The Kentucky Tourism Cabinet originally approved tax incentives for this development, as it would for any project that attracts so many tourists to Kentucky. But then the government officials reversed themselves, declaring that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prevents them from giving a tax break to a project that includes some Christian messages. This reversal by the Kentucky government against the Ark left it “high and dry,” one might say, as the Christian group had already bought hundreds of acres of farmland in Kentucky based on the promised tax incentives. So the modern-day Noah sued in federal court, where district judge Gregory Van Tatenhove presided. In a brilliant decision observing “that some interaction between church and state is ‘inevitable,’” the judge ruled that the State of Kentucky itself had actually violated the First Amendment rights of the modern-day Noah, by discriminating against his group on the basis of his “religious beliefs, purpose, mission, message, or conduct.”
The Court held that government violates both the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause when it excludes an organization from a benefit based on its religious message. Noah would have been pleased by this ruling.
Listen to the radio commentary here: