In Kentucky, "inclusive" means "Christian"

Replica of Ark on opening day
"Replica" of the Ark on opening day. Credit: Dan Phelps.

It appears that, in Kentucky, at least, “inclusive” means “Christian.” At least, that is what you might deduce from an article by Jolene Almendarez and Ana Rocío Álvarez Bríñez in the Cincinnati Enquirer late last year. The article announces the launch of the Kentucky Faith Trail, which is a self-guided road trip that will take you to 11 important faith-based sites, all of them Christian.* The program has received a $305,000 grant from the state. Its purpose, according to a press release of the northern Kentucky tourism organization, as paraphrased by the Enquirer, is to “pay homage to the role religion plays in Kentucky’s identity.” It is also designed to promote religious tolerance and understanding:

The trail is designed to be inclusive, welcoming people of all faiths and backgrounds to embark on a shared journey of discovery and reflection[.]

The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) will have none of it. In an article entitled Don’t promote Ark Encounter and Creation Museum, FFRF asks state of Kentucky, FFRF notes that all 11 sites are Christian sites, a fact which hardly makes the trail welcoming to people of all faiths and backgrounds. Worse, they note that two of the sites, “the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum, are well known for spreading misinformation and promoting anti-science worldviews[.]” Here at PT, where we are perhaps more forthright, we would say they spread disinformation, which is to say, deliberate misinformation. Additionally, unlike most of the others, they have no historical value.

FFRF goes on to describe these two “museums” and notes that they are owned by Answers in Genesis (AIG), which they accurately describe as “an extreme evangelical Christian organization that spreads misinformation and scientifically inaccurate teachings about our world.” Homing in on AIG, they stress that the Northern Kentucky Convention & Visitors Bureau “must cease using taxpayer money to promote a Faith Trail that includes the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum” and conclude that “[b]y promoting exclusively Christian sites, including two sites that spread blatant misinformation, the Bureau is unconstitutionally favoring Christianity over all other faiths.” You may see the complete letter to the president of the Convention and Visitors Bureau here.

* Here, for the record, are the 11 attractions: Abbey of Gethsemani (sic), Ark Encounter, Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral, Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Creation Museum, Mother of God Catholic Church, Old Mud Meeting House (Dutch Reformed Church), Old Mulkey Meeting House, “Raccoon” John Smith’s Cabin, Red River Meeting House, South Union Shaker Village.