This Week in Religion: Kentucky Govt Finally Cuts Off Subsidies to Noah's Ark Museum
This has not been the best of weeks for Ken Ham, the president of Answers in Genesis, a Creationist apologist ministry which operates the Creation Museum. It seems Ham’s recent undertaking, building a Noah’s Ark theme park, is not quite going his way.
After being granted an $18 million tax incentive by the state of Kentucky’s tourism board, and just days after unveiling a billboard with the slogan “Thank God you cannot sink this ship,” the state has rescinded the tax incentive. Kentucky has found that the project violates state and federal employment laws.
“State tourism tax incentives cannot be used to fund religious indoctrination or otherwise be used to advance religion,” Tourism Secretary Bob Stewart wrote in the letter to the park. “The use of state incentives in this way violates the separation of church and state provisions of the Constitution and is therefore impermissible.”
Even Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, who has fully supported the project, could not defend the organization.
“While the leaders of the Ark Encounter had previously agreed not to discriminate in hiring based on religion, they now refuse to make that commitment and it has become apparent that they do intend to use religious beliefs as a litmus test for hiring decisions,” Beshear said.
Several Lake Worth City, Florida commissioners walked out of a government meeting, upset that the opening invocation was being delivered by an atheist. Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo and three other commissioners exited the meeting room when Miami atheist Preston Smith approached the stand to give an invocation.
In a statement, the mayor said that free speech works both ways and that she does not have to listen to anything she does not agree with. Other commissioners did not agree with the walkout. Commissioner Christopher McVoy told WPTV that it was, "very un-American, and a slap in the face to the principles people fought very hard to make sure we had those rights."
Speaking of free speech, Glenn Beck is quite upset over this week's episode of "Family Guy," which is titled “The 2000-Year-Old-Virgin.” The family tries to help Jesus Christ lose his virginity in the episode.
Beck took issue with a show poking fun at the man he credits with every single good thing that has ever happened on Earth.
“Can you tell me a man who has done more good on earth, any man that is even close, than the historic Jesus?” asked Beck. “Every great act, every great, truly great freeing act was inspired by the teachings of Jesus Christ. Why would we take down just that man? Why would we make him into a joke? Out of all of the people you can joke about, all of the things you can do? And did we sit here as a nation, and laugh?”
Beck then asked his co-host Stu Burguiere why America doesn’t just crucify and beat Jesus all over again.
“Why not just put him up on the pillar again?” Beck asked. “Why not just whip him and beat him? Why not just publicly humiliate him, why not just tear his clothing from him, spit on him, and when he asks for water, we give him vinegar?”
But Burguiere thinks the "Family Guy" episode might be more heinous than a crucifixion.“I think you could argue this is worse,” he told Beck.
New Zealand pastor Logan Robertson of the Westcity Bible Baptist Church told a gay Christian that he doesn’t deserve to live.
"I pray that you will commit suicide, you filthy child-molesting fag,” Robertson said.
Jim Marjoram, who just published a book about being a gay Christian, said he emailed more than 400 churches about his book. Most didn’t bother replying, but Robertson’s church told the author, "We are not interested in your filthy lifestyle or book," and that, "Romans 1 clearly says God has rejected homos and they are worthy of death. You cannot be saved.”
Marjoram says his book aims to raise funds for his Silent Gays project, which is "dedicated to helping/healing gay people broken by guilt, shame, abuse and defeat that Christianity has mercilessly dealt out to God's precious people for too long.”