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Tax incentives for Noah's Ark theme park opposed

Associated Press

FRANKFORT - A national organization for the separation of church and state has urged Kentucky officials to deny state tax incentives for the Noah's Ark theme park in northern Kentucky.

The organization, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, points to hiring practices by the park's parent organization, Answers in Genesis, The Courier-Journal reported.

In a letter to Governor Steve Beshear, Americans United said the website of Answers in Genesis requires that the job applicants must agree with its Christian "Statement of Faith."

"An applicant must profess that homosexuality is a sin on par with bestiality and incest, that the earth is only 6,000 years old, and that the bible is literally true in order to be considered for the job," Americans United officials said in the letter.

That policy amounts to religious discrimination in hiring and may violate the Kentucky Constitution's ban on preferences "to any religious sect," the group said. The coordinator of the project, Mike Zovath, told the Louisville newspaper on Friday that the entity developing the park - the for-profit Ark Encounter LLC - is distinct from the not-for-profit Answers in Genesis.

Zovath, a founding member of Answers in Genesis, acknowledged that Ark Encounter is owned by Cross Water Canyon, a non-profit owned by Answers in Genesis.

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