Ark Encounter within the law for hiring only Christians, says legal organization

Answers in Genesis, the organization behind the Creation Museum, has received criticism for specifying that it will only hire Christians for their upcoming Ark Encounter theme park. However, a Christian legal organization now says AiG is within its legal bounds, citing Disney's Epcot theme park as an example.

Screenshot taken from Ark Encounter Advertisement/YouTube | Ark Encounter/Answers in Genesis

"In the German Pavilion [at Epcot], they can hire people who are German; in the French Pavilion, they can hire people who are French – because it's part of their bona fide occupational requirement," Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, told OneNewsNow. "It is who they are – and that's why they have that exception. Without that exception, then we would not have the individuality of these different organizations."

He said that it is even more important for faith-based or religiously affiliated organizations "to be able to hire people who are consistent with their message and mission." 

Answers in Genesis will be opening Ark Encounter in July, and their centerpiece is a life-sized replica of Noah's Ark. They will be hiring around 300 to 400 employees to man food services, ticketing, warehouse, and Web development, among others. To be considered, an applicant needs to sign a statement declaring that they "profess Christ as their savior" and, reportedly, agree to the organization's Statement of Faith.

"We are a religious group and we make no apology about that, and (federal law) allows us that," said Ken Ham, founder of AiG, as quoted by Fox News. "We're requiring them to be Christians, that's the bottom line."

A U.S. district judge had ruled in January that AiG can include religion as a requirement for hiring, based on the exemption to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The theme park will be open to the public on July 7, which Ham finds fitting with Genesis 7:7, the verse that talks about Noah and his companions entering the ark. According to Fox 5, upon opening, it will be open for 40 days and 40 night since that was how long it rained in the Biblical story.