FFRF Urges IRS to Investigate Ken Ham’s Noah’s Ark Theme Park November 19, 2014

FFRF Urges IRS to Investigate Ken Ham’s Noah’s Ark Theme Park

Answers in Genesis, Ken Ham‘s ministry, is a religious non-profit. That’s why the Creation Museum can require you to sign a “statement of faith” if you want to work there.

Ark Encounter, the Noah’s Ark theme park that’s eligible for millions of dollars in tax rebates, is a for-profit business. They cannot discriminate in hiring.

Sounds simple enough.

But as I’ve mentioned on this site a few times already, there’s a job listing at AiG’s website that makes no sense at all:

As you can see, it’s a job that requires you to be a Christian… but appears to be an Ark Encounter position.

When my colleague Dan Arel asked Ken Ham about this directly, Ham was adamant that it was a position for Answers in Genesis:

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has already said a lawsuit may be forthcoming, though no action has taken place yet. And AiG may have given up more than $18,000,000 in tax rebates if the state decides they are discriminating in their hiring.

This week, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the IRS urging them to look into the theme park:

“Answers in Genesis cannot have it both ways,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Either the Ark Encounter is a religious enterprise and is eligible for tax-exempt donations, or AiG and Ark Encounter can be taken at their word that the park is purely a commercial enterprise.” In the latter case, then AiG is not “‘operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific’ or other exempt purposes,” as required for exempt status, and should lose its tax exemption, FFRF contends.

“While religiously themed, a ‘theme park’ is quintessentially a commercial entertainment activity and not charitable,” wrote [attorney Patrick] Elliott. “Ark Encounter representatives have said that from an operational standpoint, the project will ‘have the look and feel of any other theme park.’”

“Based on information that is publicly available about the operations of both organizations, they are not operated exclusively for exempt purposes,” concluded Elliott, asking the IRS to investigate the operations and tax-exempt status of AiG.

To be clear, this isn’t a lawsuit. It’s just a public prodding of the IRS to do its job: You should check this out this map we’re handing you, because there might be buried treasure there…

(Large portions of this article were published earlier)

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