Friday, August 22, 2014

"Ark Encounter" Jobs for Fundamentalists Only

The saga of Ken Ham's troubled Ark Encounter attraction continues. After failing to raise enough money to receive the large tax incentives for which they were originally approved by the state of Kentucky, Answers in Genesis has applied again for a smaller set of tax breaks. In their new application they once again claim that the attraction will generate revenue for the state and create jobs. But according to a job description on their help wanted web site, Ark Encounter's jobs are for fundamentalist Christians only.

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."

When Ark Encounter was originally approved for much larger tax incentives they were required not to discriminate in hiring. However, it is apparent that Ark Encounter is likely to discriminate against non-Christians. Moreover, Catholics, mainstream Protestant Christians and some conservative Christians who have different doctrinal beliefs are also unlikely to be hired.

The ad has specific religious requirements for employment. These include a salvation testimony, a "creation belief statement" and a requirement that applicants agree with the organization's "statement of faith." This required statement includes articles that imply that fundamentalist Christianity is the only acceptable religion and that denigrate non-Christians non-fundamentalist Christians, and homosexuals (regardless of their theological views).

The really amazing thing to me here is talking about "design requirements." That is, these are the jobs for people who will be building the attraction. How can somebody's religious beliefs possibly effect how they do engineering or construction work? Rail against asshole atheists all you want - and yes, they are out there, and they are annoying - but I've never heard of an atheist company refusing to hire Christians or making them sign some sort of statement denouncing God.

Garbage like this is the reason atheists wind up pressing court cases. It's not just that they're "offended" in some nebulous way, but rather that discrimination against them and members of minority religions is very real and has real consequences. If Ark Encounter gets away with this, you can bet that other fundamentalist organizations will follow.

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