Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

A group of atheists is so riled up by the Ark Park in Northern Kentucky that they've started a billboard campaign to discourage people from visiting.  Tri-State Freethinkers spokesman Tony Arnold said the theme park is "a genocide park that celebrates the destruction of humankind, minus whoever was on the ark."  Of course that's what parents are thinking: "Johnny, would you like to go to the Ark Encounter this weekend where they teach about genocide and all things horrible?"

The group also says on their website that the "the biblical story of Noah’s Ark is immoral and should not be encouraged as a family fun day.” Irony anyone? On one level, in order to call something immoral requires a moral reference point—something anathema to atheists.  On another, of all the things to protest as immoral in our day, it's [odd] to pick on a Bible story meant to teach what happens to people when they become immoral.

One of the proposed atheist billboards will depict people drowning around the ark and for a gift of $500 donors can have their face among the drowning.  Apparently, secularisms innovative way to "honor" patrons.  The actual billboard says: “Genocide & Incest Park: Celebrating 2,000 years of myths." For a story they say they don't believe, the Tri-State Freethinkers: a) seem overly worried that some people might actually believe it. b) are truly concerned about the well-being of children who might be corrupted by violent messages. c) are imposing their concept of morality from a worldview that is bereft of moral absolutes. Regardless of what you chose, my guess is that very few of you ever thought it necessary to spend time and money on an angry billboard campaign intending to ridicule and excoriate the beliefs of others.

Emerging are a brand of fundamentalist atheists offended by displays of religion that come to their attention. Truth is, every one of us—atheists and believers alike—holds a view on ultimate questions in life: where do I come from? What am I here for? Where am I going? The pressing question today is whether people can pursue answers to those questions and publicly live according to those beliefs. The Kentucky State Senate thinks so. That's why it recently passed SB 180 which would protect  business owners in Kentucky from being coerced to participate in activities that would violate their conscience.  The House is stonewalling on the bill.

Religious liberty legislation has been introduced in several states, including Georgia where Gov. Nathan Deal recently vetoed a bill that would merely protect pastors from being forced to officiate same-sex wedding ceremonies and churches coerced to accommodate them. It would have also protected faith-based ministries from violating their mission. Is there any better barometer of the current hostility to religious freedom?

There is a very real battle of religious ideas —origin, meaning, morality and destiny; The most intense skirmishes boil down to sexual politics. Interestintly, the Freethinkers are offended that Answers In Genesis has hiring policies consistent with their religious beliefs (they won't hire non-believers). Of course, the Freethinkers should be able to have hiring policies consistent with their beliefs. After all, they shouldn't be forced to hire Franklin Graham as their PR director.