by Susan Trollinger and William Trollinger
This weekend, Susan Trollinger and William Trollinger will be speaking at the convention of the American Atheists in Charleston, South Carolina. Their topic is how the Creation Museum presents itself as a museum, how it mobilizes science, and how it employs a rhetoric of damnation.
The invitation to speak came a year ago from Pam Whissel, who is the organization’s membership director and editor of American Atheist magazine. To their surprise (small world!), Ms. Whissel is a University of Dayton alumna. She graduated from UD with a degree in English in 1988.
Interestingly, the American Atheists claim on their website that they are “committed to the absolute separation of religion and government.” While phrased a bit differently, that commitment is not altogether different from the commitment that many Christians of the 16th and 17th centuries died for.
They were convicted by the idea that a Christian cannot truly follow Jesus and swear allegiance to the state. According to their reasoning, to follow Jesus is to love one’s enemy. To swear allegiance to the state is to agree (wittingly or unwittingly) to go to war to kill the enemy if the state demands it. These courageous Christians suffered persecution (often to the point of execution) for their radical Christian beliefs. Their stories can be found in The Martyrs Mirror.
How interesting that the convictions of the American Atheists appear to intersect with those of deeply convicted Christians of the 16th and 17th centuries. It turns out that some descendants of those radical Christians live right here in the USA. You’ll find them riding in horse-drawn buggies—in Amish Country. Small world, indeed.