Answers in Genesis CCO Mark Looy wrote an op-ed for Grant County News Thursday in an attempt to dispel what he believes are myths surrounding the Ark Encounter project.
He begins by addressing the hiring discrimination that led to the loss of the project’s tax incentive, though Looy still believes they lost the tax incentive because of the religious nature of the project.
“One lingering myth has concerned the future hiring practices for the park next year. Despite the rumors, here are two important facts to remember: 1) the Ark Encounter has not yet determined its final hiring policies and 2) when the policies are completed, we have committed to closely follow all applicable federal and state employment laws that govern religious organizations like ours,” write Looy.
Yet on multiple occasions the Ark Encounter has posted job openings that have stated that employees must be young earth creationists and sign a statement of faith, thereby assuring the organization that the applicant believes in the organization’s version of Christianity.
Why tell readers you have not decided on hiring policies when you have been hiring for over a year? And why claim you plan to follow all state and federal laws when you clearly have not been already?
But Looy is living in a fantasy land. The State of Kentucky clearly stated that the tax incentives were being pulled because of discriminatory hiring practices. But Looy claims in this op-ed that they lost the money because of “anti-Christian” groups that did not like the park’s message.
The real reason the state ultimately withdrew its initial approval of the Ark Encounter project is because a few anti-Christian groups registered their opposition and applied political pressure. The state’s resulting action was not only unfair to AiG, it was unlawful.
But the truth is very different. Along with this blog and many others, the biggest pressure put on the state came from Americans United for Separation of Church and State, an organization led by a Christian minister.
How is that anti-Christian?
No one was ever under the impression that the Ark Encounter was anything but a religious theme park. The message celebrating an act of genocide is problematic enough, but it’s not illegal. But insisting that those who work at your for-profit business adhere to your religious beliefs is illegal.
But these facts don’t stop Looy from playing the persecution card.
Not only would such a practice be a blatant violation of the First Amendment, it would send a terrible message that people of faith are unwelcome and can be treated as second-class citizens.
All this really says is, Answers in Genesis is upset they cannot treat non-Christians as second-class citizens and are being forced to follow a law with which they disagree.
[Image: Answers in Genesis / Ark Encounter / Promotional Material]
[h/t: Dan Phelps, Lexington, Kentucky]