Ken Ham Unhinged: Creationism & Theocracy Too

YOU know who Ken Ham is — he’s the impresario of imbecility, the authority on absurdity, the producer of poppycock, the tycoon of tomfoolery. Ol’ Hambo is the creationist entrepreneur responsible for the infamous Creation Museum — which has become the North American Mecca for the mindless. Ham also operates the young-earth creationist website Answers in Genesis (AIG) — a cesspool of ignorance and misinformation.

Until now we’ve been content to regard ol’ Hambo as just another a creationist, albeit a highly successful one. But no longer, not after seeing the latest load of rubbish he’s written and posted at the AIG website. We’re referring to Separation of Christianity and State. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

Almost all Americans have heard the phrase “separation of church and state.” It has been used as something of a club to “beat down” and eliminate Christianity from public places, including symbols (like crosses), disallow Bible reading and prayer in public schools, and stop the teaching of creation in science classes.

An ominous beginning. Stay with us. It gets worse. Much worse:

Now, where does the phrase “separation of church and state” come from? It is not a part of the original U.S. Constitution of 1787, as most people falsely believe, or in any of its amendments. In reality, the idea of a “wall of separation” between church and state came from a private letter from President Thomas Jefferson, and it has sadly been misused to slowly, but surely, eliminate Christianity from the public sector — and replace it with an anti-God religion.

Yes, Hambo, we all know where that specific phrase comes from. Here’s a link to Jefferson’s letter of 1802: Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists, which said:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.

That was Jefferson’s understanding of the First Amendment. Perhaps that’s why the creationist theocrats in Texas purged Jefferson from their textbooks on the American Revolution (see Texas Education: Embracing the Dark Ages).

The First Amendment was drafted by James Madison, who liked Jefferson’s phrase so well that he used it himself. In his letter to Robert Walsh written in 1819, after his presidency, Madison wrote:

It was the Universal opinion of the Century preceding the last [the 1600s], that Civil Govt could not stand without the prop of a Religious establishment, & that the Xn religion itself, would perish if not supported by a legal provision for its Clergy. The experience of Virginia conspicuously corroborates the disproof of both opinions. The Civil Govt, tho’ bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability and performs its functions with complete success, Whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the Priesthood, & the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church from the State.

Madison used that phrase again, in 1822, in his Letter to Edward Livingston, where he said:

Notwithstanding the general progress made within the two last centuries in favour of this branch of liberty, & the full establishment of it, in some parts of our Country, there remains in others a strong bias towards the old error, that without some sort of alliance or coalition between Govt. & Religion neither can be duly supported. Such indeed is the tendency to such a coalition, and such its corrupting influence on both the parties, that the danger cannot be too carefully guarded agst. And in a Govt. of opinion, like ours, the only effectual guard must be found in the soundness and stability of the general opinion on the subject. Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.

But Hambo is a better authority on the Constitution than Madison, right?

We’ve pointed out a few times before that “checks and balances” doesn’t appear in the text of the Constitution either, nor does “limited government,” or “federal republic,” or “popular sovereignty,” or many other phrases that are nevertheless routinely used to accurately describe the Constitution. So it is with “separation of church and state.”

Let’s read on a bit more in Hambo’s ridiculous article:

The religion of naturalism (atheism) has been imposed on the public education system, and on the culture as a whole. For instance, science textbooks …

In keeping with this pronouncement, these books teach molecules-to-man evolution, based only on unproven natural processes, as fact! In other words, they have eliminated the supernatural and replaced it with naturalism. In reality, they have eliminated the Christian worldview and replaced it with a secular, atheistic one!

Yeah, yeah. There’s so much hostility to Christians these days that they’ve had to go back into the catacombs to survive. There’s even a bounty on ’em! One more excerpt:

Sadly, because many Christians have falsely believed that there can be a neutral position, and have also been duped regarding the so-called “separation of church and state,” they are not prepared to boldly and unashamedly stand on the Word of God as they confront issues like abortion, “gay” marriage, racism, etc. By shrinking back, believers have allowed the secularists to impose their anti-God atheistic religion on the public schools — and the culture as a whole.

Okay, that’s enough. Hambo, baby, we suggest that you cool off by taking a dinosaur ride — you know, the sort of thing your ancestors did back in the days when humans and dinosaurs lived together — as they’re shown to do in your infinitely silly museum.

After that, Hambo, you might try to learn a few things about the American Revolution. Apparently they didn’t teach it very well in your native land. Australia was blessed by your departure, and America has been blighted by your arrival.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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7 responses to “Ken Ham Unhinged: Creationism & Theocracy Too

  1. Gabriel Hanna

    Except that several states had established churches and religious tests well into the 19th century. Certainly we understand “separation of church and state” today to mean that if the government buys land with a 60-year-old cross-shaped memorial on it, the government must tear that cross down.

    But in 1789 it was not understood that way. Madison’s Virginia disestablished in 1786 and I have no doubt he was influential in that.

    I think it would be wise to admit that this history is a bit more nuanced than we might like it to be. A secular Federal government was established in 1789, but it was not a secularizing one and not all of its restrictions were considered to apply to the states.

  2. Gabriel Hanna says:

    Except that several states had established churches and religious tests well into the 19th century.

    Correct. I think Massachusetts was the last state to have an established church, giving it up in the 1840s, or so I’ve read. Most state constitutions now have something similar to the First Amendment. And of course, the Supreme Court has been interpreting the First Amendment to apply to the states — something that, as an original intent guy, I find difficult to agree with, but that’s the deal these days.

  3. Gabriel Hanna

    Regarding the “original intent” of “cruel and unusual punishment”, I found a court-ordered flogging in this country as late as 1936. I’m not sure when flogging came to be considered “cruel and unusual” but it was sometime in the nineteenth century.

    When they said that “no person shall be placed twice in jeopardy of life or limb” they meant that literally. In Samuel Pepys’ diary he talks of seeing a man throwing something at a judge, and remarks that he will probably lose his hand for it.

    (A famous quote from Pepys about judicial punishments: “I went out to Charing Cross, to see Major- general Harrison hanged, drawn, and quartered; which was done there, he looking as cheerful as any man could do in that condition. He was presently cut down, and his head and heart shown to the people, at which there was great shouts of joy.”)

  4. I don’t know how it works in other states, but here is how the Texas Constitution reads:

    “Sec. 1. FREEDOM AND SOVEREIGNTY OF STATE. Texas is a free and independent State, subject only to the Constitution of the United States, and the maintenance of our free institutions and the perpetuity of the Union depend upon the preservation of the right of local self-government, unimpaired to all the States.”
    “Sec. 6. FREEDOM OF WORSHIP. All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences. No man shall be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry against his consent. No human authority ought, in any case whatever, to control or interfere with the rights of conscience in matters of religion, and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious society or mode of worship. But it shall be the duty of the Legislature to pass such laws as may be necessary to protect equally every religious denomination in the peaceable enjoyment of its own mode of public worship.”
    “Sec. 7. APPROPRIATIONS FOR SECTARIAN PURPOSES. No money shall be appropriated, or drawn from the Treasury for the benefit of any sect, or religious society, theological or religious seminary; nor shall property belonging to the State be appropriated for any such purposes.”

    http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/SOTWDocs/CN/htm/CN.1.htm

    In this way, it would be illegal for Texas to have a theocracy– the Texas BOE be damned. Furthermore, if the BOE tries to turn Texas schools into places of theological indoctrination, the state will be required, by law, to defund our schools. Yeah. That ain’t gonna happen.

  5. Furthermore, if the BOE tries to turn Texas schools into places of theological indoctrination, the state will be required, by law, to defund our schools.

    Given the fond regard that the creonuts have for public edumacation, have you considered that that might be the game plan?

    Yeah. That ain’t gonna happen.

    Hope you’re registered to vote!

  6. LRA says:

    I don’t know how it works in other states, but here is how the Texas Constitution reads …

    Section 1 is something I haven’t seen elsewhere, but sections 6 and 7 are typical of what I’ve seen in other state constitutions. Yes, theocracy would be illegal in Texas. But it all depends on the judges, doesn’t it?

  7. @ Amadan– Heck ya! I’m registered. Also, Texas has a growing Democratic population and a shrinking Republican one (sorry Curmie!).

    @Curmie– Regarding Texas judges, see @ Amadan. (LOL!!!)