Fred Clark on What Differentiates Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Ken Ham and Ralph Reed from Sun Myung Moon

Here’s what Fred Clark had to say in a post today:

I think…Moon is the last of his kind.

Today, there are many easier paths to the same goals — more respectable and potentially more lucrative means to the same ends.

Consider Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Ken Ham or Ralph Reed. They’re chasing the same dreams as Moon chased — money, power, deference. But they’ve found a way to do it that doesn’t result in their being shunned by the powerful people they long to cozy up to. They have carved out a niche that lets them exploit their followers and still maintain the veneer of respectability that let’s them have their pictures taken with presidents and governors.

Moon declared himself a god and a Messiah, but it’s far easier just to recast God and the Messiah in your own image and then go from there. It takes too much work to recruit tens of thousands of followers who will give you every penny they earn. It’s far easier just to maintain a database of tens of millions of “supporters” who can be relied on to send small checks to help you stop the Satanic baby-killers, the godless evolutionists, the Gay menace, and the socialist agenda of the Antichrist’s coming one-world government.

No need to start a new religion when you can just piggy-back onto an existing one and change it to meet your needs, serving your quest for money, power and deference.

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  • Do you have something to offer besides arbitrary assertions and childish character attacks?

  • Myron

    Reading this was a waste of time.

    • rmwilliamsjr

      then why did you use your time to create an ID and post here for other people of read? seems like the wisest thing to do would be to see that the blog was a waste of time as quickly as possible then leave, never to return.

      there is a curious asymmetry between this blog and the facebook page of KH that links here today. KH’s fb page minders delete everything opposing them from the comments within a few hours(and bans the poster’s ID), JMcG discusses posters’ concerns directly and often within a few minutes, carrying on a dialogue that risks thinking rather than a chorus of yes(wo)men that are left after the censorship at KH’s fb page.

      i wonder, just from this one fact, that AiG/KH have no open comment discussions on any of their websites, yet feel free to send minnions to other open commenting sites at their will, who is open to learning where they are wrong? since we are all wrong in many things, being open to change is a good thing.

      • rmwilliamsjr

        on kh fb page linking here.
        Josh Freeman Also, for all those who claim evolution isn’t observable, it’s worth observing that all comments on this page that favor evolution are removed and the people who post them are blocked from further posting, no matter how civil those comments are.

        posted 25 min ago, about 10:25 here. they’re deleting comments pretty quickly/vigorously over there this morning. i wonder how long it will remain?

        • rmwilliamsjr

          actually took all day. 1830hrs here. 85 comments left, i saw 92 earlier. all of josh freeman’s postings are gone. keeps all their pages as cheering fans…..wonder if most readers know how heavily censored they are?

  • Cesar p.

    these are pretty bold claims. I assume a rational, reasoning person as yourself has some good hard evidence for this. I would like to see that evidence please, i would find them very interesting and helpful. Thank you.

    • I’ve been blogging about Christian fundamentalism for a long time, and obviously don’t include everything in a single blog post. This one quotes part of a post by Fred Clark, as presumably you read at the very beginning. His own post is longer. My blogging on this topic is longer still – as you’ll see, I responded to one commenter above offering a round-up of just the first couple of years of my blogging about young-earth creationism. If you want me to say more about something specific, just ask, and I will either do so, or link to a post where I have already done so.

      But perhaps it would also help if you could explain why the claims made here are not self-evident to you.

  • LorenHaas

    Apparently this posting struck a nerve for some readers.
    I found it to be just about right on. I will think of this comparison everytime these names come up. Thanks for posting!

    • rmwilliamsjr

      the inflow of new readers is because ken ham linked to this post from his facebook page a few hours ago.

      • Thanks for pointing that out. I wonder whether anyone who clicks through after being told that these are criticisms on a “secularist” blog will even notice that they are reading Christian bloggers criticizing young-earth creationism from a Christian perspective.

        • rmwilliamsjr

          it won’t ever enter their minds that this is a Christian’s blog.

          here is the 1st paragraph of KH’s fb posting which links here

          “The secularists say many vile things about us on the internet–i rarely read their stuff–but now and then someone sends something to me–and a couple I received are a good reminder that these secularists who slam those of us who believe in a literal Genesis–are against the gospel, Christian morality and all that Christianity stands for. For instance this quote from a secularist blog :”

          in AiGspeak a secularist:=someone who is not YEC.

      • LorenHaas

        I am glad Mr. Ham has decided to defend himself! Please Mr. Ham, post what you, your wife and other family members are paid in salary and other renumeration by the various ministries, charities and businesses you are associated with? How about speaking fees and book royalties as well?

  • Cody McDonald

    James McGrath, whats the difference between historical science and observational science? Oh sorry you wont ever be able to answer that. 😉

    • Do you have a problem with people drawing conclusions based on evidence about the past? Do you have an objection in principle to criminology, for instance? I’m trying to figure out what is behind your question, why you think that the distinction is one that I could not address, and what else you are assuming that makes your brief comment seem so bizarre to me.

    • rmwilliamsjr

      whats the difference between historical science and observational science?

      this question is in the same category at whether a unicorn’s horn spirals are left or right handed. it is a nonsense question.

      ask yourself, how long ago does something observational become historical?
      a day? a year? a hundred years? 2000 years? 6kya? 2000k? where exactly is this barrier?

      how do you know? since one day your perfectly good observational science-poof-becomes unavailable historical science.

      a useless differentiation that no one actually doing science finds at all useful.
      mere AiG polemics. polemics that actually undercuts Biblical archaeology and textual analysis for someday all that will too-poof-and become historical. ugh.

    • Cody

      The speed of light is finite. Therefore every event that we observe occurs in the past. In the case of stars, we are observing events that occurred years and even millions of years in the past. In the case of events on earth, we usually observe events from a fraction of a second ago.

      But in both cases, we are observing the past. We might record what we observe, in our mind, on a sheet of notebook paper, or on a digital or analog photograph, but recordings are always distorted and incomplete pictures of events.

      In actual scientific practice your imagined “difference” between “historical science” and “observational science” breaks down and becomes meaningless.

  • Welcome to visitors directed here from Ken Ham’s Facebook page. Let me add two points, for your benefit. First, something Ham didn’t tell you: this is a Christian blog, as is Fred Clark’s, which I quoted. Second, the praise offered to Ham on that Facebook comment thread seems to support Fred Clark’s point, don’t you think?

    • Mike

      That pic of Dr Ham is extremely offensive

      • More offensive than the lies that Ken Ham tells about the Bible, about scientists, and about those he sometimes slanders and sometimes acknowledges as his brothers and sisters in Christ?

  • Mike

    I don’t know anything about Reed or Moon but the rest of them are great men. The author of this blog is clearly quite the asshole.

    • rmwilliamsjr


      The author of this blog is clearly quite the a**hole.

      “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who are made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things should not be this way” (James 3:9-10)

      But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.

  • Mike

    I pity people that claim to be ‘Christian’ but still continue to believe the bullshit lies of the media and “science”

    • I can only guess that this swearing combined with a rejection of science is the work of an atheist trying to make Christians look bad. Can there really be a Christian who has so misunderstood what it means to be a Christian, that they come to a blog to swear and stand up for someone who twists the Bible and brings shame on the name of Jesus by associating him with lies and anti-scientific nonsense? If so, then it is such people who are to be pitied.

  • Deist1737

    There is a lot of truth in this post!

    Personally I agree with the American founder and Deist Thomas Paine. In his awesome book on God, Deism and religion, The Age of Reason, The Complete Edition, Paine calls for a revolution in religion based on our God-given reason and Deism. I think Thomas Paine was right.

    Progress! Bob Johnson

  • Joel

    I clicked over to this blog, and based on what I read couldn’t gather that it was a Christian blog—nothing personal.

    It reads fairly secular, but thank you for pointing out that this is a Christian blog.

    In all fairness, if you just happened across this blog and read just this article, would you realize it was a Christian blog?

    You posted earlier, in justifying putting up an offensive picture of Ken Ham–“More offensive than the lies that Ken Ham tells about the Bible, about scientists, and about those he sometimes slanders and sometimes acknowledges as his brothers and sisters in Christ?”

    The problem with moral high ground is that it is slippery.

    I haven’t read anything from Mr. Ham that CONTRADICTS biblical teaching on the gospel, the sinfulness of man, the deity of Jesus, the virgin birth, the history of Creation, the flood account, etc.

    What I have read is that he takes the bible at what it teaches about those topics and then applies that to the evidence.

    For me the difference in someone like you and him, (correct me if I’m wrong, which I’m sure you will follow up based on your other posts) is this: your approach is that the biblical teaching should be interpreted through the lens of modern science; his approach is that modern science should be interpreted through the lens of the biblical teaching.

    For me, one clear example of this is the fossil record–modern science says, evidence for evolution. Because if there really was only natural selection, what would the evidence be? Billions of dead things, showing transitional fossils, somehow trapped to become fossils, all over the earth. The bible says a worldwide flood. After all, if there really was worldwide flood, what would the evidence be? Billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water, all over the earth (the fossil record).

    Which interpretation fits the evidence better? Personally, I feel like your starting assumptions dictate what you believe; If you believe in evolution, then you will inevitably interpret all the data, and even establish equations/formulas with older dates in mind. I think the converse can be said of special creation, which you call YEC I think.

    You mentioned criminology (a stab at historical science?) in an earlier post; that makes sense, save for the fact it took place in the known past (i.e. we know what the variables were, such as weather, roughly the time of day, etc). In the unobservable past, we have no way of knowing many of these details. For example, until Mount St Helens blew, we didn’t know that superheated rock astronomically accelerates the decay rate of various materials. In other words, even though our dating methods established the rock created by the explosion at mt st helens was in the millions of years range, we know by the observable past that the rock is roughly 30 years old. Here’s a link to some excellent information/resources on the lessons learned from the Mt St Helens eruption:

    Let everyone be convinced in their own mind. Lord bless you.

    By the blood of the lamb,


    • I actually disagree strongly with the suggestion that the two approaches are “looking at science through the lens of the Bible” and “looking at the Bible through the lens of science.” Before we can discuss the Bible, work on such matters as Hebrew linguistics are crucial. Answers in Genesis rejects such work, and thus the literal meaning of the Bible, when it suits them to do so. A classic example is the reference to the dome in Genesis 1:6-7, which they insist is not a dome even though linguists consistently disagree with them. We are not free to simply change the meaning of words in the Bible the way Answers in Genesis does. We must start with the words, and if the words of the Bible do not match the world as we observe it, then we must accept that. We may differ about what to do under such circumstances. But twisting the Bible to mean what we want it to, and then saying we are believing the Bible and taking it literally, should not be accepted as an option by any Christian. That is why I am so dismayed that Ken Ham remains so popular in a wide variety of sectarian fringe groups within Christianity.

      Here is a link to the “Ken Ham” tag on my blog, so that you can see what I have written about his deceptive claims in the past:

      There are useful answers to the false claims about science made by young-earth creationists online, which I will simply direct you to, since the appropriate thing to do is to consult scientists. There are Christians who are geologists who address these matters clearly from a Christian perspective, such as Young and Stearley’s The Bible, Rocks, and Time. They will help you to understand the ways in which Ken Ham and others like him have been lying to gullible Christians. But I don’t know that they can explain why some Christians prefer to ignore what Christians who work in geology, biology, genetics, and other areas have to say, and prefer to listen to charlatans who tickle their ears with pleasing doctrines.

      • Dr, David Tee

        So, since we do not observe heaven then it does not exist and both God and Jesus lied — again? Seems like you are twisting the scriptures to fit your point of view. Ken Ham and others like him are not doing so.
        You make a lot of excuses and false criteria up to justify your rejection of God’s word.

        • David Tee, Your comment makes no sense. Who said that God and Jesus lied because we don’t observe heaven? What on earth are you talking about, and why should your posting of nonsense and bluster distract anyone from the fact that you reject what the Bible says, and yet have the audacity to claim that others do that.

          Perhaps you really are confused about this, so let me put it simply: Praising the Bible is not acceptance of the Bible, and idolatrously attributing the divine attribute of inerrancy to the Bible, when the Bible itself condemns idolatry, most certainly isn’t acceptance of the Bible. Only accepting what the Bible actually says, even if it doesn’t agree with your claims, assumptions, and doctrines about the Bible, is accepting the Bible.

          • Yet, I am NOT the one who has rejected what the Bible says. My comment is not nonsense either. You love to twist what people say to falsely label and accuse them and you are very wrong.
            Since you do not grasp a simple observation I doubt an explanation will be any different but here goes for those who can: Jesus spoke of heaven and you accept His words on it yet no man of science can investigate it and there is no evidence of it in nature. Nor can you put heaven in a test tube and strudy it. All we have is God’s and Jesus’ words on the subject, plus those words were recorded by humans, whom you denounce for creation andother passages.
            You also deny God’s and Jesus’s words on creation,, claiming there is evidence in nature. That idea of course come from secular, evil men. The same men who deny heaven exists.
            Do you get the picture yet? You call God and Jesus liars when they speak of creation but truth tellers when they speak of heaven. You will accept evil men’s words when it suits you and reject them when it suits you. You are dishonest, hypocritical and trying to have your cake and eat it to.
            In the 2,000 years since the NT was written and the approx. 3,000+/_ years the OT was written, one would think that God would have raised up mighty men who would have corrected the way the Bible was written and that correction would have spread throughout the world replacing the current Bible as most popular book, etc.
            It has not been done because God doesn’t need to correct His word. The Biblical authors got it right and it has been the same truth since the beginning.

          • You still don’t seem to even comprehend what I am saying. You do not have the words of God. You have human words about God. They were not liars. They didn’t know things about the world that they had no way of knowing in their time. But by lying about what they say, and what I say, and claiming that their words are God’s words, you have introduced deception upon deception and idolatry upon idolatry into the matter. How can you claim to be defending the Bible when you care not at all for its commandments against idolatry and bearing false witness?

          • Ken Gilmore


            >>You also deny God’s and Jesus’s words on creation,, claiming there is
            evidence in nature. That idea of course come from secular, evil men. The
            same men who deny heaven exists.


            The heavens declare the glory of God;
            the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
            Day after day they pour forth speech;
            night after night they reveal knowledge.
            They have no speech, they use no words;
            no sound is heard from them.
            Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
            their words to the ends of the world. (Psa 19:1-4)

            When a careful examination of the universe reveals it is vast and considerably older than 6000 years, the rational Christian (not an oxymoron!) accepts that the heavens are telling her that they are vast and ancient.

            The ‘two books of revelation’ argument is hardly novel, or restricted to theological liberals, unless you think John Chrysostom was a dangerous liberal heretic:

            “This however cannot be said with respect
            to the heavens; but the Scythian, and Barbarian, and Indian, and
            Egyptian, and every man that walks upon the earth, shall hear this
            voice; for not by means of the ears, but through the sight, it
            reaches our understanding. And of the things that are seen, there
            is one uniform perception; and there is no difference, as is the
            case with respect to languages. Upon this volume the unlearned, as
            well as the wise man, shall be alike able to look; the poor man as
            well as the rich man; and wherever any one may chance to come,
            there looking upwards towards the heavens, he will receive a
            sufficient lesson from the view of them:” [1]

            We may not have ‘heaven in a test-tube’ but the natural world is amenable to scientific examination, and the overwhelming consensus view of those who actually study this evidence is that it is ancient and vast. And please spare us the ‘all scientists are secular evil men trope’ as it is false. Georges Lemaitre. Owen Gingerich. That is all.

            The deluge of special creationist hit and run posts brings to mind Augustine’s observation:

            “Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking non-sense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of the faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?” [2]

            Special creationists are doing far more to damage Christianity than any acerbic riposte from Christopher Hitchens ever could. One can hope that one day they may appreciate that, and stop advocating obscurantism in the name of Christ.

            1. John Chrysostom “Homily 9”
            2. St. Augustine, “The Literal Meaning of Genesis”

      • Don M. Burrows

        This is something I’ve tried to point out to my scientist friends. Philologists have as big a beef with these folks as they do. They eschew modern textual criticism and all its methodologies alongside all the other intellectual pursuits they reject.

    • rmwilliamsjr

      By the blood of the lamb,

      what does this mean?
      are all interpretations of these 6 words equally valid?

      for example, if i was a Moslem, i would interpret it to refer to Eid Al-Adha, for good reason. and it would be a very literal interpretation of these 6 words, blood and lamb both referring to actual physical blood and lambs. if you think literal is best, they have the very best way to understand these words.

      but i bet that that author of these words has no such intention. how do i know this? because i understand some things about his interpretative community. i know he is using it as a very complex metaphor which has a result of being a secret handshake identifying membership in his interpretive community.

      what is important is the interpretive matrix a reader brings to reading the words-even reading just 6 simple words like these. i believe a reader who strives to understand the original author’s intentions and how the first readers interpreted the words does the best job of reading those words. can i prove this idea? nope. maybe the most creative one is best, or the most interesting, or the shortest, or the whatever, is the best way to read and interpret a text, you chose your goodness criteria.

      that is the purpose of this blog and why it is worth watching, J.McGrath is explaining his interpretative matrix, how and why he reads and understands things, mostly theology and scifi, through his interpretive matrix.

      OTOH, K.Ham claims to short circuit this idea of an interpretive community and claims to read the Bible just as God spoke it needing no interpretation at all, thus collapsing the interpretative distance so that he claims to be speaking for God.

    • arcseconds


      If you condense the evidence down to a single simple sentence, then sure, many theories will be compatible with that, especially when you’re deliberately trying to construct it to be ambiguous between two theories. Maybe we’re wrong about them being dead! Maybe spontaneous generation is true, and the earth keeps generating various partial creature forms, only some of which grow enough stuff to take on independent life of their own.

      Once you look at *all* the evidence, though, the biblical story doesn’t have a hope of explaining it in a plausible fashion. Why, for example, do you find both the same fossils and the same strata in eastern South America and western Africa, and no where else?

      That’s easily explained by plate tectonics. South America and Africa were once the same landmass – and you can even see that they look like they fit together (although on its own the shape is only weak evidence). And it’s a good assumption that the plates did move, as we can observe them moving today.

      So there we already have three phenomena – same fossils, same strata, interlocking shapes – unified by one account that requires no other mechanism than one we see already.

      I’ve never seen ‘biblical science’ do anything remotely like this, ever. All they ever do is cherry pick evidence for the theory they’ve already decided is true or carp at the one they don’t like. They never come up with novel accounts that make fresh predictions or unifying explanations or anything like that.

      (EDIT: this is just one short example of a successful scientific explanation which requires an old earth. The full successes of ‘old earth’ sciences, of course, full floors and floors of books. I don’t think creationists have any idea of what they’re up against. )

      As far as this Mt. St. Helen’s thing, I doubt very much that we have learnt what you say.

      This fellow, for example, seems to think creationists have not done a good job of radiometric dating Mt. St. Helen’s rock:

  • rmwilliamsjr

    curiously no one from kh’s fb page has actually noticed that this entry is from the slacktivist, at least no one has posted on his page. nor at the other blog quoted by kh, without a link. i wonder if this reflects on the interest or on the research/reading ability, my first desire, when reading kh’s fb posting this morning, was to see where the quotations were from, to see them in context, to understand the arguments. people coming here simply seem to be bringing up AiG/KH talking points, without really interacting with the posting about Moon’s death.

  • victor

    I’m an atheist (10 years of Catholic schooling cemented that) and I thank you this post. While I believe religion can bring comfort to some ,its people like Mr.Ham that scare me.

  • Dr, David Tee

    “They’re chasing the same dreams as Moon chased — money, power, deference”
    When making such claims it would be wise to post your evidence along with your accusation. Being misguided doesn’t mean conspiracy or an evil agenda.

  • Guest

    @James McGrath Ken Ham is at least a true Christian in accepting that Jesus, like all other first century Jews, believed in a literal Adam and Eve, Noah and worldwide flood among other things; while YOU believe Jesus entertained an incorrect belief as man, but knew the truth as God–but the God part of Jesus could not get it through the man part’s skull as to how ridiculous such beliefs were, and didn’t even give a second’s thought as to how many billion Christians in the future would be fighting so ferociously against science because of what Jesus said. Oops. The Bible is like nuclear waste in that respect, full of radioactive toxins lying around inside it, that will never be edited out, generating confusion and controversies for endless ages.

    • Ed, where did you get the idea that I view Jesus in that way from? I expect more honesty from you. I have published quite a bit and blogged quite a bit. There is no need to make things up and attribute them to me. If you want to know what I think, please ask. But I really must protest against your assertion that what defines Christiansity has to be treating what Jesus and his earlier followers assumed to be the case as something to be dogmatically asserted even if new evidence, unavailable to them, shows us that things are otherwise. Who gets to decide that that is what “true Christians” do?

  • Guest

    I don’t think Ken Ham is insincere and just in it for the money. The money came later and it was probably viewed by him as a sign that God wanted him to continue his ministry and use every means to build it up further, and get it pushed through educational systems and even spread it to Islam where creationist arguments have since spread. I was a young-earth creationist once myself. I was sincere. It’s the moderate Christians still hugging the Bible too tightly in my opinion, who have to claim ulterior motives to fundamentalists, like greed. I think the real motive is obvious. The fundamentalist is hoodwinked by his own Bible and wants to please God so much that he resists considering that Jesus was mistaken when he spoke about Adam, Even, Noah, the flood, etc. But a moderate Christian believes Jesus entertained incorrect beliefs as man, but knew the truth as God–but the God part of Jesus just could not get it through the man part’s skull as to how false or even ridiculous such beliefs were, and didn’t even give a second’s thought as to how many billion Christians in the future would be fighting so ferociously against science because of what the man part of Jesus said. Oops. The Bible is like nuclear waste in that respect, full of radioactive toxins lying around inside it, that will never be edited out, generating confusion and controversies for endless ages. We could use a truly “new” testament today, it’s been nearly 2,000 years since the last one– and that’s a delay that is about 1,600 years greater than the time the last book of the OT was composed and the first of the NT. God knocks up some Jewish chick then says, “Sorry, gotta go.” No new revelations since then, except for Islam and then later, Mormonism, that both attempted to supersede Christianity.

  • Don M. Burrows

    James, even better than your initial blog post are some of the gems you have in response to these unfortunate souls. Top form!

  • rmwilliamsjr
  • rmwilliamsjr