be pulled from the existing state treasury to help build or support the Ark project. Instead, the commonwealth has merely agreed as an incentive that it will refund a portion of the brand-new tax dollars that are generated by the park itself, if and when the park meets certain attendance-performance levels at the end of each year. It's the same deal that every other participant in the act has been given — and that is precisely the "government neutrality" that is required by the First Amendment.Mike ends his op-ed with this challenge:
If the secularists were truly proponents of the First Amendment as they claim, they would want to welcome that civic discourse (and tremendous economic development), rather than stamp it out. When the Ark Project sails, everybody will benefit — even those who are stubbornly trying to sink it.I encourage you to read the rest of this short, but powerful and informative, op-ed.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,