AIG: It’s Illegal to Require Us to Do What We Said We Wouldn’t Do

I am highly amused by the response of Answers in Genesis to the withdrawal of tax incentives for their for-profit Noah’s Ark theme park. Let’s set the wayback machine for a few weeks and see what they were saying about it when the issue first came up:

In an Aug. 27 letter, Tourism Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Bob Stewart pointed out a problematic job posting, which advertised for a computer-assisted design technician to work on the ark. The application was posted on the website of Answers in Genesis, the parent company of Ark Encounter, which also operates the Creation Museum in Petersburg…

Stewart wrote that such a job posting would be against state and federal hiring laws.

“Therefore we are not prepared to move forward with consideration of the application for final approval without the assurance of Ark Encounter LLC that it will not discriminate in any way on the basis of religion in hiring for the project and will revise its postings accordingly,” Stewart wrote.

In an Aug. 28 response, Ark Encounter attorney James Parsons said the posting was for Answers in Genesis, not Ark Encounter, and that the park officials would honor the requirements for state tax incentives.

So let’s recap: They put up a classified ad for someone to work on the ark park, but they had to sign a statement of faith, which is illegal for a for-profit company and prevents them from getting the $18 million in tax breaks. When informed of this, they said that the classified ad wasn’t for the for-profit park but was for their non-profit creationist group and they would comply with the laws. And now their position has changed a bit:

The organization is required to “waive its right to include a religious preference in hiring” and “affirm that it will tolerate no ‘proselytizing’ at the theme park.”

Not possible, AiG responded, on billboard messages and elsewhere.

AiG said Kentucky officials bowed to pressure from secularist groups when it denied the Ark Encounter theme park an opportunity to participate in a popular tax rebate incentive program offered by the state’s tourism office.”

The restrictions demanded by the state are “unlawful,” AiG asserted.

“It is well-established under both federal law (Title VII) and state law (KRS 344.090) that religious organization and entities like AIG are specifically permitted to utilize a religious preference in their hiring,” the organization said.

“Moreover, the government cannot show hostility toward religion or discriminate against persons or organizations who express religious viewpoints.”

To sum up their new position: “Help, help, we’re being repressed! They’re persecuting us for doing what we lied and said we wouldn’t do!” But they’re lying for Jesus, so it’s all okay.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • caseloweraz

    Shame on those secularist groups for pointing out what the Constitution and the laws really say.

    And by the way, why would AIG need a CAD tech to design the ark? Noah didn’t have one.

  • blf

    Not to mention, as I recall, the ad itself said the position was for the wooden boat fantasyland.

  • John Pieret

    caseloweraz

    And by the way, why would AIG need a CAD tech to design the ark? Noah didn’t have one.

    Obviously, they are going to need an animatronic Noah and his family happily shoveling tons of shit a day to show how easy it was for eight people to care for 15,000 pairs of animals (the unclean ones) a day.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    Exactly caseloweraz. As our fundamentalist friends keep telling us, all the information anyone needs to do anything, including building an ark, is found right there in the good old holy book.

  • Trebuchet

    Obviously, they are going to need an animatronic Noah and his family happily shoveling tons of shit a day to show how easy it was for eight people to care for 15,000 pairs of animals (the unclean ones) a day.

    But it’s Holy Shitte (TM) and can shovel itself. And speaking of crap, what about what Ham keeps shoveling out?

  • dingojack

    “And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.”

    No wonder he’s got daddy issues.

    :) Dingo

  • dingojack

    Have pity on him … you wouldn’t want to be ham so close to Christmas…

    [OK I’ll stop now]

    Dingo

  • dhall

    “It is well-established under both federal law (Title VII) and state law (KRS 344.090) that religious organization and entities like AIG are specifically permitted to utilize a religious preference in their hiring,” the organization said.

    Of course it is. However, it’s also well established in federal and state law that the government is not in the business of handing out taxpayer money to religious organizations, or supporting them indirectly. They can hire anyone they want. They just won’t be rewarded by the government and taxpayers for it. Quite honestly, giving such incentives to such an obviously religiously inspired theme park was questionable in the first place, and AIG’s choice to ignore the terms of the initial agreement probably gave KY’s lawmakers the out they needed.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    SHOW ME IN THE CONSTITUTION WHERE THERES A SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND TAX INCENTIVES!!!

  • dingojack

    Being that it’s KY, did they slide out of the agreement?

    Dingo

    ———

    [Sorry, inner 12 yr old just slipped out….] 😀

  • raven

    1. This $18 million in “tax breaks” is a smoke screen for AIG/Ark Park failures to raise money. If I understand this correctly, those tax breaks apply to future profits.

    You have to have profits before you pay taxes on them!!! IIRC, Kentucky is one of those states that have negligible taxes on corporations anyway, the idea being that businesses will move there.

    What that means in practice that instead of paying minor amounts in taxes on profits, they will pay minor but slightly larger amounts in taxes.

    2. It really shouldn’t make any difference to the economic viability of the Ark Park or in building the Ark Park. It looks more like an excuse than anything to stall and blame their funding shortfalls.

    3. They’ve tried any number of ways to raise money and have raised tens of millions. It never seems enough though.

    I’m not seeing that they will ever build it now despite their claims that they have already started.

  • raven

    The Ark Park looked a lot like a scam when it started.

    It’s now looking even more like a scam.

    I suspect that they will simply take the tens of millions they’ve raised and play out the clock. Stall, beat around the bush, file implausible lawsuits for asserting nonexistent rights and so on. Meanwhile paying the executives huge salaries with bonuses, perks, and benefits.

    Meanwhile keep raising money to keep the money siphon going by screaming persecution. This could go on for decades.

    I don’t have a problem with this. Makers of mansions, fast cars, and yachts need to eat too. If fundie xians want to support rich parasites, by all means do so. It’s far better than supporting xian terrorists or the Tea Party.

    And in the end, use the freeway offramp improvement (already done according to one local poster) and utility/road improvements to put up a housing development and condos. Follow the money!!!! No matter what happens, a few people are going to make a lot of money, partly using fundie xian and government tax funds.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    You have to have profits before you pay taxes on them!!!

    Not for this particular tax incentive. The incentive would have allowed them to keep 25% of the sales taxes they collected for 10 years. It’s basically the same as the state handing them a big bag of money.

  • raven

    Not for this particular tax incentive. The incentive would have allowed them to keep 25% of the sales taxes they collected for 10 years.

    Oh.

    OK. I didn’t even think of that. This is a good deal since it is off the gross, not the net.

    Kentucky sales tax is 6%. AIG/Ark Park would pay 4.5%. Still adding 1.5% to their operating costs should not be enough to deepsix the project. If your profit margin is 1.5%, you probably aren’t viable anyway.

    Disney co. has a profit margin of 12.10%.

  • John Pieret

    dhall @ 8:

    government is not in the business of handing out taxpayer money to religious organizations, or supporting them indirectly

    Not quite true. Government agencies can provide funds and services for encouraging the general welfare (e.g. stimulating construction employment, neighborhood improvement, etc.) to religious organizations, as long as there are generally available to all persons and entities on a neutral basis. Obvious examples are providing police, fire and sewer services, generally available to the public, to churches as well, even though such services relieve the churches of paying for them on their own.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    Still adding 1.5% to their operating costs should not be enough to deepsix the project. If your profit margin is 1.5%, you probably aren’t viable anyway.

    Agreed, the tax incentives aren’t going to make or break the project. The real problem is that they aren’t remotely close to having raised enough money to build the thing. Last I heard they’re short by a factor of 5 or so, and there is no realistic prospect, aside from a very deep-pocketed benefactor, that they’ll come up with even half the money. Still, the incentives would have improved their operating prospects, and their loss is important symbolically because it will dissuade additional donors.

  • thebookofdave

    And by the way, why would AIG need a CAD tech to design the ark? Noah didn’t have one.

    For that matter, caseloweraz, why would he need to hire anyone at all? He runs an apologetics ministry, has publications staff, creation museum employees, and five of his own children. That’s more labor resources than the Noah character would have dreamed of.

  • U Frood

    Noah lived to be 900 years old, so he had more time to build the ark than Ham does.

  • busterggi

    I’d say modern tools & work crews balance out the 900 year thing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty_ship

  • dingojack

    Yes but:

    “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.”

    Dingo

  • anubisprime

    Bet the Hovind clan are laughing their collective dicks & tits off…and wondering if there is an advantage in this debacle for them,