I grew up in the south but I was a couple of decades removed from the civil rights battles of the 50's. Even so, enough racist sentiments still lingered as I grew up in the 70's that I can imagine how it might have been. How horrible it must have been for blacks to be turned away at the door of a business by a sign that said, “Whites only.” Fortunately, things are a lot different now.
Think about this for a moment: if the law says that blacks must be treated equally, is that “promoting blacks”? If the law said to a business, “you can't deny that person service simply on the grounds that he's black,” wouldn't you agree that's only being fair? Certainly no one can argue that equal rights are not necessarily special rights.
Let's move forward to this year. Just yesterday, the Ark Encounter received the final approval from the KY Tourism Development Finance Authority on a $43 million tax incentive. The Ark Encounter is a religiously-based, for-profit business that intends to build a full-scale replica of Noah's Ark in Northern KY. The decision to give them special tax incentives now has many liberal groups up in arms. I'm not sure what the controversy is. Those who object seem to be arguing that it's a violation of the “separation of church and state.” That's hardly an accurate statement.
First off, the “tax incentives” are not the state of KY opening its checkbook (actually it's our checkbook) and writing a check to the Ark Encounter. Instead, it's a rebate of sales tax raised by tourists to the park. For every dollar of sales tax raised by sales at the park, a percentage is given back to the park. The state will actually make money from the park. It doesn't cost them anything. Secondly, and most importantly to this discussion, is the simple fact that these special tax incentives are already available to secular businesses now. A few years back, a NASCAR race track received the same deal in KY. I've driven by the track many times. The Newport Aquarium, which I have visited on a few occasions, has also received the same incentives. So this is not a special consideration being given to a religious group – this is an incentive made available to any, for-profit business.
I ask you then, if this incentive is available to secular businesses, under what premise can it be denied to a religious business? Is this somehow "promoting religion"? We have just seen how equal rights aren't always special rights. Allowing a religious person in the door isn't promoting religion anymore than letting a black person in the door is promoting blacks.
Liberals are such hypocrites. Religious discrimination isn't significantly different than racial discrimination, If they want to deny the same deal to a religious group that is available to any other group, the state of KY might as well hang a sign on its door saying, “No Christians Allowed.”