Republicans see no problem with the promotion of creationism over actual factual education.
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Young Earth creationist and Christian fundamentalist Ken Ham is poised to benefit from a Republican-sponsored bill in Kentucky that would delay the start of the school year so more tourists can visit his Creation museum and his Noah's Ark museum, Ark Encounter, which is slated to open this summer.
Lawmakers believe if they can delay the start of school to as close to Labor Day as possible, more tourists will come to the two religious museums, and that will mean more dollars for everyone. But will it?
“Grant County is set to become a major tourist destination due to the presence of the Ark,” State Senator Damon Thayer (photo, left) said last year when he and fellow State Senator Chris Girdler first introduced the legislation. “But there won’t be many families from Kentucky visiting in August if we continue with the current calendar.”
The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) calls the legislation a "vacation creationism bill."
The pair are back pushing their bill, SB 50, once again, to which some school officials are voicing opposition.
"I think it could potentially hurt many Kentucky children," Williamstown Elementary Principal David Poer says. "I do not believe it will pass. If it does, most districts probably won’t like it. Just one more instance when government seeks to overstep their bounds. Again, this is a local issue and not a state or national issue."
The bill itself does not mention the motivation behind the change to the calendar, and the number of school days would not be affected.
Ham's Ark museum itself has been highly controversial, mostly because he tried to hide that he intended to discriminate in the hiring process. As he does with his Creation museum, Ark Encounter will only hire people who sign a statement of beliefs, including that the Bible is the actual, inerrant, exact word of God and that everything in it is true.
It's unclear why Ham needs the tax breaks, since clearly cash isn't a problem. How much do Times Square billboards cost?
In New York to be on Fox and Friends in the morning and spotted this Ark Encounter billboard in Times Square! pic.twitter.com/8wd2OzI2u3— Sherri Burgess (@sherribburgess) January 9, 2016
Last summer, Americans United for Separation of Church and State weighed in on the bill to extend the summer vacation, a clear attempt to promote creationism.
"It is long past time for Kentucky’s lawmakers to stop assisting the Ark Park in every way possible because it is a First Amendment issue when government props up a project with a clear religious mission."
Addicting Info reports the bill's sponsors "hope this will bring in more money, but what they don’t mention is that almost none of it would be coming back to the state. Ham, for all of his religious-speak, is primarily a huckster. He continues to label his for-profit “ministry” a tax-exempt church, and therefore pays little to no taxes. Keeping kids out of school so their parents can buy tickets for Ham’s park does nothing but make students in the state more ignorant, residents poorer, and Ham richer."
Image via Facebook