Righting America

A forum for scholarly conversation about Christianity, culture, and politics in the US
The Gospel According to Ken Ham: Chapter 1 | Righting America

by William Trollinger 

Ken Ham's Facebook post of the carousel at Ark Encounter in Kentucky
Screenshot of Ken Ham’s September 24, 2022 Facebook post featuring the carousel at Ark Encounter. Image via Facebook.

I did this painful work, so you don’t have to.

Over the past few months it became increasingly clear that, for me to adequately explain the religious, cultural, and political vision of Ken Ham and the organization he leads (Answers in Genesis, or AiG), I need to lay out something like a comprehensive picture of what he says. On a daily basis. 

And one way to do that is to report on what one finds in Ham’s Facebook posts. So I examined the 150 pieces that he published from September 13 to October 16, 2022. And over the next few weeks here on rightingamerica I will report on my findings.

A couple of caveats. First, Ham is constantly posting material all over social media, including on Twitter. That is to say, what I will be reporting here is just a peek into the flood of material he puts onto social media.

Second, and much more disturbing (thanks to Dan Phelps for alerting me to this), Ham also posts on various platforms that are very popular with right-wing extremists, including: 

  • Parler: A “social networking service associated with Donald Trump supporters, conservatives, conspiracy theorists, and far-right extremists. Posts on the service often contain far-right content, antisemitism, and conspiracy theories such as QAnon. . . . [Users include] members of the Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, and other militia groups; and white supremacists including members of the alt-right and far-right accelerationists such as the terrorist group Atomwaffen Division.”
  • MeWe: “Business Insider has reported that some of the most popular groups on MeWe focus on ‘extreme views, like anti-vaccine rhetoric, white supremacy, and conspiracy theories.”
  • Gettr: “Journalists reported extreme content on the [Gettr] platform was prevalent, including racism, antisemitism, and terrorist propaganda . . . [and the] white supremacist Proud Boys organization [has been] promoted on the platform.”
  • Gab: “A haven for neo-Nazis, racists, white supremacists, white nationalists, antisemites, the alt-right, supporters of Donald Trump, conservatives, right-libertarians, and believers in conspiracy theories such as QAnon. . . . Antisemitism is prominent in the site’s content and the company itself has engaged in antisemitic commentary. Gab CEO Andrew Torba has promoted the white genocide conspiracy theory.”

For my own sanity I have avoided visiting these sites. That said, please keep in mind that it seems quite likely that when Ham posts on, say, Gab, he is more candid and more extreme than when he posts on Facebook. And that’s saying something.

Anyway, in order of frequency, Ham’s 150 Facebook posts can be categorized as follows:

  1. Promotions for AiG events, exhibits, group visits, ads for Creation Museum and Ark Encounter, products to purchase, and the like. 46 posts
    • Comment: This is a good reminder that – while dedicated to fomenting the culture war and labeling those who disagree with them as demonic — AiG is also about making money by getting people to visit their tourist sites and to buy their products.
  2. Anti-abortion blasts, which sometimes include reference to the anti-abortion exhibit at the Creation Museum. 22 posts
  3. Christians are persecuted, the culture is anti-biblical, and adults and children need to be prepared to engage in culture war. 20 posts
    • Comment: As regards preparing children to serve as culture warriors, the 2023 AiG Vacation Bible School curriculum is designed to equip children with “armor to wear in this battle between truth and lies, light and darkness, good and evil.”
  4. Anti LGBTQ blasts, with a particular obsession with children being infected with the “LGBTQ ideology.” 13 posts
    • Comment: These blasts tend to focus on a shadowy “LGBTQ conspiracy” that has invaded school, church, and the popular culture. People who understand themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender have been brainwashed into thinking so.
  5. “Evidence” for young Earth creationism and a literal Bible. 13 posts
    • Comment: It is safe to say that anyone outside fundamentalist young Earth creationism would not find these “evidences” persuasive.
  6. “Evidence” against evolution and mainstream science. 7 posts.
    • Comment: See above.
  7. Scientific (Darwinian) racism. 5 posts.
    • Comment: These posts are all about promoting a 7 episode series produced by AiG which is designed to establish that modern racism is a product of Darwinian evolutionism. Guess whose sins are elided?
  8. Ark Encounter carousel: 4 posts.
  9. Fundamentalist apologetics: 3 posts.
    • Comment: Ken Ham and AiG have the Truth. Enough said.
  10. Christian organizations and leaders who compromise the Truth: 3 posts.
    • Comment: See above.
  11. Climate change denialism: 2 posts.
  12. Everything begins with the book of Genesis: 2 posts.
    • Comment: It’s Answers in Genesis, after all, and not Answers in the Gospels.
  13. The real haters are secularists. 1 post.
    • Comment: Guess whose sins are elided?
  14. A future AiG conference devoted to teaching women the proper response to suffering. 1 post.
    • Comment: Given the extreme patriarchy promoted by AiG in particular and fundamentalism in general, it’s not hard to imagine what the message will be.
  15. Proper family worship. 1 post.
    •  Comment: See above.
  16. A tribute to Queen Elizabeth. 1 post.
    • Comment: It is not surprising that this glowing tribute makes no reference to the horrors that accompanied the British Empire, given that fundamentalist textbooks – including those used at the AiG private school – present colonialism and imperialism as benign. 
  17. The story of one girl who wrote out the entire Bible, word for word. 1 post.
    • Comment: Why?

So here we have a snapshot of Ken Ham’s Gospel, a right-wing culture war gospel that – to understate the case – seems strikingly at odds with what one finds in the New Testament Gospels. And what’s missing from Ham’s Facebook posts is as significant as what is included:

  • Nothing on poverty, or America’s dreadfully inequitable health care system, or rising maternity death rates in the U.S. (all of which suggest that Ham’s anti-abortion stance is better described as “forced birth” rather than “pro-life”).
  • Nothing on America’s epidemic of gun violence.
  • Nothing on white supremacy, domestic terrorism, and antisemitism (of course, given the social media sites he posts on, this is no surprise).
  • Nothing on sexual and spousal abuse.
  • Nothing on the horrible effects of Hurricane Ian (of course, given Ham’s climate change denialism, this is no surprise).

Chapter 1, the Gospel According to Ken Ham. Chapter 2 is to come.