Righting America

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As the Christian Right Sees It, the LGBTQ Threat | Righting America

by William Trollinger

If one goes by what Answers in Genesis (AiG) CEO Ken Ham says on social media, he seems obsessed with the LGBTQ community.

Of course, Ham writes blog posts on how wonderful the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter are, how they are attracting remarkable numbers of visitors, and how they are a magnet for evangelical speakers and performers. Not surprisingly, he writes posts on the ways in which atheists and secularists and the “dishonest media” attack him and his ministries. And he spends much time detailing the ways in which “true Christians” are under siege in this culture.

But in the midst of all that, Ham has much to say about LGBTQ individuals and their relationship to Christianity and culture. Here, for example, is a sample of posts from the past year:

  1. July 4, 2016: “Anglican Bishops Urge Church to Rethink Homosexuality”
  2. July 17, 2016: “Ontario, Canada to Issue Male, Female, or X Drivers Licenses”
  3. July 27, 2016: “Transgender Restroom Case Headed to the Supreme Court”
  4. October 11, 2016: “New Rules Say Women’s Shelters Must Admit Men Who Identify as Women”
  5. December 3, 2016: “Kids’ Magazine to Feature Same-Sex Families”
  6. December 6, 2016: “Secular Intolerance Against Christian Fixer Upper TV Stars”, who oppose same-sex marriage
  7. December 20, 2016: “Rainbow Lights at the Ark”
  8. December 29, 2016: “Genesis-the Foundation of Christianity”, including “marriage . . . as one man for one woman,” humans are either male or female, and “the origin of clothing.” Regarding the latter, in Righting America we note that “Ham’s notion that ‘why we wear clothes’ is a major Christian doctrine is peculiar, to say the least. But this is a topic that clearly occupies his thinking.” (289n21)
  9. January 5, 2017: “UK Children’s Book Teaches Gender Diversity”
  10. January 16, 2017: “Who’s Poisoning the Rainbow?” (second post on page)
  11. March 22, 2017: “Banana Pancakes and the Blessing of Marriage”, which focuses on “attacks on the true family God ordained in Scripture.”
  12. March 28, 2017: “Study: Only 4% of Millennials Have a Biblical Worldview” , including the fact that “nearly two-thirds of those under 30” support same-sex marriage.”
  13. April 2, 2017: “Power Rangers Movie: It’s OK to Be That Way”, that is, LGBTQ.
  14. April 10, 2017: “Seventh Circuit Decides Sex Means Sexual Orientation”
  15. April 17, 2017: “Judge Grants Oregon Resident’s Request to be ‘Genderless'”
  16. May 26, 2017: “Are Christian Ministries ‘Hate Groups’ for Believing the Bible?”
  17. June 10, 2017: “New Law Allows Government to Seize Children If Parents Don’t Affirm Their ‘Gender Identity'”
  18. June 19, 2017: “New Bible App for ‘LGBTQ Christians’ Who Feel Excluded”
  19. June 24, 2017: “Rainbow Fries and Flags: A Sign of Our Secular Times”
  20. July 1, 2017: “Target Sees Consequences of Accommodating Sinful Behavior?”

All this on the necessity of Christians to resist LGBTQ rights, to reject the legitimacy of LGBTQ identities, and to understand the effort of LGBTQ individuals to assert their civil rights as an assault on the rights of Christians. All this, and yet nothing or virtually nothing from Ham and AiG on issues pertaining to poverty, refugees, income/wealth inequality, structural racism, and misogyny.

Interestingly, for all of Ham’s LGBTQ-obsession, Jesus said nary a word about homosexuality. But Jesus did have a lot to say about how Christians should live in the world, including this statement from Matthew 25:

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory . . . Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you? And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’

Wouldn’t it be remarkable if Ken Ham, AiG, and the Christian Right in general actually took the teachings of Jesus seriously?

But if the Christian Right took Jesus seriously, it wouldn’t be the Christian Right.

(Note: for two excellent books on fundamentalism, the Christian Right, and homosexuality, see: Bernadette Barton, Pray the Gay Away: The Extraordinary Lives of Bible Belt Gays; and Rebecca Barrett-Fox, God Hates: Westboro Baptist Church, American Nationalism, and the Religious Right. In Righting America we feature the visit of Barton’s Morehead State University class to the Creation Museum (164-165); Bill’s review of God Hates will appear in the September issue of the Journal of American History.)