We already know Creationist Ken Ham‘s Ark Encounter, better known as the Noah’s Ark theme park, is in trouble.
In December, they were ruled ineligible to receive a tax incentive worth up to $18,000,000 that could put their entire project in jeopardy.
They were ineligible for the rebate because Ark Encounter — a for-profit business — was discriminating in its hiring. That may be fine for their non-profit ministry, but it’s not okay for a business that wants the tax incentive.
It’s that simple.
But Ham and the folks at Answers in Genesis still don’t get that. They think Kentucky officials took away their rebate because of some sort of anti-Christian prejudice… which is, of course, bullshit.
And now Ham’s group is filing a lawsuit against the state:
Answers in Genesis (AiG), developer of the Ark Encounter theme park in Northern Kentucky, confirmed today it is filing a federal lawsuit against state officials for denying the park participation in the state’s tax rebate incentive program. Although the program is available to all qualifying tourist attractions seeking to build in the state, AiG’s application was rejected solely because of the religious identity and message of AiG. The lawsuit explains how this action by Kentucky officials, including Gov. Steve Beshear, violates federal and state law and amounts to unlawful viewpoint discrimination.
“Our organization spent many months attempting to reason with state officials so that this lawsuit would not be necessary,” said AiG President Ken Ham. “However, the state was so insistent on treating our religious entity as a second-class citizen that we were simply left with no alternative but to proceed to court. This is the latest example of increasing government hostility towards religion in America, and it’s certainly among the most blatant.”
Kentucky was ready to give them the rebate — they had no problem with projects sponsored by religious organizations — until AiG began posting job opportunities for Ark Encounter that required applicants to sign a faith statement. Trust me: Kentucky loves its religion. I promise you if any group is being discriminated against, Christians are nowhere near the top of the list. But this isn’t about Ken Ham’s religion. It’s about whether AiG followed the law.
Like I said, it’s that simple.
What the state wants is for AiG to play by the same rules as every other organization that applies for a tax rebate. Meanwhile, AiG wants the right to get that money while still being able to deny jobs to Jews and Muslims and everyone else who doesn’t believe as they do.
There’s just no way this lawsuit will go anywhere. I’m confident of that.
Not because I’m a lawyer, but because I know how to read.