Creationist Wisdom #453: The Preacher’s Solution

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Northfield News of Northfield, Minnesota. The letter is titled: Not all change is for the best.

We don’t like to embarrass people (unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures), so we usually omit the writer’s full name and city. But there’s no problem with this one. The letter-writer is Rev. Steve Lagoon, senior pastor of the Randolph Baptist Church. We’ll give you a few excerpts from the rev’s letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

I was thinking recently about the changes occurring in our culture. There is no doubt that our culture is in the midst of a major transformation and changes are happening faster than we can keep up with. … We rejoice when a generation rises up to make changes that advance human rights and improve life for all our citizens. …

But not all change is good. The biggest change happening in the West is that we are moving away from a culture saturated with and built upon a Judeo-Christian foundation to one based essentially on no foundation at all.

Egad — without the rev’s religion, our society has no foundation at all! That’s a nightmare! Well, it’s the nightmare of someone who knows nothing about Western Civilization. What else does the rev have to tell us? He says:

From the time of America’s independence through the twentieth century, there was an advance of human rights because the pillar of our society was the Bible, and by following the light of the Bible, men were able to increasingly see the evils in our society and work to overcome them. Men and women read the Bible and then gazed up at their own society and saw the evils that needed to be eradicated.

Isn’t it odd that Europe knew nothing but the bible for a thousand years, but life in those days was ghastly. How is that possible? Was there something else that made America possible? Hint — the Enlightenment. Let’s read on:

Great advances for human rights in America were led by Christians. They worked tirelessly for abolition and against all forms of racism. Christian women fought against abolition [BWAHAHAHAHAHA!] and then naturally turned their attention for their own rights of suffrage. They fought the scourge of alcoholism which was so destructive in families of the nineteenth century.

Assuming the rev meant to say that they fought against slavery (although many fought for it) we still have problems with the rev’s claims. The greatest advance of human rights in history was brought about by the American Revolution and the Constitution. Clergymen were not prominent in either of those events. The abolition of alcohol was a catastrophe, but it’s a good lesson about what happens when people motivated solely by religion try to make laws for everyone else. As for racism, it’s well known that there were clergy on both sides of that one. The rev isn’t doing very well so far. His letter continues:

Likewise, movements to end child labor and improve worker’s rights were also fought by those whose hearts were ablaze with biblical principles.

We’ll get some criticism on this one, but much of the American labor movement was led by socialists — not exactly a religious movement. We’re well aware that there were exceptions, like Walter Reuther. The labor movement is too big a topic to deal with here. All we’ll say is that the labor movement was not primarily a religious phenomenon. Here’s more:

But another movement arose in America — Secular humanism. Supernaturalism was rejected, God was shoved to the side, and man became the measure of all things. Evolution and Naturalism replaced Genesis as the new origins story. The morality of the Bible was rejected for moral relativism.

Ah, now we’re getting to the good stuff. Moving along:

We have rejected the Bible’s respect for the sanctity of life and consequently have seen millions of American Babies killed within their mother’s wombs. We have rejected God’s standards of morality and have instead the scourges of STD’s and unwanted pregnancies. Rejecting God’s call to commitment in marriage, adultery is rampant as is divorce; never mind the tragic impact on our children.

Yes, and it’s all Darwin’s fault! None of those things existed before his damnable theory became popular. We’ll skip the rev’s paragraph about gay marriage, and the next one about Nietzsche. Here’s the end of his letter:

We will find that we will not be able to build enough prisons to contain the anarchy we have created. We shall find our institutions crumbling when our police, judges, business men, and the like have become corrupted by the new morality. No, not all change is good. How much better to stand with God and the principles that made America great!

We’re heard that before, and we addressed much of it in Is America a “Christian Nation”? The rev misses what he imagines were the good old days — when someone like him would be a man with influence. Sorry, rev, but we don’t think you have the answers. We’re not delighted with everything that’s going on either, but your “solution” of returning us to the Dark Ages would be a far worse than anything we’re facing now.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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30 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #453: The Preacher’s Solution

  1. Great advances for human rights in America were led by Christians.

    Perhaps, but even greater resistence to human rights in America were/are driven by christians intent on denying those very human rights to so many people, and those efforts in this regard are increasing even today.

  2. Likewise, movements to end child labor and improve worker’s rights were also fought by those whose hearts were ablaze with biblical principles.
    I don’t recall anything in the Bible about child labor.

  3. TomS says: “I don’t recall anything in the Bible about child labor.”

    And I don’t recall anything about abolishing slavery or alcohol. Or about women’s suffrage.

  4. Richard Hughes has written a great book about the myth of a Christian America. And if you would like to read a very disturbing story about the Christian America that many slaves faced, read Dan Silliman’s post about Same Hose:
    http://danielsilliman.blogspot.com/2014/07/sam-hoses-christian-america.html

  5. “We have rejected the Bible’s respect for the sanctity of life”

    When has any religion hesitated when it was deemed to be time to spill blood?

  6. Charles Deetz ;)

    So we’ve all heard this line of BS before. But how can we respond? Its one thing to mock creationists who believe in a harmless tale, but this guy creeps me out, especially after reading about Sam Hose. The pastor sees the world today as wrong, and he has the only solution. Arrogant and paranoid is a dangerous mix. We need a wake up call for this nutter, and a debate between Nye and Ham isn’t going to do it.

  7. We have rejected God’s standards of morality and have instead the scourges of STD’s and unwanted pregnancies. Rejecting God’s call to commitment in marriage, adultery is rampant as is divorce

    All those problems are worse in the Bible Belt. Lots of STDs, drug use and teen pregnancies in the Bible Belt. The Barna group showed divorce rates are higher among evangelical Christians than among atheists.

  8. I’m still p.o.’d about the guy that killed the giraffe. It’s taken 4 million years to evolve man into a creature that cant see that a 20 ft tall animal wont make it under a 15 ft high bridge going 60 mph in an open top trailer??!!! If there ever was a god or an ID he’s long ago abandoned us to our own stupidity.

  9. The bible’s respect for the dignity of life? How ’bout when god killed virtually every man, woman, child, fetus, and gerbil on earth because he was angry at himself for so incompetently creating little images of himself so they could run around sinning.
    Enter Hambo to figure out a way to turn god’s incompetence and barbarity into a way to squeeze money out of the drooling hillbillies.

  10. After all these years – and I’m embarrassed to admit that it took so long –
    it struck me that “the Bible says” has nothing about what the Bible says – all it is, is a way of saying “this is what I like (or dislike)”. I wondered, for example, that Bible found so much “strength” (or whatever) in reading the Bible – after all, so much of it is simply boring – details of the temple, forgettable kings – and when it gets about to telling an interesting story, is not uplifting or inspiring. Not to mention the bloody parts. It took this particular letter to make it plain to me that people, when they are talking about “the Bible”, it is not something that they read – even in those few cases when their eyes are scanning the text, and words are being discerned – it’s just the idea of an ideal book that tells them what they want to hear. It is evocative of certain feelings, no matter what the “plain words” (let alone a deeper understanding) are saying.
    It reminds me mostly of “comfort foods” – which, if you really thought about them, are not all that good tasting (not to mention good for you).

  11. We have rejected God’s standards of morality and have instead the scourges of STD’s and unwanted pregnancies.

    Really? You think maybe the fact that the religious right in this country has so effectively fought any meaningful form of sex education in this country has anything at all to do with it?

  12. SC corrects Revver Steve Lagoon’s naïveté—

    “The greatest advance of human rights in history was brought about by the American Revolution and the Constitution. Clergymen were not prominent in either of those events.”

    Certainly, but as you know, when it comes to promoting their wisdom, facts have only ever presented a minor nuisance standing in clergymen’s way. Facts are infinitely malleable when beaten and forged with a supernatural hammer on the anvil of religious imperatives — and our Revver Steve Lagoon is clearly an apprentice blacksmith.

    Invariably, the topic of abortion somehow always makes an appearance in this arena, presumably as the acme of modern man’s profligate evil. It’s never mentioned that the number of human zygotes and foetuses aborted “naturally” by miscarriage is greater by an order of magnitude or two, so that if Ol’ Grandy is in charge of stuff, his reverence for human life is a bit obscure.

    Whenever I read one of these infantile laments about how the world is going to hell owing to a gradual migration towards secular and enlightenment values, I see the light at the end of the long, dark tunnel grow a little brighter. Perhaps too optimistically, I can’t help viewing such epistles as the early death throes of unreason.

  13. “We will find that we will not be able to build enough prisons to contain the anarchy we have created.” It gives me no pleasure to point out that the US, by far the most godly among economically advanced nations, also has by far the highest rate of imprisonment.

  14. Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this.
    Ecclesiastes 7:10

  15. Pete Moulton

    Hey, guys, cut the revver some slack, willya. He’s just another conman trying to ensure his income.

  16. Your comment that the American union movement was “led by socialists” is partly true. The labor union was lead by collectivists of all stripes (basically “we the people”). But when unionist’s efforts to collectivise were met with violence (economic reprisals (firing, wage reductions, and thugs, baseball bats, guns, the National Guard, etc.) they became radicalized and socialists and communists were folded into the mix.

    A great deal of the New Deal was brokered with the “titans of industry” because Franklin Roosevelt basically threatened them with the Socialist and Communist parties which were growing in strength because of the people’s dissatisfaction with the aftermath of the Great Depression. This threat was perceived as real to the extent that both political parties were obliterated after WWII by conservative forces. Once they were gone, unions were open to continued attacks by conservatives to their present very weak configuration. The fact that this did not happen in Canada, shows that this did not have to happen this way and there is plenty of documentation of the events/processes mentioned.

  17. “The greatest advance of human rights in history was brought about by the American Revolution and the Constitution.”
    Still it did not bring abolition of slavery. The French Revolution – with all its problems – had the honour to do it first. Napoleon – with christian permission – introduced slavery again.

    “We will find that we will not be able to build enough prisons to contain the anarchy we have created.”
    Can somebody ask Rev. Lagoon why Norway has so much less prisons relatively?
    As for abortion – can somebody tell the Rev. that abortion rates in countries where it’s legal are about three times as low as in the good christian state of Louisiana, where it’s prohibited?
    It works in the USA as well:

    http://awaypoint.wordpress.com/2014/07/25/dazed-and-confused-the-case-for-comprehensive-sexual-education/

    As lon as Rev. Lagoon doesn’t advocate this he effectively supports a rise of abortion rates.

  18. We will find that we will not be able to build enough prisons to contain the anarchy we have created.

    I can’t quite decide whether that’s supposed to be a warning of what Darwinism will lead to or a complaint that once the godly take over they’ll have a hard time building enough concentration camps to hold the rest of us.

  19. Dave Luckett

    No offence, but the American Constitution, admirable document as it is, is a recognition of ideas that had been around for centuries in the English-speaking world, and which had their origin in the gradual institution of the Common Law and the limitation on the Monarchy that had become effective long before Charles I ever lost his head over it.

    The Common Law’s basic principle is that it is immemorial, arising from the people, an expression of the rights and duties of a free man in a community of his peers, and NOT the imposition of a King nor even of a Deity. It resisted attacks for centuries, ironically most of them coming from a King supported by a Church that wanted absolutism because absolutism gave control. Yes, the Common Law’s ultimate expression is found in the Declaration of Independence – but the principle was as Hordle John remarked – that there are laws and rights that may not be transgressed by King or Pope, or it is time for buying arrowheads.

    The Rev’s fool notion that that idea came from reading the Bible is of course complete nonsense, borne out of pitiful ignorance.

  20. Mark Joseph

    Rev. Clown is wrong about everything. If he’d read Susan Jacoby’s Freethinkers, he’d know that the abolition and women’s suffrage movements were led by non-believers.

  21. This has been the slowest news day in the history of the universe. I can’t find anything to blog about. But I’m still here.

  22. That happens if you’re on the winning side of the Controversy, dear SC …..

  23. Having lived in Northfield for a year, and visiting often before and since, the Rev’s writing just didn’t sound to my ear to be in step with Northfield, which is quite a progressive little town, being home to two colleges (St. Olaf and Carleton), both top-notch liberal arts schools.

    Turns out that Randolph Baptist Church is not in Northfield, but instead is in the tiny farm community of Randolph, about 15 miles give or take outside of Northfield. If you look up Randolph Baptist Church on Google Maps, it locates the “church” in what looks like someone’s garage. Must be a very small congregation.

    BTW, the Northfield News is a free, twice-weekly advertising circular that really has to scratch for any content. My impression is they will print whatever comes in. I’m sure the Rev’s ruminations caused much cringing — if anyone bothered to read it.


  24. This has been the slowest news day in the history of the universe. I can’t find anything to blog about. But I’m still here.

    Then that will have to be enough to get us through the day.

  25. @TomS Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this.
    Ecclesiastes 7:10

    Bravo! Indeed, Bravo!

  26. Bob Carroll

    Curmy, “women’s suffrage?” Is there any mention in the bible of men’s suffrage, either?

  27. Men’s suffering, perhaps; and according to the Bible, due to a woman. Starting with Eve, the Bible doesn’t treat women all that well.

  28. Slightly tangential to topic here, but a BBC news story of interest: The stigma of being an atheist in the US

  29. Such articles make me feel very privileged I’m Dutch, Mega. I never had to come out simply because there never was a reason to remain hidded. It’s nothing to make a fuzz about.