Answers in Genesis to sue for $18 million over tax rebates withdrawn for group's hiring practices
A Creationist group building a Noah’s Ark-inspired theme park said Tuesday it would sue Kentucky for $18 million in tax rebates the state withdrew over its hiring practices.
Answers in Genesis President and CEO Ken Ham announced the lawsuit in a YouTube video, claiming the state breached the group’s right to freedom of religion by denying the tax incentives on the grounds that the group was using the project as an “extension of [its] ministry.”
Kentucky’s tourism secretary said in December that the park required a “salvation testimony” and a “Creation belief statement” in its job postings, which the state said was hiring discrimination based on religious grounds.
“[The lawsuit] really involves freedom of religion, free exercise of religion, freedom of speech in this great nation of America,” Ham said in the video. “Numerous bloggers and media outlets have spread a lot of misinformation about the tax rebate program, and also a lot of false information about employment laws as they relate to the Ark Encounter project.”
Ham, who became known for his creation debate last year against Bill Nye “The Science Guy,” was joined in the video by Mike Johnson, Chief Counsel of Freedom Guard, a religious liberty defense organization that will represent Answers in Genesis.
“This is public interest law,” Johnson said. “We’re defending freedom for everyone, and I think that’s an important cause that all of us should be involved in.”