Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) is going after AiG’s life-size Noah’s Ark again. This time they have lodged a motion in federal court to intervene in regard to our lawsuit with the State of Kentucky over a denial of the Ark project participating in a tourism tax incentive program. Its intervenors “are four Kentucky taxpayers who oppose the use of their tax dollars to promote religion” and each person “pays taxes, including sales and income taxes, to the Commonwealth.”
According to the Intervenors’ Motion to Dismiss, two of the four intervenors are stated to be “ordained Christian ministers.” For instance, one of them is Christopher M. Caldwell who states, “I am a minister ordained in the Baptist Faith and I serve as pastor at Broadway Baptist Church.”
Pastor Caldwell went on to declare the following: “The tax rebates sought for Ark Encounter would effectively compel me, as a Kentucky taxpayer, to subsidize a religious ministry against my will.” This same statement is made by three others, including Paul Simmons on faculty at the University of Louisville, a “minister ordained in the Baptist faith.” He states he has “served as pastor and interim pastor at a number of churches in Kentucky.”
AU is guilty of helping to perpetuate this myth that money is coming out of the state treasury to build the Ark.
Americans United for Separation for Church and State knows that no one will be compelled “to subsidize a religious ministry against … [their] will.” And no one is compelling people to visit the Ark Encounter. Moreover, contrary to popular—but wrong—opinion, the tax incentive is not some kind of government grant to help Answers in Genesis construct the Ark Encounter. AU is guilty of helping to perpetuate this myth that money is coming out of the state treasury to build the Ark. In its motion to dismiss our lawsuit, AU makes it seem as if the proposed tax incentives would be akin to a government grant, but that is a complete misrepresentation of the actual tax incentive, which would be a rebate of a percentage of sales tax from ticket sales collected from those who voluntarily visit the Ark Encounter. And the tax rebate (of sales tax revenues generated by the project itself) would not begin to be rebated until after Ark Encounter has been operational for one year, and then only a percentage up to an approved maximum over ten years. Absolutely no unwilling taxpayers will see their money be used to build the Ark Encounter!