Righting America

A forum for scholarly conversation about Christianity, culture, and politics in the US
Whitewashing the Present | Righting America

by William Trollinger

In a recent blog post, “What ‘Race’ Are You?,” Ken Ham asserts that

God’s Word makes it clear that there is only one race – the human race. We are all one big family – all descendants of one man and woman, Adam and Eve . . . Think how much our culture would change if we started thinking with the firm foundation of God’s Word! There’s no room for hate, intolerance, or superiority for those who believe what the Bible says.

What a refreshing word from the CEO of Answers in Genesis (AiG)! Given the recent presidential campaign, which featured the Ku Klux Klan and other white nationalists aggressively promoting the candidacy of Donald Trump, and which featured the hiring of Steve Bannon – who bragged that his Breitbart News is “the platform for the alt-right” – as Trump’s chief strategist, the word from Ken Ham that racism is anti-biblical would seem to be a promising indication that at least the creationist corner of the Christian Right would fight back against racial hate and racist incidents.

But when one looks more closely at Ham’s post one notices something odd. Ham introduces the topic by noting that

So-called racial issues are continuing to heat up here in America. It seems that most nights when you watch the TV news there’s a report of violence caused by hate and intolerance toward those of a supposedly different race.

Who and what is Ham talking about? Is he referring to the reported post-election spike in hate crimes and racial intimidation? Is he referring to the Klan’s announcement of a rally in North Carolina to celebrate Trump’s victory? Or does he have in mind those who have resisted such incidents? Could he have been more vague?

When it comes to race, such vagueness is standard practice for Ham and AiG. While they make much of the “One Race – ‘One Blood’” display in the Creation Museum, when it comes down to actual matters of race in contemporary America they have nothing to say. Nothing to say about the 2013 Supreme Court decision gutting the Voting Rights Act. Nothing to say about the 2015 Confederate flag controversy. Nothing to say about the fact that the individual who donated “Ebenezer the Allosaur” to the museum is a neo-Confederate secessionist. Nothing to say about white nationalist groups and voter intimidation. Nothing to say about the persistence of institutional racism (Righting America, 179-191).

For all of the vague pronouncements about “one race – ‘one blood,’” the silence from Ham and AiG regarding actual examples of racism in contemporary America has been deafening. Whitewashing, indeed.