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Creationist Theme Park Funded by Taxpayers?

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By Laura Strachan, Esq. on January 05, 2011 8:54 AM

Bringing the pages of the bible to life. That is the concept behind a for-profit creationist theme park located in Williamstown, Kentucky.The 800-acre park includes everything from a life-size Noah's ark to a 100-foot replica of the tower of Babel.

But the most controversial aspect of the park has to do with the fact that it is partially funded by taxpayers.

The theme park will be eligible for $37 million worth of state tourism incentives once it is completed, according to MSNBC.

"The people of Kentucky didn't elect me governor to debate religion, they elected me governor to create jobs," MSNBC quotes Kentucky governor Steve Beshear. Once completed, the park is slated to create close to 900 jobs in the area and draw around 1.6 million visitors annually.

Critics of the creationist theme park cite the obvious issue here: separation of church and state. However many feel that the potential problems associated with taxpayer funding is real. Issues like school-mandated field trips to the creationist theme park or discriminatory hiring practices may become a reality.

Although there is no question that it is a religious theme park, the line is not as clear when it comes to taxpayer funding. Federal courts have upheld state incentives for organizations affiliated with religious groups as long as the organization is not discriminatory. One thing is for sure, critics of the sponsorship will be keeping a very close eye on any actions that may resemble discrimination or other questionable issues relating to the park.

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