by William Trollinger
In the end, it is all about protecting the children.
The mission of Answers in Genesis [AiG] is to provide churches, schools, and families with a host of resources designed to provide youth with “a suit of armor that will ensure complete protection from the enemy, including an extraordinarily thick helmet that will render the mind impervious to dangerous ideas.” So it is that,
thanks to AiG, parents can take their children to the Creation Museum [and now, Ark Encounter] and watch Christian Right DVDs with them at home; they can homeschool their children with AiG curricula or send them to Christian schools that use the same materials; they can take their children to fundamentalist churches where they hear young Earth creationism preached from the pulpit and where they are taught from AiG curricula in Sunday School. (Righting America 208-209)
Encased in the hermetically sealed world of fundamentalist home-church-school, the children are safe. But at some point some of them will leave home and head off to college. How can parents ensure they will be safe, especially given that – according to AiG and Ken Ham – many or most Christian colleges have abandoned their commitment to biblical authority?
Again, AiG is there to help. The organization has developed a list of “Creation Colleges” – 38 colleges, 17 seminaries, and 12 Bible institutes – whose “presidents have affirmed in writing their personal agreement with the Tenets of Creation,” which include the propositions that the universe is less than 10,000 years old and that a global Flood produced the geological strata.
AiG has deemed that all of these schools are safe havens for the children of Bible-believing parents, or more accurately, potentially safe havens, as there is always the possibility of a rogue professor who suggests that the universe is billions of years old or that Genesis is not “literal history.” But among these “Creation Colleges,”
AiG lavishes the most love and attention on Cedarville University . . . so much so that one could legitimately think of Cedarville as Answers in Genesis U. (Righting America 210)
The ties between AiG and Cedarville are very tight:
- Cedarville has not only hosted a number of young Earth creationism conferences on campus (conferences that feature AiG representatives), but it has also sponsored a variety of events at the museum, including the 2014 Creation 4 Conference.
- In 2015 the “Cedarville University Mining Company Sluice” exhibit opened at the museum, where “adults and kids of all ages can enjoy an interactive mining experience.”
- Not only does Cedarville offer a major in young Earth creationist geology, but the leader of that program – Dr. John Whitmore – leads AiG-sponsored raft trips through the Grand Canyon.
- Ken Ham speaks frequently at Cedarville, and in fact – as we note in Righting America – “clearly enjoy[s] something akin to celebrity status.”
- The most recent Cedarville Magazine features articles by Ham (“Six-Day Creation: Why It’s Important to Higher Education”) and AiG’s Georgia Purdom (“Mutations: Evolution’s Disappointment”).
In his blog post heralding the publication of these articles, Ham proclaims that while “very few Christian colleges today will take an uncompromising stand on creation and the age of the earth,” Cedarville University “boldly and unashamedly stand[s] on the authority of God’s Word.” That is to say, Ham and AiG provide the imprimatur that Cedarville is, indeed, a safe haven for fundamentalist youth.
But of course, to be “the sort of school that could legitimately claim the label ‘Answers in Genesis U’ requires constant vigilance to ensure that faculty and administration do not stray from the Truth” (Righting America 212). Hence Cedarville must engage in periodic acts of purification. Hence in 2012-2013 dozens of faculty and staff had to be forced out, including virtually the entire Biblical and Theological Studies Department. Hence this spring the university implemented a “Biblically Consistent Curriculum Policy,” in the process warning faculty that they are responsible “before God and the administration” for their choice of assigned materials.
It takes a lot of work to protect youth from dangerous ideas. Faculty have to be watched. Faculty have to be reminded they are being watched. Faculty have to be fired. Whatever it takes.