Genesis, Free Speech, and Hate Speech

What would arch-creationist Ken Ham say if someone accused him of hate speech? We don’t have to guess. At his recent talk at the University of Central Oklahoma, Ham defended his vision of proper Christian morality. Did he capture ancient Christian wisdom? Or spout off twenty-first century bigotry?

ham speech audience UCO

Part of the 500-person audience at UCO.

As SAGLRROILYBYGTH recall, we’ve tussled over this issue recently. When UCO rescinded Ham’s original invitation, we wondered if free speech was still alive. I argued at the time that free speech was something of a red herring in this case–and many similar college cases. The real issue is sponsorship. The student organization at UCO did not want to pay Ham to speak, due to Ham’s views on sexuality and marriage.

In the end, UCO President Don Betz squared the circle by using money from a separate slush fund to pay for Ham’s visit. And the talk went off without a hitch. During the Q&A, one audience member asked Ham directly about gay rights. Here’s how the interchange went, according to Religion News Service:

One questioner — a self-described “spirit-filled Christian” and member of the LGBTQ community — said: “I sought the Lord and churches for why I feel attracted to the same sex. I found the church nor churches’ traditional view on (LGBTQ) fit my experience of hearing the Lord speak directly to me. Science, not the church, gave me peace. How can you say my experience of still being a child of God isn’t valid?”

Ham said he would start by asking how the person heard from God: “My way of dealing with that would be to say, ‘Let’s judge what the actual written word of God says. Let’s judge what you’re saying against what it says.’

“Because I have a different worldview in relation to marriage and gender doesn’t mean I hate that person,” Ham added. “Sometimes, people accuse us of hate speech because we disagree with them. It’s a clash of worldviews. That doesn’t mean we hate someone. In fact, the Bible commands us to love everyone, and that’s what we do.”

What do you think?

From my perspective, Ham’s answer sidesteps the central point. I don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth, but my hunch is that anti-Ham protesters at UCO didn’t care if Ham personally hated or loved them. The real question is whether or not he wanted to take away their civic rights to marriage equality.

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3 Comments

  1. Douglas E

     /  March 8, 2018

    I think that Ham is disingenuous and among the most pernicious of theocrats. They want to have their particular brand of discrimination legalized which would include the LGBT community.

    Reply
  2. Agellius

     /  March 8, 2018

    “my hunch is that anti-Ham protesters at UCO didn’t care if Ham personally hated or loved them”

    That’s fine but the question was, “How can you say my experience of still being a child of God isn’t valid?”

    Not being a Christian yourself, this may not be as clear to you as it is to me, but the crux of the matter was, if I feel that God has inspired me to believe my same-sex attractions are a good thing, on what ground do you reject my sincere belief in God’s approval? And Ham’s answer is, the ultimate judge of right and wrong is not our subjective impressions of God’s will, but the objective standard of the scriptures.

    This is the basic disagreement between traditional Christianity and what Catholics call the heresy of Modernism, the Modernists claiming that the content of the faith changes to meet the needs and values of each generation, and the traditionalists maintaining that changing values have to be judged against the unchanging faith and not vice versa.

    Reply
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