Righting America

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Top 10 Posts of 2023 on rightingamerica | Righting America

by William Trollinger

Image of student protesters at Cedarville University. Photo by Emilie Schulze.

It was another good year for rightingamerica, both in the variety of authors’ voices and topics, and in the number and variety of viewers. Below are the top ten read posts of 2023, with quotes from each of the posts. Enjoy reading (or re-reading!)! 

10. “Yikes! Creationist ‘Scholar’ Attacks RightingAmerica” by William Trollinger (July 11, 2023).

Jerry, “there are 1 or 2 (ok, more like 9+ ) serious weaknesses/inaccuracies/falsehoods in your article that I must call to your attention . . . If [your attack on rightingamerica], ‘Creationists Slandered About the Darwin-Nazi Connection,’ were a paper written by a University of Dayton student in one of my first-year classes, I would have written this at the bottom of the paper: Failure to provide evidence to back your claims, and a dismaying tendency to resort to ad hominem attacks. This is not acceptable for a university-level paper. Revise and resubmit. You have until the end of fall semester to make these revisions.”

9. “The Fundamentalist Pro-Life Solution: Execute the (Bad) Women” by William Trollinger (February 6, 2023).

“Let me see if I have this right. As [Mark] Looy, [Ken] Ham, and AiG see it, women who have an abortion should be executed. But God will forgive them for their abortion, presumably if they repent while sitting in their cell on Death Row, or strapped onto the gurney in the execution chamber. So is the idea that they will be executed, but they will still have a chance to go to heaven? Is that the mercy and forgiveness that the Creation Museum is referring to? . . . Execute the bad women. Lots of them. All of them. It’s the final fundamentalist pro-life solution.”

8. “The Unholy Trinity in Fundamentalist Parenting: A Rhetorical Analysis” by Camille Kaminski Lewis (June 27, 2023).

“Another (unidentified) woman chimes in . . . describes her recent difficulty with her four-year-old child. She had hit him so much in one day that he was “black and blue.” . . .  At the end of the day in her example, the mother “went to give [her son] a hug,” and the little preschooler repeated to his mother, “and God doesn’t love me, right?” She actually said “yes” – that God didn’t love the child because of his behavior – and continued, “Your sin will always keep you away from God just like it keeps you away from Mommy and Daddy. . . . This is terrifying.”

7. “Megachurch forces all members to sign anti-LGBTQ+ statement, or be removed from membership” by Rodney Kennedy (February 28, 2023).

“As regards their current anti-LGBTQ+ statement, the pastor and the church members should not expect that their current statement is going to hold back the righteousness of God and the mercy of God and the love of God for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual, and queer persons. If FBC Jacksonville persists in this anti-God, anti-Gospel, anti-empathy, anti-human stance, they should sign a contract to build an ark. Because the flood of righteousness, mercy, and justice will ultimately sweep them away.”

6. “Quantity over Quality: Creationist Copia at the Discovery Center for Creation and Earth History” by Emma Frances Bloomfield (August 8, 2023).

“What struck me at the Discovery Center was the near complete reliance on museumgoers’ sensory experiences as the primary evidence for the truth of creationism. Museumgoers are encouraged to agree with ICR (Institute for Creation Research) that creationism deserves space in contemporary scientific discussions due to the copia of evidence in terms of intensity and salience and the quantity of sensory information, which is deployed to rotate, immerse, and interrupt museumgoers’ experiences of the space.”

5. “Dear Williamstown: Sorry for Misleading You on Ark Encounter – My Bad!” by William Trollinger (September 23, 2023).

“I want to own the fact that what we told you in our feasibility report was, well, false. Sorry about that! Speaking of blaming the victim, I am also sorry for saying that the reason Williamstown has not enjoyed an economic boom is that Williamstown is on the wrong side of the interstate. Of course, your town was on the wrong side of the interstate when we were selling you on underwriting the bonds, which was NOT a point we brought up during our sales pitch. Oh well, that’s capitalism . . . but again, sorry about that!”

4. “Like Father, Like Son: Jeffrey Dahmer’s Claims about Evolution in light of Lionel Dahmer’s Creationism” by Glenn Branch (December 26, 2023).

“Creationists are disturbingly fond of invoking Jeffrey Dahmer. To take a few examples at random: the creationist ministries Answers in Genesis and Creation Ministries International discuss Jeffrey in virtually identical terms, reflecting their common ancestry; a professor of philosophy at a fundamentalist university paraphrased [Dahmer] while participating in a three-way internecine creationist debate; and Jeffrey is credited by IMDB as appearing in “Kent Hovind: An Atheist’s Worst Nightmare,” a 2006 self-promoting film from a flamboyant creationist and convicted felon.”  

3. “Fragile White Evangelicals: Taylor University and the Firing of Julie Moore” by William Trollinger (May 4, 2023).

“Comments from the top administrators at Taylor University are (to understate the case) lame. But here’s the thing. They can get away with such responses because, in firing Julie Moore, they are signaling that Taylor will never be ‘woke,’ Taylor will be a ‘safe’ school for fragile white students, Taylor – the school that in 2019 brought in Mike Pence as commencement speaker – will continue to cater to their right-wing constituency. That is, firing a writing teacher who has her students deal with racial justice, well, that sells.”

2. “Not Even Close to What Was Projected: A Few Facts about Ark Encounter Attendance” by William Trollinger (January 30, 2023).

“Ark Encounter has never reached the 1.2 million which was estimated as the absolute lowest possible attendance in the first year, much less reached the median estimate of 1.6 million. And with every year the Ark sinks further and further behind the numbers included in the feasibility report. Numbers that convinced little Williamstown to issue $62m of junk bonds to get the Ark project started, and to agree that 75% of what Ark Encounter would have paid in property taxes would instead go to paying off the loan. What a sweet deal for the Ark. What a government subsidy.

1. “Yes, Dr. White, Your Cedarville Students Need Revival” by Alex Mattackal (February 17, 2023).

“Of course, it makes sense that a culture which demands that victims be silent can’t hear how they are affected by institutional policies. Purity culture is a suppression machine that grinds on, oiled by university policy. The Cedarville handbook expressly forbids sexual contact of any kind. There are dress codes in place; curfews; segregated dorm rooms – if something bad happened to you, you were doing something bad. Accordingly, if you report, you can’t be expelled, but you are subject to discipline of some kind.”