The New York Times has weighed in on the debate over the Ark Encounter theme park planned for northern Kentucky. In discussing the tourism-based tax breaks the Genesis-themed creationist theme park will receive, the editors write:
Under current Supreme Court doctrine, Kentucky’s support of the proselytizing theme park seems likely to withstand a possible church-state legal challenge, assuming state officials were scrupulous in applying the neutral financial criteria in the state’s economic development law. It is not even clear that the court’s conservative majority would find taxpayers have standing to sue.
But granting tax incentives to the explicitly Christian enterprise clearly clashes with the First Amendment’s prohibition on government establishment of religion. Public money is not supposed to pay to advance religion.