Ken Ham is irate about another thing: kids today are cohabiting! They aren’t sufficiently dedicated to marriage!

We certainly do live in a very secularized culture. The once-Christianized veneer (the Judeo-Christian ethic based on biblical morality) has worn off, and secularism and moral relativism have taken its place. And study after study just continues to confirm how secular this nation really has become. For example, according to a new study, nearly 80%—almost 8 in 10—of US teenagers (15–19 years old) “expect to cohabit before marriage.”

What’s wrong with that? Be happy together, I say. Who are you, Ken Ham, to tell others how to live their lives? I know, you’ve got your holy book, but that book doesn’t seem to be a very good guide to living well. He can claim some experience with marriage, at least.

Mally and I will celebrate 50 years of marriage this December. I am so thankful for a wife who has been one with me in the ministry God called us to. Without her, the ministry of AiG would not be where it is today or even exist. I can honestly say we love each other more than ever. And what is the core factor for a stable marriage? Having a third “partner”: the Lord Jesus Christ.

I know ol’ Ken doesn’t understand elementary logic, but I can say that Having a third “partner”: the Lord Jesus Christ isn’t actually a core factor in a stable marriage. I’ve been happily married and in a strong relationship for 42 years now, and so far, Jesus has not horned in even once. We’d be horrified and kick him out if he tried to crawl into bed with us, the creep.

This is not to suggest that being married for a long time confers some special virtue on a couple. People can grow apart. One partner can be an intolerable jerk. There are many reasons why a marriage might break up, and it’s better to separate than to live in miserable company. Also, I should note that there are marriages that Kenny boy disapproves of, such as same-sex marriages, that bring joy to people’s lives and can last a long time, and some of them also have Jesus in the relationship, and some don’t. Some even have Allah dancing with them in their imagination! It’s all good. You really don’t need a third partner…although, uh-oh, some marriages actually do involve three or more actual physical flesh-and-blood people.

Logic isn’t going to persuade him, I’m afraid. How about revelation? When I was reading his hateful post, a song popped up on my playlist, as if by a miracle. It sounds relevant.

This is how it works
You’re young until you’re not
You love until you don’t
You try until you can’t
You laugh until you cry
You cry until you laugh
And everyone must breathe
Until their dyin’ breath

No, this is how it works
You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
Then try to love the things you took

And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else’s heart
Pumpin’ someone else’s blood

And walking arm in arm
You hope it don’t get harmed
But even if it does
You’ll just do it all again, and…

Jesus told me that you should listen to it, Ken Ham, and take it to heart.


  1. nomdeplume says

    Great song, PZ, thank you for letting me discover it.

    And I have been married for 53 years, so far, and we have both been atheist for even longer.

    What a creepy man Ham is, and how much damage he and his wife have done with their AiG nonsense.

  2. larpar says

    “…nearly 80%—almost 8 in 10—of US teenagers (15–19 years old) “expect to cohabit before marriage.””
    It’s a slippery slope, folks. Next thing you know, they’ll adopt both cats and dogs.

  3. birgerjohansson says

    If you want news about more wholesome critters than Ken Ham, I can reveal the celebrity Sir Vääs (Sir Hiss) – the 2,5 m King Cobra that escaped in Stockholm has been located.

    X-ray equipment borrowed from Customs found him hiding behind a wall in the same house.
    The next phase is to carefully dislodge and retrieve him from behind the panels.
    So this particular reptile is wanted unlike unsolicited relational advice from a dinosaur.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    It just occurred to me; Ken Ham should be one of the bizarre characters in Married With Children
    Ken: You should rejoice in the bliss of married life!
    Al: (punches him in the face)
    Peg : (walks over unconscious body in search of bonbons)

  5. says

    Dumb Idiot Ham can take his marriage advice and shove it up his arse!
    I’d rather live happy, single, and independent than be married to someone who makes my life a living Hell.

  6. says

    What the hell. I thought that christians were all pissed off when people get divorced. Not getting married is a simple way to solve the divorce rate. ;)

  7. anthrosciguy says

    My grandmother, back in the 70s when she was in her 70s, surprised me by saying that young people should live together first to see if they would be good in a marriage. Both she and my mother got married because they were pregnant and that was “what you did” back then. My mom said marrying my dad was the best thing that ever happened to her; her mother wasn’t so lucky.

  8. gijoel says

    It’s kind of funny that Ken has taken this stand as, as far as I can tell, There isn’t a definitive example of a marriage in the bible. Jacob married four women at the same time. Abraham only had one wife, but fathered a child with his wife’s slave. Solomon had tons of wives apparently, and so on.

    Also I just realized that Adam and Eve were living in sin (ha ha), as there weren’t any priests around to marry them.

  9. Akira MacKenzie says

    Jesus is the “third partner,” eh?

    Which one is the cuck in this arrangement, Ken? The husband or the wife?

  10. JimB says


    My grandmother, back in the 70s when she was in her 70s, >surprised me by saying that young people should live together >first to see if they would be good in a marriage.

    I can say exactly the same thing. Using the same numbers!

    Grandma was pretty cool!

  11. JimB says

    Oh yuck. It just dawned on me that there were 4 in the bed with Falwell.

    And now I’m going to think about bleach for an hour.

  12. Oggie: Mathom says

    And what is the core factor for a stable marriage? Having a third “partner”: the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Let me think on this.

    Couple who lived across the street before the house got condemned? Very religious, divorced. Woman I worked with who is very religious, had a personal relationship with Jay-Zus? Divorced three times. My parents, who are Unitarian pantheists? Married for 64 years. Wife’s parents, who are lower-case christians? Would have been celebrating their 64th anniversary (except FIL died a year ago). Wife and I are hard-core atheists. We have been married 33 years,
    Actually, I think the only pantheist/atheist I now who is divorced is my sister and that was because her husband developed a personal relationship with cocaine and Jesus.

    I know Wife and I’s parents did not cohabitate before marriage. Wife and I did. So did her brother and his wife (married 31 years (and both non-church-going sort-of Christians)). Cohabitating is good. Wife and I knew that we were compatible on all levels before we were married. No Jesus, just knowing each other.

  13. Oggie: Mathom says

    Wait. Wouldn’t bringing Jesus in as a partner in the marriage be either polygamous or adulterous? And what about the Holy Spirit? How come He (it?) gets left out?

  14. says

    …Having a ‘third “partner”: the Lord Jesus Christ’ isn’t actually a core factor in a stable marriage.

    That’s because it’s an absolutely and utterly meaningless concept. It’s even more meaningless — and more deceptive and damaging — than thinking of “The Relationship” as a third “partner.”

  15. doctorworm says

    When my parents were preparing to marry 40 years ago, during premarital counseling the priest asked if they were cohabiting. They said yes, expecting to be chastised, but instead the priest said that cohabitation was a good thing, since it allowed them to learn about each other and get any issues out in the open as early as possible.

  16. nomdeplume says

    @19 Always been a bizarre concept to have unmarried “celibate” priests give advice on marriage!

  17. StonedRanger says

    41 years next Tuesday for The Boss and myself. Ken Ham can go choke on a ham sandwich.

  18. birgerjohansson says

    “Pumping someone elses’ blood”.
    OK this got weird.
    Desmodontinae? Or xenomorph parasite?

  19. pharmscigrad says

    Both my step-kids are cohabing…. because thats what they can afford. A huge consideration was that (USA) they can stay on their parent’s health insurance until 26 if single but lose that insurance if they get married.
    To me that seems like the logical outcome of the system in place: the insurance you can get from college or warehouse work or fast food really doesn’t compare to the insurance that comes from us* (yay for us?). Plus, it’s free (to them).
    *I understand that’s not a universal truth, but it does influence decisions when true.

    Ffs… if Xians want kids to marry young they’ve got to at least reduce the financial penalties…

  20. chrislawson says

    In pre-Reformation Europe, when nearly 100% of the population was devout Catholic (or afraid to say otherwise) and the church wielded direct secular power, many people had common law marriages. That is, they lived together despite not going through a formal wedding with a priest as witness. They were still legally recognised as spouses. This only changed with the Council of Trent. Somehow the Catholic Church managed to accept cohabitation amongst the laity for over 1500 years.

    Even weirder for the Hams of this world, the Council of Trent and its authoritarian crackdown on just about everything was a response to the Protestant schism. For instance, this was the Council that decided transubstantiation was an “infallible” tenet, a position neither implied by scripture nor compatible with reality* but which was a common Protestant objection. Which means that Ham is demanding Catholic impositions that were implemented after the Protestant secession, in order to consolidate the power of the Church and suppress all heterodoxies, even trivial ones. But then, the Hams of this world are not exactly known for the consistency of their theology or the depth of their learning.

    (*And the Catholic Church knows it. They have tried in the past to have priests exempted from drink driving laws because they could be affected by communion wine — a principle completely at odds with their insistence on the infallibility of physical transubstantiation.)

  21. Akira MacKenzie says

    My parents were the only people either ever dated. They are both bigoted, selfish people, so it was no wonder that their marriage eventually failed. My sister and I would never have been born, but it would probably been better if they never had met.

  22. Dan Phelps says

    Ham believes he has won on abortion. Birth control and cohabitation are among his future political targets.

  23. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 26

    Perhaps if the Bible-fuckers knew that we filthy, godless, hedonists were willing to literally KILL them for our right to abort or prevent a pregnancy, cohabitate, or just screw consenting adults we see fit, we wouldn’t be in the current mess we’re in.

    But nooooo. “Violence doesn’t solve anything.” Non-violence certainly solved the abortion issue on behalf of the fetus-fetishists.

  24. acroyear says

    I note it never occurs to Republicans that their policies are why cohabitation is preferred. And it has nothing to do with ‘living in sin’ and everything to do with the economic realities that discourage young people from getting married. (not least of which, the ridiculous high cost of divorce)

    Every benefit that people might get, particularly educational grants, is tapped on the income of the receiver AND their spouse. So if you’re still in med school, getting a stipend, grant, or scholarship, and get married to someone who is already a doctor and thus having an ok income…

    …you lose it all. The spouses income is supposed to support you so you don’t need the help anymore.

    Of course, that’s a lie, because the spouses income today can’t pay for the rent/mortgage, food, utilities, AND cover all of the expenses of school.

    Screwed by Conservative policies in two ways – first that the price of education is so insane, and second the sabotage they put into every bill they can to limit the number of people who can qualify.

    I’ve several ‘families’ among my deepest friends who either aren’t ‘married’ legally, or had to delay it, because of bullsh*t like this – rather than just giving the grant, they force bean-counters into everybody’s lives.

    Jesus isn’t the third person in many relationships – the government bean-counter is. And it was Republicans, not Democrats, who put them there every single time.

    The ACA is yet another example of Republican bean-counter sabotage.

  25. John Morales says

    Akira, are you truly that unhinged that you genuinely advocate murder, or are you just blustering? I hope the latter.

    Be aware that this reads much like the manifestos of impulse murderers.

  26. whheydt says

    Re: nomdeplume @ #1…
    If only… My wife died (4 months ago, today) when we’d been married for a little over 51 years.

  27. jo1storm says

    Lol. Was ever a man so wrong as Ken Ham?

    Late Agatha Christie’s character Miss Marple noticed same sex couples living together “unmarried” in 1950. And decries “those modern notions of not having to be married to be together and raise children together anyway” in 1930! Forget science, reality or history, if he read crime novels he would have known that.

  28. nomdeplume says

    @30 Oh whheydt I am so sorry. I have had 14 years of severely life-threatening illnesses and am grateful to my wife and the medical profession for getting me through. It could easily not have gone that way, so I understand your pain, a little. Take care of yourself my friend.

  29. Akira MacKenzie says


    What I am advocating is being dangerous. The right are bullies and they don’t respect the sanctimonious commitment to non-violence and peaceful discussion. Indeed they consider it a weakness to exploit. You don’t stop bullies by being nice to them, talking it out, or any that other “ABC After School Special” shit. The only way to defeat a bully is to hurt them enough so they are afraid of you.

    Maybe we wouldn’t be staring down the barrel of fascism, or have an environmental on the verge of collapse, or having our reproductive rights stripped from us if the right wing thugs and upper class parasites knew their actions would come with deadly consequences rather than placard waving and silly stunts involving soup and paintings.

    To keep this world from the abyss that the right wants to cast it into, we should be willing to kill. If that’s too “unhinged” to consider then we might was just give up and cede existence to the bullies.

  30. Akira MacKenzie says

    Perhaps this quote will help:

    The personal, as everyone’s so fucking fond of saying, is political. So if some idiot politician, some power player, tries to execute policies that harm you or those you care about, take it personally. Get angry. The Machinery of Justice will not serve you here – it is slow and cold, and it is theirs, hardware and soft-. Only the little people suffer at the hands of Justice; the creatures of power slide out from under with a wink and a grin. If you want justice, you will have to claw it from them. Make it personal. Do as much damage as you can. Get your message across. That way you stand a far better chance of being taken seriously next time. Of being considered dangerous. And make no mistake about this: being taken seriously, being considered dangerous, marks the difference – the only difference in their eyes – between players and little people. Players they will make deals with. Little people they liquidate. And time and again they cream your liquidation, your displacement, your torture and brutal execution with the ultimate insult that it’s just business, it’s politics, it’s the way of the world, it’s a tough life, and that it’s nothing personal. Well, fuck them. Make it personal.

    –From “Altered Carbon”
    Richard K. Morgan

  31. llyris says

    So he’s complaining that young people intend to cohabitate before marriage
    So… they’re intending to marry and this is the process of inspection before signing the contract, and checking for any serious issues.
    Ham just wants to make sure (the woman) is legally trapped when the abuse starts in earnest. There is no other logical explanation.

  32. lanir says

    I think that you can find good people and selfish people just about anywhere. That’s why families are complicated. They don’t fit the mold of the fairy tale that conservatives and religious goons like to spout off about. They’re just like pregnancy is in the abortion debate: if everything is going fine and everyone is healthy and taking care of themselves, then yay! You have a good outcome.

    But if anything doesn’t go exactly right you suddenly have very real people suffering because your very theoretical talking points don’t match reality. And while pregnancy concerns can be much more immediate, family problems can be a slow moving train wreck that lasts decades. I know because that matches my personal experience.

    Whenever I see this type of clown advocating for more lock-in and lock-down on the family (because that’s always the whole entire extent of their stance in support of traditional families), I always know the real goal is to enable the worst sort of person to have a captive audience. Hurray for family values and shit. :P I think this sort of policy by the worst religious people is there to cause problems deliberately so the clown show can offer you a ride in the clown car to fix it. And somehow the faithful just don’t seem to notice that they’re feeling bad because they think they’ve sinned but all they did was accrue the entirely predictable consequences of following bad advice they were pressured into accepting by the same bozos in the first place.

  33. Matthew Currie says

    Ham seems a bit shaky on his history when it comes to secularism. I seem to recall that one of the first things the excessively theocratic and sectarian Pilgrims did when they established their colony in Massachusetts was to make marriage a secular institution. And we might also remember that, in response to their still overly sectarian government, one dissenter moved out and established a new colony with the explicit understanding that its government would be entirely secular. That was Roger Williams, a Baptist!

    Now I happen to be an utter infidel and happy to be so, but I do know, and know of, some people who have deep and abiding religious beliefs who are not thereby reduced to overall idiocy.

  34. estraven says

    My husband passed away last year. We had been married for 51 years and still loved each other very deeply. We’d probably have cohabited before marriage but he was drafted druing Vietnam and went off to basic training. First leave he got, we married. My son and his girlfriend are living with me now. I don’t get why people get so exercised over other people’s life decisions when it isn’t hurting them in the least. After Obergefell, it was a standing joke with us :”Well, is our marriage over now due to the gays?” He was and I am an atheist. Somehow we made it work for 50 years without Jesus!

  35. cheerfulcharlie says

    In the Penateuch,, marriage is menioned only 8 times. Israelites are not to marry Canaanites. An Israelite woman who marries out of one tribe into another did not lose any rights by doing so. There is no law stating one cannot cohabitate, or only have one wife etc.

    Why? From earliet times, marriage was a legal contract, not religious. Some of the earliest writings we have are marriage contracts. Some of these were found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Or solemn marriage contracts were agreed to and winesed by the villiage elders. No need then for Pentateuch writers to make up something.

    Today, cohabitation is a contract, just like most ancient of times. As long as nobody is marrying a Canaanite.

  36. whheydt says

    Re: estraven @ #39…
    My condolences. One can but carry on and care for the living, one day at a time.

  37. whheydt says

    Re; chrislawson @ #32…
    Thank you. I don’t have the words for how much I miss her. I expect to feel that void for the rest of my life.

    Re: nomdeplume @ #33…
    Thank you. She died of ALS. Having seen that up close and far, far too personal, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I promised her to see the grandchildren become adults and the cats to live out their lives cared for. So I need to stick around for 20 years. Four months down and 236 to go…

    In general I could wish for a lot less of people saying “Have a nice day.” At this point, I don’t have nice days. I have bad days and worse days with no prospect of that changing.

    We were active in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). Her first event was the second one that was ever held. When light bulb jokes were all the rage, she wrote a song on the SCA variant (“How many people of X does it take to light a candle?”). She lit so many candles for so many people. Now her candle has gone out and I am left alone in the dark.

  38. cnocspeireag says

    I find it harder and harder to think that Ken Ham is other than a thoroughly bad man. Modern secularism seems to have so much superior ethics and morals to the Christianity in charge of everything in my youth. The accepted Church of England marriage service at the time of my wedding vows still insisted that the woman should obey the man (but not vice versa). My wife and I were lucky enough to find a vicar who would accept ‘cherish’ from both parties: some would not. Modern opinion would generally not see a wife as the property of a man. In my lifetime, English law gave the husband ‘conjugal rights’ over his wife, and it was impossible for a husband to be charged withe the rape of his wife. Think about that, a man was legally allowed to rape his wife. A high court judge in England could order a wife to have sex with her husband, like some grotesque, overpaid and bewigged pimp. Another judge sentenced Alan Turing to chemical torture, administered by an equally evil doctor, for the ‘crime’ of commercial sex with another adult, to the point where he was driven to suicide.
    Yes, in my seventies, I can look back in horror at the crimes committed in my lifetime by people in power, who would have almost exclusively claimed to be Christian. Modern morals have moved on and improved so far. Law follows slowly and, thanks to Chinos foisted by the appalling Trump on SCOTUS, occasionally is driven backwards.
    Let us hope that there are enough good Americans to scotch the evil plans of the decayed Republican party and their Christians in mane only in the midterms, before they destroy American democracy completely.