Johnson insists there was nothing in the Constitution barring the government from supporting religious beliefs. “The Founders wanted to protect the church from an encroaching state, not the other way around,” Johnson said.
Mike Johnson, newly elected Speaker of the House, has worked in conservative Christian legal advocacy in areas such as forced birth movements, anti-LGBTQ movements and Anti-same-sex marriage. In 2015, as the attorney for a Christian creationist ministry called Answers in Genesis, Johnson veered over into Noah’s territory by filing a federal lawsuit to get tax subsidies to build a Noah’s Ark amusement park in Kentucky.
From The Guardian: “Mike Johnson, the newly elected Republican speaker of the US House, won taxpayer funding for a Noah’s Ark amusement park while working as a lawyer, in a graphic illustration of his uncompromising rightwing Christian beliefs.
Working for Freedom Guard, a non-profit proclaiming a commitment to defending religious liberty, Johnson was hired by Answers in Genesis, a creationist ministry, in 2015, after the state of Kentucky rescinded an offer of tourism tax incentives for the project in Williamstown, citing discrimination against non-Christians.“
New U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson successfully took Kentucky to court to regain tax incentives for the Ark Encounter, a 510-foot wooden replica of the biblical Noah’s Ark located off Interstate 75 in Grant County.
The state tourism cabinet had awarded the project a sales-tax rebate worth up to $18 million, but Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration withdrew the offer in 2014, saying the Ark’s builders, Answers in Genesis, had changed the project’s mission from tourist attraction to religious ministry.
“The state retracted an offer of tax breaks after the then-governor, Steve Beshear, said the ministry reneged on a commitment to refrain from hiring based on religious belief.“
“From U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove in 2016 ruled in favor of Answers in Genesis, saying the state’s exclusion of the ark from the tourism tax incentive based on its “religious purpose and message” violated the First Amendment.
Johnson was quoted at the time as saying: “The court has affirmed a longstanding principle that the Constitution does not permit a state to show hostility towards religion. The First Amendment does not allow Christian organizations to be treated like second-class citizens merely because of what they believe.” WDRB reported earlier this year that Kentucky had agreed to pay Answers in Genesis $190,000 in legal fees in connection with the case.
Answers in Genesis describes itself as an apologetics Christian ministry, meaning it uses science to defend a literal interpretation of the Bible. Ham also founded the Creation Museum in Petersburg which teaches the Earth is 6,000 years old.” Kentucky Lantern