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Noah's Ark theme park to search for all-Christian staff

Posted April 20

The Ark Encounter, a theme park in Williamstown, Kentucky, modeled on the biblical tale of Noah's Ark, will soon be hiring, but non-Christians need not apply.

"Employees will be required to sign a statement saying they're Christians and 'profess Christ as their Savior,'" the Associated Press reported this week.

Answers in Genesis, the religious group behind the Ark Encounter, previously came under fire for suggesting that a "salvation testimony" would be part of job applications, Deseret News National reported at the time. The organization was accused in 2014 of using public money to fund religious discrimination, since it had received millions of dollars of tax breaks during theme park construction.

However, Answers in Genesis "won a federal court ruling in January that clarified that it can make religious-based hires" due to a faith-based exemption included in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, AP reported.

Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis, told AP that Ark Encounter workers won't have to belong to a specific Christian denomination. Protestants, Catholics, Baptists, Presbyterians and others will be welcome.

"We're requiring (employees) to be Christians. That's the bottom line," he said.

Job listings are expected to be posted next week, and the Ark Encounter managers will be looking for 300 to 400 people to staff "phase one" of the theme park project, the AP reported.

When it opens on July 7, visitors will have access to a 510-foot-long replica of Noah's Ark, according to the Ark Encounter website. They'll also see animals that voyaged on the Ark (some of them will be animatronic) and displays about what the world was like during Noah's time.

"The Ark will equip visitors to understand the reality of the events that are recorded in the book of Genesis," the website says.

Eventually, the theme park will also house a replica of the Tower of Babel, a pre-flood city, a first-century village and other Bible-themed attractions.

"The entire project will cost more than $150 million, with the first phase costing $91 million," The Boston Globe reported in March. "According to estimates from America's Research Group, the Ark Encounter will host between 1.4 million and 2.2 million visitors in the first year."

Email: kdallas@deseretnews.com Twitter: @kelsey_dallas

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