Ken Ham has issued a video statement tonight on his blog addressing the issues of the Ark Encounter being denied their 18 million dollar tax incentive.
Other than the normal anti-atheist hyperbole, Ham makes two points worth addressing…
#1: The Ark Encounter is not asking the state for money to finish the project.
Ham is insisting that journalists and atheists are claiming that park is asking for money to complete the project. This is a flat out lie. Every site is stating this is a tax incentive. We all understand what Ham is doing and what the tax break is.
But suspiciously Ham then says that park would use this rebate to offset the cost of building. So in reality, since the park is being built in phases, he is asking the state for the money to complete the project. This is exactly why the park is relying on this rebate.
#2: That the park has the legal right to discriminate in its hiring practices.
This is a law as stated by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:
Religious discrimination involves treating a person (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs. The law protects not only people who belong to traditional, organized religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, but also others who have sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs.
And then plainly states:
The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.
And a quick reminder here, the Ark Encounter is a for-profit business model. It is not a religious organization as Ham continues to insist in his video.
He claims he is sticking up for churches and other religious organizations, but to repeat this 100 times, the Ark Encounter is a for-profit business and churches and other religious organizations are not-for-profit organizations. They must adhere to different style laws. So yes, when Ham says that atheist groups can discriminate, it is because they are set up as religious non-profit business and follow all applicable laws as stated in the Civil Rights Act.
Ham seems to think because he is religious, any business he is a part of can be exempt from such laws. If the Ark Encounter wants to discriminate against employees, it needs to be setup as a religious organization, not a for-profit business.
Secular and atheist groups have said this time and time again. We are not trying to stop the ark from being built, we are simply making sure the law is followed. The park broke the law when it decided to hold employees to a religious litmus test for hiring and now it is paying the price. If you cannot play by the law, you don’t get to play at all.
This is very simple and it seems American law is simply over Ham’s head. Perhaps it is time he look for a new legal team because the one he has seems to have trouble reading simple American law.