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Answers in Genesis would rather you didn’t talk about this

They’ve been awarded an $18 million tax break. AiG will, as usual, declare that they weren’t actually given any money directly, but instead got a deal with the state that says they won’t have to pay as much. Because, as we all know, having to pay less of your revenues to cover the costs of infrastructure and maintenance and subsidized transport — you know, like all those roads two thirds of the country will be driving on to get to their over-priced carnie show — isn’t actually a benefit. It’s just what a god-fearing Kentucky ought to do.

But that’s not what they’d like you to avoid bringing up. No, it’s that in their state-subsidized operation, which makes them subject to state and federal hiring laws, they have a peculiar hiring requirement: they demand that all employees swear to abide by their statement of faith. That statement requires that all employees believe:

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 one’s gender, or disagreement with one’s biological gender, is sinful and offensive to God.

Oops. They just violated a few equal opportunity laws.

They also insist that:

All human life is sacred and begins at conception (defined as the moment of fertilization). The unborn child is a living human being, created in the image of God, and must be respected and protected both before and after birth. The abortion of an unborn child or the active taking of human life through euthanasia constitutes a violation of the sanctity of human life, and is a crime against God and man.

And of course there are a whole lot of religious requirements that only fit Christians. And not just any Christian: a very narrow, very specific version of Christianity that’s going to include only fundamentalist Protestants with a literalist interpretation of the Bible.

So there will be no Jews, gay men, lesbians, transgender men or women (or even individuals with gender dysphoria), Muslims, pro-choice citizens, Seventh Day Adventists, Scientologists, Catholics, Episcopalians, Buddhists, agnostics, pantheists, feminists, Sikhs, Quakers, or atheists employed at the Creation “Museum”. Also no honest physicists, geologists, or biologists. Karen Armstrong couldn’t get a job there, and neither could Neil deGrasse Tyson or Ken Miller. Me, either…and here I was pinin’ for an opportunity to move to the lovely Cincinnati area and get a prestigious job helping the public learn about science. Hecky darn.

But they don’t want anyone to talk about that. They’re going to nominally claim to follow state and federal guidelines, while somehow, magically, without any discrimination on their part, all the employees working as grounds crew, security, advertising, zip line guides, or accountants will just happen to all be conservative heterosexual attendees of Ken Ham’s favorite local churches.

And that may be a fair description of their applicant pool, since they’re clearly setting up a hostile work environment for anyone who doesn’t conform.

Comments

  1. Saad says

    I had heard a lot about Ken Ham here, but just now bothered to look him up. Looks like Hodor had the Hound’s baby.

  2. says

    “. . . a very narrow, very specific version of Christianity that’s going to include only fundamentalist Protestants with a literalist interpretation of the Bible.”

    Err, no. There is not one word in the Bible, Old Testament or New, about abortion or when life begins. Actually the ancients didn’t know what conception was so they couldn’t have addressed that question if they wanted to.

    As for marriage, men can have multiple wives — in fact they are required to marry their brother’s widow, even if she’s wife number 7 — and concubines, which are essentially slaves kept for purposes of sex and reproduction. The fact is these “Bible believers” haven’t even read it.

  3. Saad says

    On a serious note, how can this possibly stand? I’m not well-versed on how these equal opportunity laws are actually enforced, so what will it take to show that Ham isn’t following them? Surely the fact that you only have heterosexual Christian people working for you is not enough to condemn you. I’m imagining rejected applicants would have to file complaints saying they were discriminated against, but that’s probably not gonna happen as such people won’t be applying in the first place.

  4. Kevin Kehres says

    @4…yes, that’s the issue. Someone with “standing” has to file suit. If a card-carrying atheist (or Catholic for that matter) was rejected for a job, they’d have to show that the reason they were rejected was their religious beliefs. Me (or you or PZ) being upset about their job requirements is not enough to grant “standing”.

    Tough case to make.

    My impression is that if someone lies about their status to get a job, and then “outs” themselves, they can be fired for lying on their job application — so that strategy doesn’t work. But I am not a labor lawyer and would happy to be told I’m wrong by someone who is.

  5. unclefrogy says

    who that does not hold beliefs as stated in their statement of faith would even want to work there?
    how can what is basically an amusement park succeed if they are going to start off by narrowing the focus so much?
    uncle frogy

  6. says

    “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”-

    because that has fuck all to do with science I guess?

  7. jaytheostrich says

    “All human life is sacred and begins at conception (defined as the moment of fertilization). The unborn child is a living human being, created in the image of God”

    So, God is a single fertilized cell, and after that we don’t resemble him anymore? Dang.

  8. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    [a long list of behaviors}… is sinful and offensive to God.

    How does an all-powerful, all-knowing being have any business being offended by what we do?

  9. raven says

    Seems like they are pulling a bait and switch here.

    1. AIG/Ark Park are a for profit corporation when they are getting huge tax breaks from both the local and state government. As well as a new and expensive interstate highway exchange.

    2. Then they are a religious nonprofit when it comes to hiring so they can discriminate and only hire Oogedy Boogedy creationist xians.

    I doubt this is legal but will wait for the lawsuits and see.

  10. twas brillig (stevem) says

    Ham [is a shyster]. How can a secular government give him tax breaks when he is so explicitly religion? Any (non religion) job that requires a statement of Faith, as a prerequisite, is just [redacted].
    I know only the faithfulites would even desire to work for Ham, but I have to imagine, the hypothetical, of a “gigolo” hesitating to say the oath, and objecting to being chaste for the rest of his employment during the construction of the “hallowed halls of Creationism”.

    [scare quotes intentional, for emphatic scariness]

  11. raven says

    This whole thing just screams “scam” anyway.

    It might well never be built.

    1. Second hand reports from the Ark Park website (check it yourself, I’m not going there) are that they have only raised half the money they need.

    2. AIG had trouble with selling their junk bonds. They ended up buying some of them to make it float. And AIG itself isn’t doing so well.

    They may well have used some of the money they raised, to buy their own bonds. This is circular financing that doesn’t result in a net increase unless they then sell the bonds on the secondary market. Which probably doesn’t exist for these bonds.

    3. Follow the money. I’m guessing that if you do that, you will find a whole lot of local Kentucky businesspeople and politicians with their hands in the Ark Park pie, digging for whatever they can get out of it.

    It would be in character if they got it half built, went bankrupt, and then put up a bunch of condos.

  12. says

    I read a news article today — but can’t find it at the moment — that Ham & Co. are already advertising. The ads apparently make reference to some of these discriminatory requirements. BUT, they aren’t hiring for the Ark Park, they’re hiring for the AIG organization, a non-profit charitable organization, that is legally allowed to discriminate based on religion. New hirees, while working for AIG, apparently will be “assigned” to tasks at the Ark Park.

    I’m pretty sure most courts will see right through this sham.

  13. scienceavenger says

    The unborn child…must be respected and protected both before and after birth.

    They always seem to forget that second part. Their attitude is “protect before birth, then fuck em”.

  14. scourge99 says

    Thanks to the SCOTUS ruling in Burwell versus Hobby Lobby, the door has been opened for religious employers to discriminate based on religious convictions. Of even more concern in that ruling is how companies have “religious rights” which AIG could easily argue that their religious beliefs are burdened by following non-discrimination laws.

  15. John Horstman says

    @jaytheostrich #11: That makes about as much sense as any other formulation of a god I’ve encountered.

  16. robro says

    The unborn child is a living human being, created in the image of God, and must be respected and protected both before and after birth.

    So “unborn child…must be…protected after birth” The grammar cops need to speak with these folks.

    scienceavenger — See, there’s the answer. The only children they care about after birth are the unborn one’s, and since there are no unborn children after birth, then, yes, they don’t give a fig about them.

  17. robro says

    rave @#15

    3. Follow the money.

    Indeed. As Ken himself wrote in a June 2012 blog post:

    This week, the AiG board of directors met at the AiG offices…The AiG board and some of our staff enjoyed a Cincinnati Reds baseball game on Wednesday evening, courtesy of a local firm we do business with.

    Emphasis mine, needless to say. Of course, lots of businesses buy season tickets to treat prospective clients…it greases the wheels everywhere. So what are the chances that local business is say a contractor who stands to make money off the Ark Fart project. Perhaps that business also contributes to political campaigns at the state and local level, enough that they can twist an arm here and there to get tax credits.

  18. says

    What if my parents and medical staff disagreed with my biological gender at birth and changed it for me? Does that make me (and roughly one in a thousand humans) gay/evil/a sinner?

  19. rogerfirth says

    All human life is sacred and begins at conception (defined as the moment of fertilization).

    A sperm cell is alive, isn’t it? And an unfertilized egg is alive as well, isn’t it? How is a fertilized egg any more alive than the sperm cell and ovum that went into it?

    Seems to me, human life began a couple thousand year ago. And all that’s happened since is a bunch of shuffling of genes.

    What am I missing?

  20. samihawkins says

    The idea that tax breaks are just the government leaving hard working job creators alone while welfare is lazy moocher stealing our tax dollars has to be the one of the most absurd and infuriating delusions in modern American politics.

    Right up there with ‘corporations are people’.

  21. Dod Gleaner says

    @#7 Jackie- Although I can’t speak for the rest of Kentucky, I am a resident and as such I have done everything in my power to denounce this despicable misuse of taxpayer money. Please accept my heartfelt apology, and may the mighty FSM have mercy on my home state for this travesty.

  22. keelyn says

    “Any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography, or any attempt to change one’s gender, or disagreement with one’s biological gender, is sinful and offensive to God.”

    Odd phrasing – I thought lesbians were homosexuals.

  23. keelyn says

    At any rate,

    “…protected both before and after birth.”

    Well, these Bible bangers definitely protect before birth, but their efforts of helping anyone after birth is nothing less than abysmal. You are on your own!

  24. Ichthyic says

    You are on your own!

    oh, it’s worse than that.

    if you are anything other than their own personal epitome of a true American, you are actually NOT left on your own, but carefully, deliberately, and extensively repressed and denied opportunities.

  25. Usernames are smart says

    I have something they should read… — sweattshop
    (#31)

    Really? A wall of incoherent, rambling text?

    ProTip: cut it by two thirds: make your claim, then support it with your one or two best arguments that logically lead the reader.

    Also, check your spelling and grammar, as sloppy text is harder to read and gives the reader the impression the arguments are sloppy (just happens to be true in this case).

    Include citations to actual, reputable sources, not random quotes from random people. Why are ‘most scientists atheists’? Because some random guy said so? NO. Provide data!

  26. peterh says

    “The only legitimate marriage sanctioned by God is the joining of one man and one woman in a single…”

    Has Ham or anyone at AIG ever bothered to count the number of biblical patriarchs who had multiple wives?

  27. lpetrich says

    As to tax breaks, I’ve argued with capitalism groupies who have claimed that tax breaks are not subsidies, that they are keeping one’s own money. But why should that privilege be doled out in such a specified way? Capitalism groupies also object to governments picking winners and losers, but that’s what governments do with tax breaks: the winners are the ones who get them, and the losers the ones who don’t.

  28. moarscienceplz says

    Capitalism groupies also object to governments picking winners and losers, but that’s what governments do with tax breaks

    Oh, there’s nothing wrong with governments picking winners, unless I’m not one of the winners.

  29. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    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 one’s gender, or disagreement with one’s biological gender, is sinful and offensive to God.

    The thing is, I don’t have any trouble stating up front that I believe all of this.

    I also happen to believe “god” is a fictional character based on a composite of gods humans have written into the Christian bible. But sure, pornography is sinful to God. And offensive to God. Also? A husband and wife living in the same house during menstruation. I don’t particularly care whether those who want to follow the rules of the “god” character want to build a shed out back for the husband or for the wife, but it’s surely sexual immorality to god to stay under the same roof or in the same tent. Worse? What if their fingers touch while passing the chickpeas?

  30. theignored says

    Hah! AiG claims that they value life? It depends on what stage that life is at, only:
    http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/georgia-purdom/2014/08/20/pouring-cold-water-on-the-als-ice-bucket-challenge/
    Even their title seems designed to give a hint about how foul their article is about to become. You can probably guess what it’s about, given the lead-in I just gave.

    The sickening irony? These religious fundies are NOT truly “pro-life”, even when it comes to babies and fetuses.

    Why do I say that?

    http://fstdt.com/QuoteComment.aspx?QID=95965
    Josef:
    [You do not have an objective moral standard.

    For instance: baby-killing is OK if god orders it, is it not? William Lane Craig seems to think so.]

    Of course. Whatever God commands is absolutely moral because God himself is the absolute standard for good. In fact, if God really did command to do something, such as kill babies, then it would be immoral not to do it. And on what basis do you have to disagree with this outside of mere opinion?”


    Jason Lisle (formerly of Answers in Genesis, now a member of ICR)
    http://www.jasonlisle.com/2012/11/09/deep-time-the-god-of-our-age/comment-page-2/#comment-7376

    Lisle says, quoting me at first:

    Remember Joseph saying that it would be immoral to NOT kill a baby if god commanded it?

    [Dr. Lisle: Joseph is right. What God commands is necessarily right. Any other definition of morality is ultimately arbitrary and therefore logically unjustified.]

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