Ken Ham’s recent creation tour of the UK created an unprecedented media frenzy, which embroiled Answers in Genesis internationally. News of the controversy in Britain became an international headline! (See Ken Ham stirs up England)
A letter to the editor of the British Guardian newspaper from American professor Niall Shanks of East Tennessee State University in the USA declared:
‘If the experience in the US is anything to go by, this attempt by assorted Christian fundamentalist Taliban-wannabees to turn the clock of science back to the Middle Ages will not stop with biology.’
In the humanist furore that was directed against a British Christian school, AiG and Bible-believing Christians—even British Prime Minister Tony Blair became involved!
Here at AiG we decided that what happened can alert you to something very important for the future of Christian democracies. We believe this report is ‘must reading’ for every Christian who is concerned about the future of the Church and of reviving Biblical authority in their country. The events of the past few weeks are fascinating, yet very alarming!
Firestorm of debate
You know that the Church and Christian influence have waned significantly over the decades, but who would have guessed that a speaking tour would lead to such a national firestorm of debate! The Lord has given our UK AiG ministry unprecedented publicity, and the majority of the British population has now heard about the recent creation/evolution controversy there. Here’s how the controversy erupted.
On the first day of a Creation Conference in Leicester, BBC radio interviewed Ken Ham and AiG-UK CEO, Dr Monty White. The first question the reporter asked was a surprise: ‘Mr. Ham, were you shocked that your visit has sparked a controversy that reached the House of Commons?’ The reporter was referring to an earlier meeting, where a creation group in Newcastle, northern England, had rented a school auditorium in nearby Gateshead and invited AiG to run a seminar. This one meeting created headlines which would last for weeks and give unprecedented publicity for the creation/evolution issue in the UK!
Here are just a few of those headlines from world-renowned British newspapers (The Guardian, Times, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph, Observer, Independent, Scotsman, Sunday Sun):
- US Creationists on mission to Britain
- PM backs creationism on schools’ curriculum
- In the beginning was the word … happiness
- Blair creates little happiness in the House
- PM sparks row over creationism
- Young Earth Creationists teach bad science and worse religion
- Our Father which art in Gateshead
- God knows what Professor Dawkins is talking about
- Creationist talk enrages scientists
- Bishop calls for new check on Creation school
- An unholy row
- Storm over teaching of creationism at school
- Can religion and science ever be compatible in education?
- Evolution is God’s method of creation
- Academic criticizes creationist school
- Intolerance—Why do the chattering classes despise religion?
- Retreat into the cocoon of fundamentalist religion
Not only this, but leading international evolutionists such as Professor Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, Professor Steve Jones from London University, and vocal humanist (i.e. atheist) groups also became very publicly involved.
So how did a seminar at a rented school auditorium spark all this? We’ll let the anti-creationist newsletter of the British Humanist Association (of which Richard Dawkins is Vice President) share part of the story:
‘This weekend, a creationist conference is taking place at City Technology College Emmanuel College in Gateshead. The conference includes Ken Ham, the Australian creationist living in the United States and involved in having a creationist museum built in the state of Kentucky.’
Another newspaper reported:
‘The creationist lobby has become increasingly notorious in the US, but until recently it has been relatively weak in Europe. The Anglican and Catholic hierarchies have accepted evolution as fact, with the Pope saying [evolution] was ‘more than just a hypothesis’.
Most of the articles, editorials and letters to the editor that appeared in various papers vehemently attacked those who take Genesis literally, and mocked Bible-believing Christians. The strong anti-Christian sentiment surprised many Bible-believing churches, whose pastors and members had not fully realized to what extent their society had not just rejected Christianity, but was passionately against it. Unfortunately, this attitude exists in many countries. In recent years AiG has been required to defend itself from many fraudulent and incredible accusations on the basis of our Christian beliefs.
Here is some more background to the anti-Christian rhetoric that exploded after the ‘incident at Gateshead’. The school mentioned happened to be one of the ‘faith schools’ set up by a previous British government and is part funded by a Christian group, who also have a say in the school’s educational philosophy. This happens at other schools, too. As one newspaper reported:
‘Ibrahim Hewitt, of the Association of Muslim Schools, said his members’ schools (including six state-funded ones), taught children about Darwin, because they had to, but they also taught a different, Koranic view.’
[i.e. from the Koran]. (Note—has there been any furore across Britain because some of these schools teach children Islamic doctrine? Absolutely not, but if it’s Christian instruction … !)
After seeing an announcement about our Gateshead meeting on the AiG Web site, a critic emailed the principal, asking if this was the type of program he should hold at the school. The principal replied that the meeting was a private function, with the auditorium being only rented. The critic then asked whether it was appropriate for creation to be taught in school. The principal replied that creation was taught to some of the students as an alternative to evolution, noting that the school does follow the National Curriculum, including teaching about evolution.
This critic then sent the principal’s response to evolutionist Richard Dawkins and to humanist groups across Britain. A nationwide uproar ensued, all because prominent humanists like Dawkins found out that one school in the nation, which taught students evolution (according to the curriculum), also let some of the students hear about the possibility of creation! Remarkable!
Dawkins was quoted in a newspaper report as being ‘incensed at the idea of creationism being taught to children at the taxpayers’ expense.’ In all of the articles and reports that appeared, absolutely no evidence for evolution was ever given—but there was certainly no lack of attacks on Bible-believing Christians.
Christians ‘committing a crime’?
As if it were a heinous crime for Christians to influence education in any way, one report stated:
‘Fundamentalist Christians who do not believe in evolution have taken control of a state-funded secondary school in England. In a development which will astonish many British parents, creationist teachers at the city technology college in Gateshead are undermining the scientific teaching of biology in favour of persuading pupils of the literal truth of the Bible.’
The Independent on Sunday reported:
‘Last week scientists, humanists, philosophers and church liberals joined forces to denounce the Emmanuel City Technology College in Gateshead. The school, which is backed by evangelical Christians … has presented creationist theories to children as part of their science lessons.’
What a crime! Some students actually heard about creation! ‘This has to be stopped,’ they argued! The commotion reached the British Parliament, with Prime Minister Tony Blair being asked about the school during Question Time.
The ‘problem’ for the critics, though, was that this school has achieved some of the highest ‘pass rates’ for the National Curriculum exams in the UK, and has been rated by the government’s examining body for schools (‘Ofsted’) as excellent. A newspaper reported:
‘Tony Blair yesterday defended the college at Prime Minister’s questions, saying that it was achieving ‘very good’ results. The government has designated Emmanuel a beacon school.’
Dawkins and other anti-creationists requested that the government re-examine the school, now that it was known that some students hear about creation—despite the fact that tests showed the students were some of the best in the nation. BBC News reported, for example:
‘Professor Dawkins says the schools’ inspectors, Ofsted, who gave Emmanuel College a glowing report, could not have understood the school’s approach to science and should re-inspect.’
British Prime Minister criticized
Prime Minister Blair was roundly criticized for defending the school. The humanists and evolutionary scientists (and even certain church leaders) didn’t care about the test results—achievement has nothing to do with it, you see. In their opinion, students shouldn’t hear about creation at all.
A reporter in the Times stated: ‘If Tony Blair was a creationist then the right response was clear: he should have said so, and resigned at once.’ In other words, you can’t be a creationist and Prime Minister at the same time—a big no-no! (We don’t know Mr Blair’s beliefs on creation.)
The Times article continued:
‘So long as the antibodies of common sense are all around (as in Britain they are) early exposure to religion can provide a sort of inoculation, and I would personally encourage bands of hooded nuns, creepy evangelists, bearded rabbis and one-eyed imams to tour our primary schools wailing incantations and scaring the wits out of kids as a living demonstration of the madness of religion.’
A reporter in the Guardian stated:
‘The creation myths are based on nothing but the fantasies of the ignorant who lived long ago … . To tell our children that ancient traditions, the dreams of our uneducated forefathers, and holy writings which must not be questioned or impugned for fear of blasphemy, are sources of authority about the world on a par with science, is a travesty.’
Dawkins stated to the press:
‘Any science teacher who denies that the world is billions (or even millions) of years old is teaching children a preposterous, mind-shrinking falsehood. These men disgrace the honourable profession of teacher.’
Church leaders side with the Humanists!
Church leaders also became involved. The Bishop of Oxford was heard on radio and quoted in the newspapers with statements such as:
‘This attempt to see the Book of Genesis as a rival to scientific truth stops people taking the Bible seriously. Biblical literalism brings not only the Bible but Christianity itself into disrepute.’
Wake up, Bishop, sir! People throughout the world have stopped taking the Bible seriously because of compromise like yours, and look at the state we are in!
The Rev. Arthur Peacock, the recent panentheistic winner of the $1-million Templeton Prize for progress in religion, commented, ‘Creationism is bad religion and false science.’
A teachers’ union spokesperson, commenting on the test results for students at the Gateshead school, declared: ‘What’s the point of having better educated bigots?’
An enraged British teacher sent Ken Ham this email:
‘Keep your lies and nonsense away from the UK. … In the very near future, historians will look back at your movement and cringe with embarrassment. How could a country that put men on the moon throw everything out of the window? The day I am forced to teach the bilge you spout is the day I quit.’
We could share many more eye-opening quotes, but their common thread? Vehement anti-Christian rhetoric. Why? One insightful commentator in the Daily Mail stated:
‘Emmanuel is a non-denominational Christian school [actually a ‘faith school’] run by evangelical Christians [not all the teachers are Christians, by the way]. This causes a frisson of alarm in those who—especially since September 11—think that faith schools are recruiting grounds for bigotry. …
This has created a climate of hysteria which has engulfed the Government’s plans to raise the number of faith schools, which it wants to encourage on the not unreasonable grounds that they are generally very successful and popular with parents. …
‘The attack on Emmanuel reveals an alarming intolerance. For what exactly has the school done to attract such opprobrium? It merely teaches creationism, the Biblical story that the world was created in six days—which some evangelicals interpret metaphorically—in its Religious Education classes. …’
Friends, this should be a warning to us of things to come for the Church in your country. The fact that leading humanists found out that one school in the UK—partly funded by the Government—allowed some students to hear about creation, exposed an extreme intolerance toward Christianity!
A nation that was the home of Wesley, Whitefield, Bunyan and Spurgeon; a country that once taught the Bible in its schools and universities; a nation that was once pervaded by Christian principles—now has all but lost its Christian foundation.
Why? Because the Church by and large has compromised with evolutionary beliefs, including the idea of millions of years. The Bible has lost its authority in the minds of most people. The humanists recognize that to allow creation as a possible teaching option in schools is to undermine the very foundation of the humanist religion that has now deeply infested Britain and the world.
Answers in Genesis—a unique ministry
Not many ministries these days provoke such emotional responses. (Frankly, we don’t know of any other ministry that experiences this.) This just reinforces our previous claims that the issue of the reliability of the book of Genesis (and the creation/evolution topic)—the authority of the entire Word of God from the very first book—is where the real battle for Christianity is ‘at’ in today’s world. Please pray for AiG as never before. ‘For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ’ (2 Cor. 10:4–5).
Fight the good fight
There is a huge intolerance of Christianity in our society today, as shown by what happened in the UK during Ken Ham’s visit there. All this shows that AiG’s Bible-upholding ministry is truly at the front line and in the trenches of an enormous war for the hearts and minds of people. We need your prayers more than ever. There is an enormous spiritual battle going on.
If God’s people, including our Christian leaders, don’t start reclaiming the ground lost to humanists and begin standing firmly on the authority of the Word—from the beginning in Genesis—Christianity will be well on the way to being all but outlawed in our once very-Christianised Western world.