by William Trollinger
If we had given Righting America an epitaph it probably would have been this stanza from Mary Gauthier’s “Mercy Now”:
“My church and my country could use a little mercy now.
As they sink into a poisoned pit it’s going to take forever to climb out,
They carry the weight of the faithful who follow them down.
I love my church and country; they could use some mercy now.”
Here in June 2016 it certainly does feel as if our church and country are sinking into a poisoned pit, with a Christian Right that is much more Right than it is Christian, with a Christian Right that is a very important constituency in a political party that will be nominating Donald Trump for president.
And in the end, this sinking into a poisoned pit is at the heart of Righting America at the Creation Museum. The Creation Museum and Answers in Genesis and the soon-to-open Ark Encounter are all about promoting a culture war politics that has precious little to do with either the Gospels or the American common good.
It took us a little while to realize that this is where our research was headed. But when it became clear that the museum and AiG were, first and foremost, Christian Right sites, we decided that we had to write for a broader public. That is to say, it became clear to us that this story mattered for all Americans, and we did not want to limit ourselves to a specialized scholarly audience. For the same reason, we did not want to limit ourselves to print, and thus we have established this website and (via Facebook) a social media presence.
A personal note: we wrote Righting America as Americans with strong faith commitments. In this regard, we have a word for the faithful. There is no need to follow Ken Ham and other Christian Right gurus into the poisoned pit of hateful culture war politics. Mercy is the name of the game. And we all need mercy now.