As you may have heard, a GOP-affiliated and Bush-appointed federal judge ruled yesterday that a super-important part of the First Amendment is to guarantee tax breaks for religious theme parks with insanely discriminatory hiring practices.
While Answers in Genesis president Ken Ham “rejoices” that his well-paid legal team prevailed in his unbiblical lawsuit over his unbiblical project, Kentucky’s newly … “elected,” Tea Party-approved governor, Matt Bevin, has already said he thought Judge Van Tatenhove’s decision was A-plus, and he doesn’t plan to appeal.
Now, let me say right up front that this is not going to be some embittered, sour grapes post, whining about how this ruling is a miscarriage of constitutional law which shall unleash a maelstrom of injustice across the nation, leaving devastation, destruction and dead puppies in its wake. I’m far too mature for anything like that.
And besides, if that is what you want to see, there will no doubt be plenty of that flowing from the keyboards of liberal bloggers this week.
But me, no, I don’t want to give you my opinion of how ludicrous this decision was. Instead, I just want to show you exactly the kind of religious discrimination that Answers in Genesis is practicing, right now, as it staffs up for its new attraction’s opening this summer, and to which the state of Kentucky yesterday gave its full support, legally and monetarily.
This is a listing for a “grounds maintenance technician” at the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Ky. It looks like your typical boring groundskeeper job description, until you get to the “items needed for possible employment,” which include “salvation testimony,” “creation belief statement” and “confirmation of your agreement with the AiG Statement of Faith.”
That’s right: To even apply for a job as a glorified parking lot custodian at Ham’s Ark Encounter, one must provide documented proof of membership and good standing in the Jesus Club. If Ham and his goons ran the pearly gates, you wouldn’t be allowed into heaven without an original birth certificate, a rebirth certificate, three forms of photo ID, a dissertation on Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses, a link to a moving YouTube video of yourself describing the impact your favorite Christian worship band has had on your life, and at least one visible scar of an injury received during a physical altercation with a college biology professor or an employee of Planned Parenthood.
Anyway. That’s just the introduction. It gets much worse. The next page looks like this:
You’ll notice that, in addition to “Are you at least 18 years of age?” and “Do you have 3 years professional grounds maintenance experience?,” AiG also wants to know if you have “thoroughly read and reviewed” its faith statement, and agree with it “100%.”
And, just in case you were thinking this “Statement of Faith” is some basic list of Christian beliefs that the majority of Americans could probably affirm, it is, in actuality, a painstakingly thorough treatise encompassing all the fine minutiae of AiG’s worldview, not just about God, the Bible and science, but also hell, Satan, unrelated social issues, even epistemology, of all things.
As Kentucky resident and friend of GOE Christopher Jones wrote in a letter to his new governor, the descent into madness continues with the following list of questions being included in the application. And, just to reiterate, we’re talking about an application to be a groundskeeper.
How old would you estimate the earth to be?
What is your belief/conviction about the flood of Noah’s day?
What is your belief about dinosaurs?
Which of the following statements BEST describes your position regarding race and various races?
What do you believe is required for one to go to heaven when they die?
How certain are you that you will go to heaven?
When you die and stand before God, if He were to ask you “Why should I let you into heaven?”, what would your response be?
What would cause anyone to go to hell?
Which statement best describes your position about punishment for unbelievers after death?
Because, obviously, one’s “beliefs about dinosaurs” is critically important to how well they can pick up Kit Kat wrappers from a sidewalk and kick dirt back onto a dirt pile. And, if someone can’t provide an orthodox description of what happens to unbelievers after they die, you know they sure as heck can’t provide adequate maintenance to a dwarf Japanese holly shrub or a climbing Hydrangea.
Christopher puts it well:
None of these questions have anything to do with the Groundskeeper job. These are questions to discriminate against ANYONE who doesn’t agree 100% with Answers in Genesis’ philosophy. The Ark Encounter is a for-profit organization that is hiring on highly discriminatory terms. These tax breaks are blatantly illegal and should be (repealed) immediately.
Look, the Bill of Rights is a wonderful document. I love the First Amendment, and I recognize that it promises me many wonderful freedoms, while guaranteeing the same freedoms for things I find disagreeable, wrong and even abhorrent.
When it comes right down to it, Answers in Genesis, as a religious organization, should be free to hire only people who agree with its crazy beliefs, even in situations where that policy makes absolutely no sense.
They actually do have the “right” to discriminate, such as it is. But, for crying out loud, the people of Kentucky should not have to foot the bill for it.