Posts Tagged ‘First Amendment’

Ark Encounter: State-Subsidized Religious Tourism in Kentucky

August 8, 2016

Ark encounter: State-Subsidized Religoius Tourism in Kentucky

Noah’s Ark may have landed on Mount Ararat, but you can see it in Kentucky off Interstate 75, on State Route 36 in Williamstown. Answers In Genesis, the outfit behind the Creation(ism) Museum, has built a 510-foot-long biblical boat as a tourist attraction, Ark Encounter ($40 admission, $10 parking).  The wooden hull is stocked with pairs of animals said to be on the Ark, including dinosaurs (from the Book of Flintstones?). There’s also a zoo, but don’t expect any dinosaurs there.

Ark Encounter opened on July 7th and was built at a cost $102 million. Of that, $62 million was raised from Industrial Development Bonds issued by the City of Williamstown. The Kentucky state government granted Ark Encounter $18 million in tax incentives and is building a new $10 million highway interchange for the new Christian theme park.

The rationale for granting this public largesse for religious evangelism is that the big boat will stimulate the tourist economy and create jobs. Want to apply for those jobs? You’ll have to sign a statement of faith in Genesis and Jesus Christ, disavowing homosexuality, same-sex marriage and premarital sex. Somehow, Federal Judge Greg Van Tatenhove (alumnus of Christian Asbury University) has ruled that this is all constitutional and isn’t state sponsorship of religion. It seems Ark Encounter is a secular outfit when it gets public funding and tax breaks, but a religious organization when it hires employees. Glory be, it’s a miracle!


Supreme Court: Freedom of Speech = ‘Money Talks!’

April 4, 2014

Supreme Court: Freedom of Speech -- Money Talks!

In McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that money is speech, so the Constitution means rich guys can shout loud and long enough to drown out their political opponents. Why wouldn’t the Roberts Court justices claim money is speech? After all, they ruled that corporations are people.


“Supreme Court Strikes Down Overall Political Donation Cap,” Adam Liptak, New York Times 

“Supreme court strikes down cap on overall campaign contributions,” Dan Roberts, The Guardian

Supreme Court Defends Wealthy’s Right to Own Government,” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker


Banning the Constitution on Constitution Day

September 20, 2013

Banning the Constitution on Constitution Day

“Modesto Junior College security stopped a student from passing out copies of the U.S. Constitution in front of the east campus student center Tuesday, which was Constitution Day.

Robert Van Tuinen, 25, captured his furious but civil confrontation with the officer and campus administration on video and posted it Thursday on YouTube.

National attention garnered by the video prompted the Yosemite Community College District to issue a statement saying it was looking into the matter.”

–“MJC halt of Constitution handout lands on YouTube,” Nan Austin, Modesto Bee

(Video after the jump)


Christmas Defender Rick Perry Tells Women ‘Bah Humbug!’

June 18, 2013

Christmas Defender Rick Perry Tells Women 'Bah Humbug!'

Texas Governor Rick “Santa” Perry signed the “Merry Christmas Bill” into law last week, allowing public school Christmas parties in the Lone Star State. “It’s a shame that a bill like this one I’m signing today is even required, but I’m proud that we’re standing up for religious freedom in this state,” said Mr. Perry. Does that mean school parties for DiwaliAshura, Festivus, Al Hijra, Niinamesai, MaidyaremLosar, and Samhain? Smile when you say that, partner.

The Republican governor also put coal in the stockings of Texas women when he vetoed a bill allowing them to sue for equal pay for equal work. That might be a big political gift for Texas Democrats next Election Day.


“The Equal Pay Act – Powerful But Not Enough,” Anne Kim, Washington Monthly blog


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Reporters Kicked Out of Romney Event at the Newseum

June 14, 2012

Reporters Kicked Out of Romney Event at the Newseum

In Washington today, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney hid from the press behind a 74-foot-high marble engraving of the First Amendment at the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue. The mission of the Newseum is “educating the public about the value of a free press in a free society ….” Mission accomplished.


“Reporters Kicked Out Of Mitt Romney Event At Newseum,” Huffington Post

“Weirdly, Newseum Isn’t The Friendliest Location for Campaign Reporters,” Adam Martin, Atlantic Wire


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Falwell Teaches Freedom of the Press

April 13, 2011

Falwell Teaches Freedom of the Press

In a bold move to teach the importance of the First Amendment, Virginia’s Liberty University blocked the website of the Lynchburg News & Advance newspaper last week. University Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. provided a simple explanation for taking a page from the playbook of Middle Eastern tyrants: “We’re a private organization and we don’t have to give a reason and we’re not.”


Dan Snyder, Free Speech Crusader

February 11, 2011

Dan Snyder, Free Speech Crusader

Daniel Snyder, billionaire owner of Washington’s losing NFL team, is a staunch champion of free speech, when he’s the one talking. Sure, he’s suing an alternative paper for a scathing article about him and tried to ban football fans from bringing signs to games. but ten years ago he defended his right to verbally skewer a pair of groundskeepers.


Christine O’Donnell Amends the Constitution

October 24, 2010

Christine O'Donnell Amends the Constitution

“Where in the Constitution is separation of church and state?”
Christine O’Donnell to Chris Coons, Delaware senatorial debate, October 19, 2010.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ….”
Amendment I, Constitution of the United States of America

“…I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States ….”
— United States Senate Oath of Office

Can you swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” when you don’t know what’s in it?

“The good news is that the First Amendment also lets O’Donnell make a fool of herself.”
–John Kelso, Austin American-Statesman.