Ark Encounter attorney says Kentucky’s actions were ‘unlawful’

Ark Encounter attorney says Kentucky’s actions were ‘unlawful’ December 22, 2014
Photo: Fox News Screenshot
Photo: Fox News Screenshot

Ark Encounter attorney Mike Johnson paid a visit to Fox News this weekend to discuss the loss of 18 million dollars in tax incentives earlier this month.

Johnson, after first calling the news “tragic,” blamed atheist groups for their political pressure that led to the states decision and then called the reversal of the tax incentive “unlawful” and said they would likely be bringing this case to court.

When asked how the reversal was unlawful, Johnson said that the state grants these tax incentives to all kinds of business but only reversed the decision when they realized the Ark Encounter would have a “religious overtone.”

Johnson did not once mention that the real reason they lost the incentive was because of employment discrimination and had nothing to do with “religious undertones,” the park is a Noah’s Ark theme park, the religious undertones go without saying.

Thankfully, the host at Fox did at least 10 minutes of homework and read Johnson the quote from Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear that stated,

“While the leaders of the Ark Encounter had previously agreed not to discriminate in hiring based on religion, they now refuse to make that commitment and it has become apparent that they do intend to use religious beliefs as a litmus test for hiring decisions.”

The host then asked if the charge was true that someone would have to be Christian to work for the park.

Johnson answered, “well yeah, but that’s not unlike any other religious organization in the country.”

He continued to state that state and federal laws allow such hiring preference for religious organizations. Johnson then said that reversing the tax incentive based on his hiring preference is unlawful.

The Fox host then asked Johnson is Ken Ham would be willing to change and hire non-Christians and Johnson said no, because it would “change their identity.”

Johnson must be a new lawyer because he is failing to understand some pretty basic employment laws. For starters, The Ark Encounter is an LLC, not a non-profit, so it is not a “religious organization” it is a corporation.

Next, Johnson must not have Google because he failed to look up Equal Opportunity Employment laws for such corporations.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website:

Religious discrimination involves treating a person (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs. The law protects not only people who belong to traditional, organized religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, but also others who have sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs.

And then plainly states:

The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

This is not rocket science. Ken Ham’s organization has chosen to operate as a religious institution and not a corporation. They are choosing to violate state and federal laws and are hiding behind their religious belief and non-profit parent organization Answers in Genesis in demanding religious privilege.

Fox News failed to do its job as a news organization to press Johnson on these issues and ask him the proper legal questions, instead, they acted as a Christian news organization and encouraged Christians to donate to help complete the project.

Once again, more lies and misinformation spilling out of Ham’s organizations. Lying may be a sin, but apparently not when it is for 18 million dollars.

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