Righting America

A forum for scholarly conversation about Christianity, culture, and politics in the US
Taking Jesus Out of Christianity | Righting America

by William Trollinger

It may be the Christmas season, but at Answers in Genesis (AiG) fighting the culture war is a 24/7/365 operation.

See, for example, AiG’s gigantic Ark, which has been lit, not in Christmas colors, but in rainbow colors. As Ken Ham has explained, lighting the Ark in this way serves not only as a reminder of God’s promise not to repeat the drowning of all but eight human beings in a global flood, but also as encouragement for Christians “to take the rainbow back” from those who perversely understand it to be a sign of “freedom, love, pride, or the LGBTQ movement.” Of course, it is not going to end well for those who “wave rainbow-colored flags in defiance of God’s command and design for marriage.” As in the time of Noah, global judgment is again in the offing, but “this coming judgment won’t be with water but with fire.” (For more on what Ham and AiG have said about the fiery judgment awaiting defiant gays and lesbians and their supporters, see Righting America, 164-170.)

Besides reclaiming the rainbow, AiG has also been battling secularists who have been – according to AiG – very busy “taking Christ out of Christmas” and replacing it with “the religion of naturalism.” This anti-Christmas campaign has had such great success that Christ has even been removed from Christmas music, which now “focuses on Santa and presents.” In an effort to encourage Christians not to succumb to secularist “intolerance and prejudice,” AiG has even posted an article by attorneys from the Christian Law Association in which the authors assure Christians that “private religious speech, such as saying ‘Merry Christmas’ . . . is protected speech.”

Side note: We know very well that it could seem preposterous to folks outside of the AiG informational bubble that there are folks who fear they will be arrested for saying “Merry Christmas.” But it is worth keeping in mind that Ken Ham – along with other Christian Right leaders – has been saying for years that it is only a matter of time before Christianity is made illegal in the United States. Spend enough time in this alternative universe and it can begin to make sense that there exists some sort of secularist Gestapo rounding up folks who deign to say “Merry Christmas.”

But there is something profoundly ironic about AiG’s feverish concern over the alleged campaign to take Christ out of Christmas. And that is that in both the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter there is so very little Jesus. Oddly, one has to work hard to find references to Jesus in these two Christian tourist sites. Most striking, there is absolutely nothing in the museum or the Ark – 215,000 square feet in total space – about Jesus’ life or his teachings, nothing about  “how Jesus called us to love our neighbor, love even our enemy, make peace, turn the other cheek, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty.”

Ironic, indeed. AiG is quite obsessed with “secularists” taking Christ out of Christmas while simultaneously being quite comfortable with taking Jesus out of Christianity.  

Or perhaps it is not ironic in the least. It is Answers in Genesis, after all, and not Answers in the Gospels.