A columnist in the Cincinnati Post, Kevin Eigelbach, has a few words for Answers in Genesis. He got a letter from them asking for money to protect the Bible from the wicked secularists who want people to think critically about its contents.
Ham fears that one day we’ll find stickers inside our Bibles that tell us the Bible is fictional. A friend of his found one in a Gideon Bible in Salt Lake City.
The sticker says the Bible contains religious stories regarding the origin of living things. They are theories, not facts, it says.
“This material should be approached with an open mind, and a critical eye towards logic and believability,” it concludes.
That may sound like good advice to you, but not to Answers in Genesis, which defends the Bible from the first verse to the last.
The sticker looks like a parody of disclaimers that the creationism-minded Cobb County, Ga., school board stuck in textbooks about evolution.
Ham wonders if a federal judge could one day order stickers placed in our Bibles, as a judge ordered the Cobb County stickers removed.
He doesn’t explain how a federal judge could order a sticker put in my family Bible, or who would carry out the order. His letter builds one little sticker found in one Bible into a conspiracy against Christianity. To bolster his case, he brings in the usual suspects: gay marriage, legal abortion, bans on prayer in school and Christ in Christmas.
I don’t have the actual fundraising letter, but it’s true that Ken Ham has complained about people putting stickers in Bibles. Here’s the text found in one Bible in Utah:
This book contains religious stories regarding the origin of living things. The stories are theories, not facts. They are unproven, unprovable and in some cases totally impossible. This material should be approached with an open mind, and a critical eye towards logic and believability.
Nanovirus posted a similar sticker, and if you’d like, you can even buy one from Cafepress and slap them on every bible in every motel room you find, although it would be cheaper to buy some laserprinter stick-on labels and make your own. Cheaper and easier still, when you find a Gideon’s bible in your room, pull out a pen and scribble “Malarkey!” on the first page. You can do that.
Ken Ham calls this “blasphemous.” Since when should Americans give a damn about blasphemy?
Of course, this is also something private individuals do (and which doesn’t break the law), not an attempt to legislate our godless point of view on public institutions. That’s a significant difference between this situation and the Cobb County textbook stickers. (Just a thought…but if anyone wanted to get around that ruling against the textbook warning stickers, one way would be to give out or sell book covers that kids could voluntarily put on their textbooks, just as kids would slap Kiss Army stickers on their textbook covers when I was in school. Perfectly legal, no problems, you could even cover biology books in Bible verses if you want. That, of course, does not force anyone to bear witness to their beliefs, though, which was the whole point of the Cobb County exercise.)
Eigelbach nicely rebuts Ham’s scare tactics and false feelings of martyrdom.
What intrigued me about Ham’s letter was the idea that there’s some vast left-wing conspiracy against Christianity in America. We hear this all the time from fundamentalist Christians. It’s becoming so commonplace that we hardly even notice it.
I think most non-believers here, as well as observers from other countries see America as a place where right-wing Christianity is thriving.
I mean, we have a president who’s the darling of fundamentalist Christians and a Republican Congress in the middle of passing its “values agenda.”
Ham’s own views on the origins of the Earth also enjoy widespread support here, more than in any other industrialized nation.
Last year, the New York Times reported on a poll that showed that two-thirds of Americans agreed that creationism should be taught alongside evolution in public schools.
About 42 percent agreed that “living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.”
But remember, even though religious conservatives have that control and that number of supporters, any problems in our education system are still all The Liberals’ Fault.