Noah accepts tax incentives, Constitution bursts into flame?

Dallas Cowboys Stadium Video Screen
Worshipers... er, I mean... Dallas Cowboy fans gather in Jerry Jones' Taj Mahal, built with fairy wings and unicorn tears purchased with tax dollars from Texans in Arlington. (Image via Wikipedia)

Possibly hearing that I was born in that state, Noah has been inspired to rebuild the ark in Kentucky, but his plan to accept tax incentives is apparently running afoul of some government watchdogs and “constitutional concern” groups.

OK, none of that is exactly true.  Rather, folks in some way related to the Creation Museum in Kentucky (which I reviewed here: “Review of our Creation Museum visit”) are planning to build a religious theme park in Grant County Kentucky: An 800-acre “Ark Encounter.”  It aims, among other things, to build a life-sized replica of the ark using techniques hypothetically possible at the time of Noah as an educational tool about how realistically possible it was for Noah to do exactly as God asked and to dispel naysayers.

Read all about it in today’s Wall Street Journal piece (not, thankfully, behind a paywall), “Rebuilding Noah’s Ark, Tax-Free.” The author Wilfred M. McClay, professor of history and humanities at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, describes the planned theme park thusly:

“Ark Encounter, a more commercial enterprise, plans to offer an array of animals to serve as ark-dwellers, a 10-story Tower of Babel, a recreation of a first-century Middle Eastern village, high-tech simulations of Old Testament stories, and a petting zoo. Designers say that every detail, down to the construction techniques of the Ark itself, will plausibly reflect the biblical account.”

(Actually, you don’t have to take his word for all of it; the Ark Encounter website, itself, has some details.)

The controversy is that the governor of Kentucky plans to provide tax incentives for the development.  Providing tax incentives to private, commercial enterprise has long been held to be constitutional, but the fact that this private, commercial enterprise plans to support a certain bible-related worldview apparently has “separation of church and state” folks up in arms.

I take no side on the politics and constitutionality of tax incentives.  Those who believe it is wrong to offer such incentives should also question such deals as what Arlington, Texas made with Jerry Jones for the new Dallas Cowboys stadium–a house of worship if I’ve ever seen one.  Why would one supposedly money-producing commercial enterprise be preferred over another? (Not that they never would be, but what are the actual criteria?)  And for those who believe that such government encouragement should absolutely be allowed, what if the theme park were, instead, “The Glorious World of the Qur’an” (complete with a “Ride the Buraq” roller coaster?) intended to spread the belief in the accuracy of Islam’s “sacred” text.  What, constitutionally, separates the two?

The Wall Street Journal article is a quick read, and touches on more than the possible constitutional crisis Noah faces.  For instance, do such commercial enterprises truly help spread or increase religious understanding, or do they demean or cheapen that which they intend to promote?  Might be a good conversation this Sabbath.

4 thoughts on “Noah accepts tax incentives, Constitution bursts into flame?

  1. I’m pretty sure the Constitution is in no danger as it’s been shipped out of the country for safekeeping… the only question is who’s keeping it. 😀 We don’t seem to have much use for it anymore.

    Seriously, as you know “my citizenship is in heaven” and I put no faith in this instrument of man, but it’s better than many man have tried. And something tells me that a theme park called “The Glorious World of the Qur’an” (sic) might get more headway these days than one based on the Bible. Just making trend analysis here, that’s all…

  2. This is why I’ve said for years that it will be easy in the Kingdom of God to teach many U.S. residents about the seventh-day Sabbath.

    They already observe it in the fall — only they’re worshipping college football.

    (Come to think of it, this also would apply in the U.K. They have “Soccer Saturdays” for about nine months of the year.)

  3. Thomas

    Speaking of Noah, the ark, and more particularly, the flood, scientists are saying that the Earth experienced a worldwide flood of Biblical proportions 8,200 years ago, thanks to the massive release of trapped meltwaters in Canada. The article says that the event has been tentatively linked to the drowning of a thriving civilisation(s) in and around the Persian Gulf basin at about the same time. There is speculation that this event is the origin of the epic of Gilgamesh and the Biblical narrative.

    The article says that these results were published in the latest issue of the journal “Current Anthropology” by archaeologist Jeffrey Rose.

    First time I’ve heard credible scientific evidence for a worldwide flood of Biblical proportions, let alone one in a time frame that lends credence to the Biblical narrative. Science continues to play catch up with the Bible.

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