Freedom of religion was established by the First Amendment and guarantees every citizen the right to practice the religion of his or her choice. It simply states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This amendment means that government cannot favor one religion over another and that government cannot infringe on anyone’s right to practice the religion of his choice.
When the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority approved the Answers in Genesis ministry’s long-pending application for tax breaks, the state did what the First Amendment intended to be prohibited. By giving tax breaks for the purpose of building the Noah’s Ark Theme Park, state government is favoring the Christian religion and is, therefore, violating the Constitution and threatening freedom of religion.
Answers in Genesis can build its park on private property, but it cannot use taxpayers’ money to help pay for the construction or hire only Christian labor. Initially, the finance authority understood this constitutional concept. That is why Gov. Matt Bevin changed the makeup of its board, which then approved the application.
Surely the American Civil Liberties Union and others who care about freedom of religion will not allow Bevin and the board to get away with such a breach of constitutional law without a legal challenge.