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1036693826_8a11e4ac03_oThe Christian organization Answers in Genesis, known for its rigorous campaigning against “secular evolutionists” through young earth creationist propaganda, has been struggling financially over the years to raise enough funds to build its $150 million Noah’s Ark theme park. But thankfully Kentucky, one of the few states that can apparently compete with North Carolina when it comes to flawed budget and tax policy, has come to the rescue by approving $18 million in new tax breaks for the project. Meanwhile, 27% of the state’s children live in poverty.

Unless the state means to show blatant religious favoritism, which would obviously be unconstitutional (if not, perhaps, terribly surprising), we will just assume that the officials behind the subsidy are intending to bring in more tourists in order to promote economic development.

So, given that as a backdrop (and awkwardly sidestep the question of whether state-funded creationist propaganda is good for the scientific literacy of the general populace) let’s assess whether this is a fiscally responsible plan.

Initial signs are not terribly encouraging. Read More

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Dan Forest

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest

Regular NC Policy Watch readers will no doubt recall some of our previous stories on the rather curious  Raleigh-based group co-founded by Lt. Gov Dan Forest shortly before his run for state office — a group called the Faith Driven Consumer. As we reported back in 2012 shortly after the election, Forest co-founded the organization (a group that, among other things, recommends boycotting Sears because its catalogs feature lingerie models) with a guy named Christopher Stone:

Basically, the group purports to provide seals of approval for companies that it decides comport with “Christian” and “Biblical” values (note that for the group’s purposes “Christian” and “Biblical” mean conservative, fundamentalist Christianity). It then promotes the companies to the supposed tens of millions of Americans whom it claims will be swayed by such information. Read More

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DinosaurNorth Carolina’s Lt. Governor Dan Forest is no longer on the board of the group he helped found a few years back known as Faith Driven Consumer, but the group remains enmeshed in controversial issues with important political implications.

The group’s most recent crusade is to make sure that that the bosses at Paramount Studios, which is producing a multimillion dollar movie based on the Biblical figure Noah and the mythological story in which he saves all the creatures of the world from a flood, doesn’t allow the film to include any deviation from the what the group considers to be the literal truth. As Fox News reports, the group, which claims to speak for 46 million Christian consumers, released survey results showing that that “98 percent of faith-driven consumers are ‘unsatisfied with (the) Bible-themed movie which strays from Biblical message.’ The report suggested that ‘Noah’ could thus face ‘commercial challenges.’”

Such a scenario is in keeping with the past efforts of the Faith Driven Consumer to inject a conservative Christian worldview into modern American commerce. As reported here previously, the group has gone so far in past years as to dispense low marks to retailers (like the department store chain Sears) that feature lingerie models in their catalogs.

In the “Noah” example, the Faith Driven Consumer group has made it plain to Paramount that it doesn’t care for the notion that the film might attempt to superimpose modern, non-literal interpretations on the flood story. This is from an appeal on the group’s website: Read More

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As I noted in Wednesday in the Weekly Briefing, North Carolina has been the butt of more national media takedowns of late than Anthony Weiner. Today’s skewering is authored by Dean Obeidallah of the Washington Bureau of the Daily Beast and it’s entitled: “North Carolina, Your Anti-Sharia Law Takes the Cake.” It’s definitely worth your time. Here’s a highlight:

“Why would Republicans in North Carolina feel the need to prevent a threat they admit isn’t real?  Even the North Carolina Bar Association called the legislation unnecessary.

Maybe looking at the legislative history of this proposed bill will give you some insight. The Republican-controlled House’s version also included provisions to restrict a women’s right to an abortion. So in the very same breath these Republicans were trying to prevent Islamic law from being imposed, they were trying to impose Christian law.

No surprise, then, that they fear Muslims will be trying to impose their own religious-based laws—it’s exactly what these Republicans are trying to do.”

Read Obeidallah’s entire post by clicking here.

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Dan ForestIt apparently happened six months ago, but Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is no longer on the Board of Directors of Faith Driven Consumer — a Raleigh-based nonprofit that seeks to connect consumers to companies to which it gives high ratings for their supposed level of faithfulness to a “Biblical world view.” The nonprofit reported last week that Forest was replaced on January 30 with man named Edward J. Dillon — also of Raleigh.

As NC Policy Watch reported in late November of last year, Forest had been one of the group’s founding directors when it first filed papers with the Secretary of State in 2011.  As we also reported, one of the group’s main outputs is a series of company reviews in which it grades corporations with zero to five stars for their supposed faithfulness to the group’s particular brand of “Christianity.” Read More