Kentucky Rains on Plans for a $172M Noah's Ark Theme Park
When Kentucky's $172 million dollar Noah's Ark theme park was announced in 2010, many state politicians on both sides of the aisle were excited.
Now, the Kentucky Tourism Board has withdrawn its support and is refusing to give the project any tourism tax incentives.
Mike Johnson, chief counsel for Freedom Guard, which is representing the company Answers in Genesis, appeared on "Fox and Friends Weekend" this morning to discuss what changed.
Johnson explained that the governor and everyone in the Kentucky were in support of the project, and for good reason, since it would be a big boost for economic development.
Answers in Genesis claims that the amusement park, which will include a 510-foot wooden ark, will create hundreds of much-needed jobs in the area.
"But suddenly, they've changed course," Johnson said. "I think it's because these radical atheist organizations have applied political pressure."
He explained that it's unlawful for the state to treat religious groups differently than other groups, and that's why Answers in Genesis is considering a lawsuit.
He asserted that the state did so in this case, revoking the tax rebates when they discovered it was a religious-themed park.
"They can't do that under federal or state law, and that's why it's unconstitutional," Johnson said.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear recently released a statement, saying, "It has become apparent that they do intend to use religious beliefs as a litmus test for hiring decisions. For that reason, we cannot proceed with the tourism incentive application."
Johnson acknowledged it's true that anyone who works for Answers in Genesis must be a Christian, but that's not any different from other religious organizations, and it's well-established as legal by federal and state law.
Johnson said that Gov. Beshear and the state of Kentucky were aware of all of this at the start of the project, and it's disingenuous to deny that now.
"It's also unlawful," he said. "And that's why they've got a problem on their hands."
Watch the clip above.