A Noah's Ark theme park created by famous evolution-denier Ken Ham has just received an $18 million tax break from the citizens of Kentucky, many of whom will be prohibited from being employed there.
Creationist Ken Ham has very strict standards when it comes to hiring people -- not so strict standards when it comes to accepting donations.Â
His Ark Encounter theme park late last month was unanimouslyÂ approved for an $18 million tax break -- paid for by the citizens of Kentucky, thanks to the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance AuthorityÂ -- and after many years of trying to get his second creationist-motivated museum moving, he says they have secured financing and broken ground. What Ham doesn't say much about is a reported donation worth $1 million from the leader of a certified white supremacist hate group.
"The project is slated to include a facsimile of Noahâ€™s Ark and the Tower of Babel, and will proselytize Christian evangelicalism to patrons, an Answers in Genesis spokesman said," reports an NPR affiliate.
ButÂ Daniel Phelps, the president of the Kentucky Paleontological Society and vice president of Kentuckians for Science Education, isn't pleased. In an op-ed at the Lexington Herald-Leader, "Non-Christians need not apply,"Â Phelps explains his concerns.
"Ark Encounter is run by Answers in Genesis and is clear about its religious basis," Phelps writes. "According to that organization, the Earth is only approximately 6,000 years old, Noah's flood was in 2350 B.C., and there were dinosaurs on the ark (some of which were fire-breathing dragons)."
That organization, by the way, calls itself a "ministry."
"On the day the tax incentives were recommended, the Answers in Genesis website had a help-wanted advertisement,"Â Phelps notes.
The job description included this statement: "Our work at Ark Encounter is not just a job, it is also a ministry. Our employees work together as a team to serve each other to produce the best solutions for our design requirements. Our purpose through the Ark Encounter is to serve and glorify the Lord with our God-given talents with the goal of edifying believers and evangelizing the lost."
All job postings atÂ Answers in Genesis include this statement: "All job applicants for the non-profit ministry of AiG/Creation Museum need to supply a written statement of their testimony, a statement of what they believe regarding creation, and a statement that they have read and can support the AiG Statement of Faith."
TheÂ AiG Statement of Faith claims "it is imperative that all persons employed by the ministry in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide by and agree to our Statement of Faith, to include the statement on marriage and sexuality, and conduct themselves accordingly."
It also requires all employees to believe and support "the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ as Sovereign, Creator, Redeemer, and Judge," and the "66 books of the Bible are the written Word of God. The Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant throughout. Its assertions are factually true in all the original autographs. It is the supreme authority in everything it teaches. Its authority is not limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes but includes its assertions in such fields as history and science."
"The only legitimate marriage sanctioned by God is the joining of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other, and has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. Any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography, or any attempt to change oneâ€™s gender, or disagreement with oneâ€™s biological gender, is sinful and offensive to God."
In other words, LGBT people and most Christians need not apply.
In fairness, the job posting Phelps mentioned in his op-ed lat month no longer appears on the AiG website, and this note has been added:
The Ark Encounter LLC is the for-profit group that will be responsible for hiring staff for the Ark project. Available positions will be made public at a future time and will be posted on the Ark Encounter website.
Given Ham's strict devotion to an extremist form of religion where everyone must believe as he does -- something it's safe to say even most Christians do not -- how can any other entity of his creation toss those tenets aside and abide by the laws of man?