Kentucky can't reject jobs from creationism park
I winced after reading responses of those embarrassed by the prospect of a creationism theme park in Kentucky.
News outlets have recently reported that more than 33,000 Kentuckians are likely to face a lapse of unemployment compensation this year and about how 93 new U.S. House members have been elected to create jobs and stimulate the economy.
Meanwhile, many Kentuckians are turning up their noses at a project that would create nearly 900 new jobs and encourage tourism in Northern Kentucky
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Now that's embarrassing.
Many have forgotten or are unaware of the fact that we already have a Creation Museum. Like the museum, I am sure the theme park will eventually go under the radar as well, except to those who take their school and tourist groups there.
The park will not scare other businesses from being established in Grant County and Northern Kentucky because of its other attractions and close proximity to Cincinnati.
Also, several faith-inspired theme parks already exist in Florida, a state that is not hurting for businesses. One Christian-inspired theme park had over 7,000 visitors when it opened last year and actually had to turn visitors away the following day.
If you don't support the park, then don't visit it. If you are offended by it, every faith is legally able to build its own. Given the state of the economy, this is not the time to be picky about projects that would spur spending and job growth.
Next: Skeptic World
I fully support Gov. Steve Beshear's decision to offer tax incentives for the construction of the Christian theme park, Ark Encounter, to be built in Northern Kentucky. Such decisions should be based on economic considerations, not religious ideology or opinion.
I would like to think the state would offer similar consideration if the proposed park were to be Islama-Land, or Skeptic World. However, I'm skeptical.
"The people of Kentucky didn't elect me governor to debate religion. They elected me governor to create jobs," said Gov. Steve Beshear.
Really? If a Noah's Ark theme park is not an example of religious extremism, I would like someone to explain to me what is.
I assume Beshear would have the same reaction to subsidizing an Islamic extremist theme park in Kentucky? Something tells me he would then be shouting about the separation of church and state to the heavens. I suppose we should not be surprised to hear such convoluted logic from someone who manages to justify exempting dozens of useless high-paid political cronies from the state's austerity programs.
I guess anything is spinnable. But please don't talk to me like I'm stupid.
Goal: Diminish religion
The Herald-Leader editorial is correct; there is no constitutional reason why the Ark Encounter project should not be approved and built in Kentucky.
This being the case, the editorial board did not leap onto its high horse and lecture readers in a loud voice. It led the high horse in a small circle and put forth another reason to deplore this possible use of taxpayer dollars.
The editorial claims this expansion of the Creation Museum is "rooted in outright opposition to science." It suggests state participation in the project will give the impression that Kentucky is hostile to science, knowledge and education and implies that the jobs created will be low skill, seasonal jobs.
I think that is wrong. I would like to suggest that the paper's real objection is that the project might be perceived to be in competition with the established religion of the United States: secular humanism.
The First Amendment was intended to protect the citizens from a national established religion; it has failed. Secular humanism is busily trying to stamp out or suppress any other religion that seeks a place at the table or in the public square.
I imagine the knickers of the ACLU will be in a much larger, noisier twist over this project. Its fuss will be in vain this time.
It will be interesting to watch.
Not buying conspiracy
It was gratifying to see that the American people are ignoring unwise and inflammatory remarks by Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing commentators concerning new airport security measures.
On his radio program, Limbaugh opined that new full-body scans and aggressive searches are part of a plot by the government to get Americans used to taking orders — all part of what Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and company contend is an Obama-led effort to extend government control over the people.
Well, apparently, the American people have a lot more common sense than the radio demagogues give them credit for.
According to news reports over the holiday weekend, very few Americans opted for pat-downs instead of body scans, as opponents of the new procedures were urging.
Instead of doing something that would have caused horrendous delays, travelers apparently believed the new security measures were necessary for their own safety.
Come to think of it: Why would the Obama administration have adopted measures it knew were going to be very unpopular unless airline security experts were convinced they were absolutely necessary?
Enticed into crime
The FBI and federally funded law enforcement incubate and cultivate transgressors for a fast, simple cheap method of catching and punishing them.
First they find an angry poor teen-ager in Oregon. Then, the FBI gives him a bomb and escorts him as he trains in ordinance. The FBI makes sure he gets a fake bomb and gives him an undercover escort to transport the bomb to Portland. Then, the FBI gives him the detonator with instructions.
Would this teen-ager ever have done this if he had to find, buy and construct the explosive himself? Would he have done it if he had to buy the van without help and construct the microwave electronic detonation programming?
Or would he have been an angry young man who matured, found a job, married, raised a family and found constructive ways to change wrongs?
We will never know now. Enticing a citizen to evil until he succumbs is always cheaper and easier for law enforcement. But your son and mine deserve the chance to make free decisions regarding their actions without state-sponsored temptation and artificial snares.
Maybe I am wrong. Maybe what we really need is undercover agents on every corner offering illegal opportunities, while others wait in the wings to accuse the dupes among our children who fail under the trial.
Maybe that is why we have the largest percentage in the world of citizens in prison. Maybe we are safer this way. Maybe the end justifies the means. I don't think so.
I never cease to be amazed that our military can discriminate when it's against the law for anyone else to do so.
If someone is willing to serve in our military for our country, it should not matter if they are male, female, gay, straight — or what their religion or ethnicity is. I'm sure there are several recipients of medals who are gay. What about that soldier who is a sniper and just saved the life of your son or daughter? Or that helicopter pilot who swooped in just in time to pick up wounded troops? Would you have told any of them, if they were gay, the wounded did not need their help?
I proudly have a great-nephew who just completed his training for the military, and I don't care who saves his life or is there to help him return safely to his wife and baby.
We are still a homophobic society in many ways. If you say it is your religious belief, then let God judge that person when the time comes.
Is the military going to have separate bathrooms for gays? Do they have to sit in the back of the bus? What does that remind you of?
Give ex-felons a chance
In response to the Nov. 28 editorial, "Prison and poverty an endless loop":
Almost every time you fill out a job application, there is the question, "Have you ever been charged or convicted of a felony?" Then the statement (which makes an employer safe from lawsuits), "Answering yes to this question does not mean you will not get the position." Then, "please sign here for permission to do a background check."
This is double jeopardy. We continue to punish people for crimes that they have done time for. Felons do not have the opportunities anymore to be productive citizens and taxpayers. Most who come out of prison do not want to re-offend; they just want to work and get on with life.
The ordinary person does not understand he will not be safe in his home until this fear stops and individuals can feed their families and keep a roof over their heads.
Don't get me wrong; there are individuals who have drug problems. They are working with you right now, stoned to the bone. If they get caught, everyone says, "They were such nice people and did a wonderful job." Bet they will not get hired back after their legal troubles are over. They would be that feared felon.
As a corrections officer, I would like to see us get this right. I would like to get laid off because the prison population decreased and felons were getting on with their lives and leaving all other citizens alone.
Glenna R. Qualls
Help juvenile offenders
In response to the Nov. 26 article, "Legislator focuses on youth jail rate": I want to give kudos to state Rep. Kelly Flood for her efforts in drafting legislation to curtail placing juvenile status offenders in confinement and to the Herald-Leader for printing this article on the front page.
I am a social work student at Eastern Kentucky University who has seen much research verifying the negative impact on juveniles who are incarcerated.
Research shows that juveniles in confinement are at higher risk for suicide, less likely to receive their high school diploma and more likely to commit future crimes.
Studies also show that community-based treatment programs yield more positive results than the alternative.
The Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act of 1974 called for the deinstitutionalization of status offenders, recognizing that detaining non-criminal offenses is not only harmful but is an ineffective way of managing such issues as truancy, running away from home or not obeying parents.
However, in 1980, the valid court order exception was added during the reauthorization of the law. Essentially this created a loophole to detain status offenders in secured facilities.
It is my hope Flood and supporters will push for the elimination of this exception and advocate for more community-based treatment programs. It is time to get away from the "get tough on crime" philosophy and create programs that generate positive results.