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“Need vs. Notoriety” is the conflict at the center of Cheri Lawson’s NPR piece on the Ark Encounter theme park proposed for northern Kentucky.

The story covers Governor Steve Beshear’s defense of the park (which represents a literal interpretation of the story of Genesis) on financial grounds and the ridicule the project has received. It goes further, too, talking with scientists and scholars about science education and the Constitution.


The Economist has posted a short piece (that appeared in last week’s print edition) about the Ark Encounter theme park and the legality of the tax breaks it’s likely to receive:

…the park’s employees will not need to adhere to the statement of faith. Kentucky’s Tourism Development Act provides tax incentives for any qualified tourism project. A 2009 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which includes Kentucky, said that as long as such programmes endorse “all qualified applicants”, they endorse “none of them, and accordingly [do not] run afoul of the federal or state religion clauses.” Onward, Christian tourists.

Update: The Washington Post has more on the park (h/t B&P):

The Ark Encounter has been in the news recently because of its strict interpretation of the Noah story, a biblical passage that has taken on new resonance as global warming raises fears of larger and more devastating floods and droughts worldwide. Bloggers have pounced on pages from the Answers in Genesis Web site that patiently explain why dinosaurs will be included among the animals represented in its ark display: “God sent two of every (seven of some) land animal into the Ark,” it says. “There were no exceptions.” They also believe in unicorns.

But the appearance of the LEED standards on the organization’s Web site is the bigger news, suggesting not only the extent of a trend already well documented – the embrace of environmentalism among evangelical Christians – but a fundamental shift in how religiously conservative Christians think of two basic biblical ideas: dominion and stewardship. And that change could have profound implications for the ongoing debate about global warming.

Evangelicals embracing environmentalism is an interesting angle. “They also believe in unicorns” is an interesting sentence.

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