Righting America

A forum for scholarly conversation about Christianity, culture, and politics in the US
Ken Ham, Answers in Genesis, and the COVID-19 Pandemic | Righting America

by William Trollinger

Ken Ham. Image credit: John Foxe, 2012, via Wikimedia Commons.

As Rod Kennedy put it in the last post, the widespread adoption of young Earth creationism by American evangelicals is directly connected to the evangelical willingness to disregard scientific expertise in the face of the coronavirus. So it is that Solid Rock Church just north of Cincinnati continues to hold in-person worship services, with church members convinced that the “blood of Jesus” will protect them, and the pastor reassuring folks that none of his congregants is contagious, because he would know if anyone in his church was ill with the virus. 

That said, we can be grateful that Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis (AiG) are not (as far as I can tell) promoting coronavirus as a left-wing hoax. And at least for the time being they have shut the doors to the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter, although Ham is now complaining that – in the context of not knowing when they will reopen –  “every day now there seems to be a new surprise restriction on our freedoms.” (Thanks to Dan Phelps for pointing me to Ham’s Facebook post in this regard.)

So what is Ham saying about the COVID-19 crisis? To answer this question I have done a content analysis of the four substantive articles Ham has written on this topic over the past month. 

Given that one of the features of AiG articles is that they say the same things again and again, I am not surprised that in the approximately 7610 words Ham has written on the coronavirus, there are basically five different (and overlapping) themes: 

  1. Coronavirus is a Threat to the Financial Survival of AiG (but God and Donations will see this ministry through). (4506 words – 59.2%)
    • “So how does God get us through these Red Sea events? Through you, our faithful supporters. And perhaps God is calling you to be his instrument as we travel this unprecedented path of financial stress on this ministry. We would be so grateful. If you can assist us in sustaining the ministry at this difficult time, please send in a gift today or go to AnswersinGenesis.org/donate.” (Emphases in original.)
    • It seems there’s an analogy between the struggles we’ve had over the years and the battles the Israelites had when they were claiming the Promised Land. They had to battle Jericho and Ai. God had given them the land, but they still had to do the physical battle. It’s like the Christian life in general: we are pilgrims battling through this hostile world.”
  1. The Ongoing Persecution of AiG (1207 words – 16%)
    • As I pondered Herod’s opposition to Christianity, I thought of the many ‘Herods’ we’ve had to deal with over the years at Answers in Genesis (AiG). Herod obviously hated Christianity. But really, it was a hatred of God. In a way Herod, to me, represents the ‘broad way’ – those who love darkness rather than light (John 3:19). And those who seem to have an illogical obsession with going after anything that’s Christian. The world has always been opposed to the Christian message, Christian faith, and the church.”
    • Now over the years, those who oppose us (atheist groups, secular media, compromising Christians, including Christian academics, liberal church leaders, and so on) continue to level false accusations against us in various ways. They seek to do all they can to undermine our integrity, thinking they may stop the impact of the AiG ministry. But in reality, God has used this opposition to publicize the Creation Museum and AiG ministry even more.”
  1. Coronavirus is a Soulwinning Opportunity (1201 words – 15.8%)
    • Quoting Dr. Andrew Fabich: “’I’m convinced that this coronavirus outbreak is possibly the greatest outreach opportunity for the church worldwide. . . [Churches should] purchase as many personal hygiene products that are currently in high demand . . . Churches should stock up on these supplies for distribution to their local communities . . . Have someone creative and biblical write a tract for distribution to each person receiving the personal hygiene products. What a travesty to meet people’s physical needs and neglect to tell them about their most important spiritual need: a relationship with the Creator Redeemer Jesus Christ.”
    • Sadly, many people will consider their mortality and, when this threat is past, return to their normal lives, forgetting their brush with disease and death. Don’t let that be you! Death comes to ten out of ten people. The death rate from sin is 100%. And when you do, you will stand before God and face his judgment. But you don’t have to take the wrath (which we all deserve) for your sin – God is merciful and, in his mercy, sent his son, Jesus Christ, to die  in our – your – place.”
  1. America’s Great Sinfulness (373 words – 4.9%)
    • Now, I don’t believe God is finished with this nation! Yes, the sins of this country are a stench before the Lord. Sins such as the murder of 61 million babies in the womb through abortion; our perversion of sex, gender, and marriage through the sexual revolution of the 1960s and now in the current LGBTQ revolution; our expelling of God and his Word from public life in television, movies, K-12 schools, halls of government, etc.; the compromise seen in the church over the lies of evolution and millions of years; and many more. Oh how this nation needs to confess and repent of such sins before the Lord.”
  1. Coronavirus Has Had an Economic Impact on Staff and Supporters (326 words – 4.3%)
  1. Coronavirus Has Killed over 100,000 People across the Globe, and over 22,000 in the United States  (0 words – 0%)
  1. Coronavirus Has Wrought Immense Economic Misery across the Globe and in the United States (0 words – 0%)
  1. We as a Society Need to Care for the Suffering (0 words – 0%) (unless one counts Ham’s reference to the fact that some folks struggling financially may need to “fill out certain forms”).
  1. We as Christians Need to Care for the Suffering (0 words – 0%) (unless one counts the proposal to distribute personal hygiene products + fundamentalist tracts).

Given that the centerpiece of the AiG ministry is a gigantic tourist attraction that celebrates the survival of eight human beings while – according to AiG – as many as 20 billion human beings (including toddlers, infants, and the unborn) were drowned in a divine genocide, I am not surprised that Ham spends no time on the physical, economic, and emotional suffering wrought by the coronavirus – except insofar as it applies to AiG.

Appalled, but not surprised.