In a story that broke right here on Danthropology, the discovery that Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter was hiring for positions to work for the for-profit theme park was being done by the non-profit Answers in Genesis in an act to hold employees to a religious test.
The Ark Encounter has applied for an $18 million tax incentive for the project, but is in clear violation of the law, disqualifying them from such an incentive.
Federal and state laws prohibit for-profit business from discriminating against employees based on religious beliefs, and the Ark Encounter is doing just that.
Today American United has sent a letter to the states governor condemning such discrimination.
The statement issued by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State is below:
Proposed Ky. ‘Ark Park’ Engages In Religious Employment Discrimination
Policies That Promote Bias Should Disqualify Attraction From Receiving Tax Incentives, Church-State Watchdog Says
A proposed theme park based on the story of Noah’s Ark discriminates in employment in favor of fundamentalist Christians and should be ineligible for tax incentives from the state of Kentucky, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says.
In a letter to Gov. Steve Beshear and the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority, the group wrote, “Per the required Statement of Faith, an applicant must profess, inter alia, that homosexuality is a sin on par with bestiality and incest, that the earth is only 6,000 years old, and that the bible is literally true in order to be considered for the job.”
“Ark Encounter’s participation in the tax incentive program would compel taxpayers in the state to support both religious discrimination and a religious ministry,” the letter noted.
Ark Encounter is a project of Answers in Genesis, a fundamentalist Christian organization that promotes creationism. The Kentucky Board of Tourism recently granted preliminary approval for the park to receive tax incentives. It is the second time the park has received approval for the benefits; it was forced to resubmit its application after failing to meet earlier funding deadlines.
“This is clearly a sectarian project, and it has no business receiving any assistance from the taxpayers,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United’s executive director. “Tax-subsidized jobs should not be limited to certain types of extremely conservative Christians. Unless you’re willing to adopt fundamentalist Christian views, you might not even be able to get a job slinging hot dogs at Ark Encounter.”
In Friday’s letter, Americans United urged the state to deny the park final approval for the incentives. The group previously urged the park be denied the incentives because it is intended to proselytize.
According to the project’s own website, “the purpose of the Ark Encounter is to point people to the only means of salvation from sin, the Lord Jesus Christ, who also is the only God-appointed way to escape eternal destruction.”
“State tax subsidies should not be used to support religious discrimination or proselytization,” said Americans United Associate Legal Director Alex J. Luchenitser. “The state aid sought by the Ark Park would do exactly that. It should be denied.”
The letter was prepared by Luchenitser and AU Steven Gey Fellow Charles Gokey.
Ken Ham has already attacked AU for their position, claiming they are breaking no laws as the position being filed is for their non-profit entity:
Mike Zovath said the job posting seeks an employee of Answers in Genesis, which he said has several employees who work to plan the ark park, but are not employees of Ark Encounter. “Until we’re ready to start operations, we’re not doing any hiring for the Ark Encounter,” said Zovath, one of the founders of the AiG ministry and vice president in charge of the Ark Encounter, in a recent interview with the Courier Journal.
Though the job listing could not be more clear who they are hiring for. See the screenshots below, and click here to read more detail.
There is zero doubt Ken Ham and his organization are violating the law and are using sneaky tactics to receive tax incentives while discriminating against employees based on religious beliefs.