Answers in Genesis (AiG), developer of the Ark Encounter theme park in Northern Kentucky, confirmed today it is filing a federal lawsuit against state officials for denying the park participation in the state’s tax rebate incentive program. Although the program is available to all qualifying tourist attractions seeking to build in the state, AiG’s application was rejected solely because of the religious identity and message of AiG. The lawsuit explains how this action by Kentucky officials, including Gov. Steve Beshear, violates federal and state law and amounts to unlawful viewpoint discrimination.Hat/tip to Joe Jervis
After Kentucky granted preliminary approval in 2014 for AiG to receive a rebate of some of the new state sales taxes the Ark will generate after it opens in 2016, secularist organizations exerted tremendous pressure on state officials to rescind the approval. Anti-Christian groups objected to AiG’s statutory right to limit its hiring to people of the Christian faith, and to the content of the messages that will be presented at the Bible-themed park. Bowing to this pressure, state officials (including Gov. Beshear) announced a reversal on December 10, 2014. Included as defendants in the lawsuit are Gov. Beshear and Robert Stewart, Kentucky’s Secretary of the Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet.