Over at The Friendly Atheist the other day they had a lively discussion about Ken Ham’s newest comments. Recently Ken Ham said that the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City, and Washington, D.C. which killed 2,977 individuals happened because of homosexuality. My blood pressure rose and this post is a result of what Ham said. This also explores why there is not a covenant between God and the United States like there is between God and Israel. Eagle is toying with the idea of establishing a “Go Fund Me” account to buy Ken Ham a one way plane ticket back to Australia in the wake of his comments about the origins of September 11.
***Note today’s post is not meant to discuss YEC. While I am an Old Earth Creationist I respect and encourage you to believe in YEC if you do so. My only beef is when YEC is made a primary issue and someone hinges 95% of a person’s faith on 5%. That is not healthy nor is that good. The church needs to learn how to have both the YEC and Old Earthers in the same tent. One of the guys who helped me in my faith crisis Scott Van Swernigan taught me this despite us being on differing sides of the issue. I respect Scott, and I love him. He modeled this issue well, and I believe this is a way forward, or should be a way forward in the evangelical Christian church. Today’s post is going to deal with what Ken Ham said about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. I want to be crystal clear that I am not critiquing, or criticizing YEC.***
“My son, firefighter Len Smith Jr., who was the sunshine of my life. He gave his life so that others could live. I love you, I miss you and we’ll meet again soon.”
Irene Smith whose son was a member of New York Fire Department Ladder Co 118
“What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met.”
David Levithan “Love is the Higher Law“
“We’re young men, we’re not ready to die.”
Kevin Cosgrove from the 105th floor of World Trade 2 before its collapse
Fair warning…a good portion of this post is going to be a rant. I read this the other day on The Friendly Atheist and could feel my blood pressure rising. If Ken Ham is going to say comments like what he said recently about the September 11 attacks I am tempted to start a Go Fund Me account to purchase a one way plane ticket for him back to Australia.
Before I continue let me spend some time speaking about September 11. When you live in the Washington, D.C. area the topic of terrorism and September 11 is a sensitive one. For obvious reasons the threat of terrorism is a concern if you live in the area. I’ve lived in the Washington, D.C. area since March 2005 and I have been amazed as to some of the stories I have heard about September 11 just in the passing of life from people who live here. Here are some examples….one time I had a former Georgetown University student who told me of what it was like on September 11 to hear an incredible explosion and see smoke across the DC sky and realize the Pentagon is on fire. Years ago my paths crossed with someone in the military who worked in the part of the Pentagon that was hit that Tuesday morning. He had that morning off and was mountain biking in Maryland. When the attack took place two co-workers he knew were killed and another survived but had burns over a great part of his body. Then there was another time when I was taking a cab (IIRC…) to Reagan National Airport to take a flight. While I was in the cab the driver pointed out to me where and how American Airlines flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. He was stuck in traffic and he watched the plane fly so low that it clipped street lights along the 395 while flying into the Pentagon at 530 miles per hour. He explained that when you were in the car the plane flew so low you could feel the heat from the engine of the 767 moments before impact. I couldn’t believe I was hearing this…but when you live and work in the DC area you bump into people who lived through events like this. I’ve been to the Pentagon Memorial and its deeply moving, especially in the early evening. There is a bench for each person killed both in the Pentagon or on the flight. It is hollowed ground and when you go there you know this, as you feel it in your bones. For me September 11 was a horrific day I still remember how I learned the news, and what it was like to be in grad school at Marquette University and watch life grind to a halt. I’ve saved the newspapers and I saved the announcement left at my door saying that due to the days events the university closed. For my family each member of my family processed the attacks differently. What struck me most was what my grandmother in Butte, Montana said. My grandmother was 91 or 92 at the time. She sat on her couch and watched the World Trade Center burn, the people jump and she felt so sick. For my grandmother it felt like she was re-living December 7, 1941, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor all over again. All the emotions and feelings that came through her…it felt like she was reliving that dark day in December all over again.
September 11 happened because 19 hijackers from a terrorist organization called Al Qaeda hijacked 4 planes and aimed them at national monuments and buildings in New York City and Washington, D.C.
However, according to Ken Ham what caused September 11 was not Al Qaeda but instead people practicing homosexuality. Watch the video below please….
God’s Covenant with Israel and is there a Covenant between God and the United States?
I open myself up to correction as I write this, so I invite criticism. While there are many different covenants in the Bible I would like to discuss the covenant between God and Abraham which led to the covenant between God and Israel. Before I proceed forward I believe its crucial to understand this fact. The Abrahamic Covenant is the covenant between God and Abraham. This covenant is the one discussed in Genesis 12:1-3 when it says, The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” This is my take but I highlighted what I consider to be the key part. I think this lays the foundation for Israel in the course of time. Other verses that deal with the covenant between God and Abram/Abraham include Genesis 13:14-17, Genesis 17:1-14, and Genesis 22:15-18. In scripture God promised that he would make Abraham’s name great and that he would multiply his descendants and that he would be a father of many nations. In the process God makes promises regarding the nation of Israel and even marks the geographical boundaries of the Abrahamic Covenant. That can be discerned in the following verses in scripture Genesis 12:7, Genesis 13:14-15, and Genesis 15:18-21. Another part of the Abrahamic covenant is that the families and descendants would be blessed through the genetic lines of Abraham (Genesis 12:3, Genesis 22:18) Here’s a good article I found in researching this topic that explores it from the perspective of John Valvoord of Dallas Theological Seminary.
So here is the question I have to the person reading this post…is there a covenant between God and the United States? Or in other words is the boundaries of the United States included in the description of the geographical boundaries of the Abrahamic covenant? Did God make promises about the United States? How could the united States be included in the picture as the creation of the United States is thousands of years away from when some of these markings of the Abrahamic covenant?
Ken Ham’s on Homosexuality and September 11, 2001
Here’s part of the transcribed conversation as written on The Friendly Atheist. Ken Ham says, “You know, that 9/11 event was certainly a dramatic event in the history of America, and it certainly challenged a lot of people. And it reminds people, too, that this is a sin/cursed universe. And, you know, the Bible tells us death is the penalty for sin… there’s evil in the world because of our sin and because we’re responsible. You can’t just look at something and say, “That’s what the terrorists did.” You have to look at it from the perspective of “That’s what we did.” Because we, and Adam, sinned against a Holy God. So we’re collectively responsible……And one of the signs of even God judging a nation and withdrawing the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit, one of the signs is the sign of homosexual behavior, as it says in Romans 1. And I believe we’re seeing that in this nation, I believe this nation is under judgment.”
Pay close attention to what Ken Ham said in this sentence…You can’t just look at something and say, “That’s what the terrorists did.” You have to look at it from the perspective of “That’s what we did.” So here is my question….did the employees of Cantor Fitzgerald, Marsh Inc, or Aon Corp bring the attack upon the World Trade Center themselves? 658 employees of Cantor Fitzgerald perished in the World Trade Center, while 295 employees from Marsh Inc. also perished. What did those individuals do to bring that fate upon themselves? What about the Christians who died in the September 11 attacks? What did they do to deserve the course of events that took place that Tuesday morning in New York City? (Quick side note according to the National Institute of Science and Technology they estimated that 17,400 people were in the Twin Towers when they were attacked) What about those that died in the Pentagon? According to some research I did 33 members of the United States Navy, 22 members of the United States Army and 7 members of the Defense Intelligence Agency perished in the Pentagon. What did those members of the military and civilians who showed up for work do to deserve that calamity? When Ken Ham references Romans 1 he’s obviously alluding to Romans 1:26-27. But what about Romans 1:29? In that passage it says “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips,” I mean there are a lot of people who are not gay who engage in this behavior. Heck just look at the Christian church and you can find a lot of this behavior. I have written about greed in the context of gluttony when it comes to church growth here. Look at all the strife that has come about due to Neo-Calvinism…what about that? Deceit, malice and gossip…doesn’t Ken Ham engage in this when he’s less than honest in his dealings? But why do some people have to focus in on the homosexuality issue and act as if that is the only sin? This is not the only time that outrageous content has been written about in regards to September 11, you can read more here.
An Atheist Perspective on this Issue
I want to do something different in this post…after reading The Friendly Atheist piece I want to throw up some comments for Christians to reflect upon and consider. Above all what I would hope is that those who shell out money and support Ken Ham would read comments like this and do some self reflection. I have to tell you that for once I wish I could read an atheist blog post that talks about how foolish it is for a man to have died, been buried and rose three days later. Instead when I read atheist blog posts its the antics of a few Christian lunatics who have center stage, and a microphone that hurt all of Christianity. That said please reflect on some of these comments.
Sometimes I wonder what kind of a world these people live in. One day during torrential rains one of my mother’s caregivers claimed, in essence, that Satan was trying to keep her from getting to our house … not, you know, the floods that shut down traffic in low-lying areas. Take alternate routes? No, let’s just praise Jesus while driving.
What does he mean when he says “we need to pray?” Millions are praying every second of the day.
Why is it always gay men and women who cause calamities? Why not priest and pastors who prey on children? Or born again Christian GW Bush who started two needless wars that killed and maimed millions unnecessarily.
Did Ken Ham ever read what bin Laden said about why terrorists attacked on 9/11? It had nothing to do with homosexuality. What else could he blame on tolerating homosexualty: the recession, Greece’s financial troubles, climate change, the failed state in Somalia, ISIS, declining salmon stocks, topsoil erosion, the Yellowstone caldera… Perhaps he is planning to take over as top crazy now Pat Robertson will not be able to speak much longer.
Why would anyone want to worship a God that commits atrocities like 9/11 on innocent victims for actions by other totally different individuals (who were only engaged in actions that affect themselves). It’s stark raving mad and is probably a sign of mental illness.
Does Ken believe the nonsense he professes? Or is he just drumming up publicity for Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum?
We have to remember he is the descendant of P.T. Barnum, Robert Ripley and Buffalo Bill Cody. Showmen have a more relaxed attitude to truth than average.
There are some people who have no shame. I don’t think he understands just how much damage he is doing with his lies. He is not just putting out a few fake mermaids. He is trying to totally undermine science education.
I personally like the last comment that I posted from The Friendly Atheist, as I find it insightful and revealing. In reading it one can deduce that the individual has spent a good amount of time reading about the problem of evil. I for one honestly wish many evangelicals would understand the harm that is being done by individuals like Ken Ham. Obstacles are needlessly created and people are needlessly hurt. Again I would suggest that its poor and faulty theology to believe that there is a covenant between God and the United States. To my knowledge and reading of the Bible I firmly believe its a stretch to claim that fact. A covenant between God and the United States also leads to other questions as well such as…why the United States and not Italy? Ghana? Kenya? Thailand? or Japan? Why do some evangelical Christians believe that the United States is in a place of elite position and why do some attach the belief that its due to God’s blessing upon the United States? Does God not care about Kenya? Or Ghana? Or El Salvador? Again Christians today are under a new covenant of Jesus. We are not a chosen people genetically speaking as that covenant is between the God and the descendants of Abraham which include Israel today. Likewise as I have said below the followers of Jesus do not have a geographic boundary of land to confide in.
I have to tell you that I am personally tired of reading antics like this and wish that more people would speak up and out against Ken Ham. I even wish those who believe in Young Earth Creationism would speak out and correct him and contest what he says. Ken Ham hurts the YEC view as well by making comments like these and those in that camp look even more foolish when that not need to be the case. Again I am not wanting to criticize YEC especially as that is not my intent, I just wish the advocates of it would be more respectful, honest and civil and do so in ways that not makes it a primary issue. This issue strikes a chord if you live in certain areas of the United States that have been affected by September 11, and the Washington, D.C. area is one of them. No one who was killed in September 11 brought that calamity upon themselves. They are the people who suffered due to the actions of some radical Islamic terrorists. The problem as well which I wish Christians would acknowledge is that when Ken Ham speaks openly and Christians remain silent they give him a stamp of approval. Whether it is intended or unintended it still happens when Christians remain silent. Silence gives the sense of approval and condones such behavior. Its for this reason that I actually ask people to call me out either publically or privately. My identity is not in being right, and indeed at the end of the day I want to do the right thing. But its long past time for people to raise their voice and speak out against such comments.
I would like to wind down this piece with a comment by someone on The Friendly Atheist that this Christ follower is in full agreement with. “Kind of off topic/just curious, is Ken Ham a US citizen? Is there a way to get him deported/sent back to Australia? Not that it would stop the crazy, but it might reduce his particular area of effect.” I am toying with establishing a Go Fund Me account to buy Ken Ham a one way plane ticket back to Australia. For you guys in the land down under…you guys can keep him. That’s if he’s going to continue to make such disrespectful and outrageous claims. While I am typing this it begs the question…why does the United States attract such people anyhow? In closing I would like to leave you with Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?” My prayer is that you always remember those killed, maimed or affected by the September 11 attacks. May the United States remain vigilant. Thanks I love you guys!!