Tax incentives for the Noah's Ark theme park in Northern Kentucky are in jeopardy over the state's concern about possible religious discrimination in hiring, records obtained by The Courier-Journal show.
“The Commonwealth doesn’t believe that Ark Encounter, LLC will be complying with state and Federal law in its hiring practices,” Bob Stewart, secretary of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, said in an Aug. 27 letter to an Ark Encounter attorney.
Stewart wrote that “serious concerns” were raised by a job posting for an Ark Encounter position that required applicants to provide salvation testimony, a creation belief statement, and agreement with the “Statement of Faith” of Ark Encounter’s parent organization, Answers in Genesis.
'Murica may be a religious crank hotspot, but it’s nice to see they still enforce and abide by their constitution, mostly.
EDIT: A bit more background:
Back on February 4, "Science Guy" Bill Nye debated Creationist Kenneth Alfred "Ken" Ham. That high-profile debate helped boost support for Ham's $73 million "Ark Encounter" project, allowing Ham to announce on February 25 that a municipal bond offering had raised enough money to begin construction. Nye said he was "heartbroken and sickened for the Commonwealth of Kentucky" after learning that the project would move forward. Nye said the ark would eventually draw more attention to the beliefs of Ham's ministry, which preaches that the Bible's creation story is a true account, and as a result, "voters and taxpayers in Kentucky will eventually see that this is not in their best interest."
In July, the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority unanimously approved $18.25 million worth of tax incentives to keep the ark park afloat. The funds are from a state program that allows eligible tourism attractions a rebate of as much as 25 percent of the investment in the project
Predictably, Ken Hambone responded with self-righteous bluster. He wants tax concessions and the ability to exercise discriminatory hiring practices (i.e., requiring employees to sign AiG’s statement of faith). According to his warped view of things, US federal and state statues [sic] give religious organisations this leeway. What Hamhead conveniently ignores is that his Ark Encounter circus-in-a-box is intended to be a profitmaking enterprise, and therefore his palaver about religious organisations is entirely irrelevant.
Actually it doesn’t seem unreasonable to me for a creationist organisation to expect employees to be creationists. But that does do away with any pretense to scientific objectivity. They are in effect admitting that they are a religious and not an alternative scientific organisation.
But that’s exactly the problem: Ham-actor and his drooling minions want it at least three different ways all at once, namely recognition as a bona fide scientific alternative, and as a (profitable) business with shareholders and dividends and such, and as a religious organisation that enjoys certain exemptions and benefits, chiefly related to registration and taxation. (The situation smacks of the same mind-bending illogic as their triune deity.)
Besides, US federal anti-discriminatory laws expressly prohibit an employer from asking an interviewee certain personal questions such as their age, sexual preference, race and religious affiliation during a formal job interview, or indeed from making any stipulations with regard to those taboos. Religious organisations aren’t exempted from those laws. That is not to say that they can’t select employees according to their own desires and criteria; only that they cannot formalise certain of those desires and criteria (e.g., requiring that employees sign a statement of faith, as is the case here), especially if they still hope to qualify for one or other form of federal assistance, of which tax relief is one.