Pharyngula

Madness. Paranoia. Ken Ham.

At the AAI meeting in Copenhagen, the group formulated a Declaration on Religion in Public Life. It was a nice statement, a bit vague, the product of too little time and preparation, but still a useful expression of godless sentiment. To my amusement, Ken Ham read it and his head exploded. It’s the Atheist Agenda for World Conquest! If ever you want to see the Christian persecution complex on full boil, just poke Ken Ham.

For example, here’s the first statement in the Copenhagen declaration.

We recognize the unlimited right to freedom of conscience, religion and belief, and that freedom to practice one’s religion should be limited only by the need to respect the rights of others.

That’s a statement of tolerance. There will be no persecution of believers — everyone has the right to their own thoughts. You can criticize it for being too generous, perhaps, and failing to define limits on the practice of religion in anything but the most general terms, but it reflects the temperament of the group: the atheist police are not going to come pounding on the doors of the synagogue, church, or mosque and tell them to stop that; there will be no godless inquisition.

Not in the mind of Ken Ham, though. He takes that paragraph and rewrites it to say what he thinks it means. It says much more about the mind of Ham than anything at all about atheism.

We recognize the unlimited right (even though we have no objective basis for “rights” in our system) to freedom of conscience, religion, and belief—except for Christians—and that freedom to practice one’s religion should be limited only by the need to respect the rights of others (this is the golden rule: “do unto others . . . ” for which we have no logical basis in our way of thinking)—except for Christians, as we reject Christianity totally and must try to eliminate it.

Wow. That’s some paranoia at work. Atheist support freedom of religion, and poor Ham’s rebuttal is to magically insert “except for Christians!” everywhere. That, and he constantly harps on this strange claim that we have no objective reason to be good to our fellow human beings, since we don’t have Jesus telling us to do it with his prod of damnation.

The whole article is like that! He just takes each paragraph of the declaration, sticks in a couple of “except for Christians”, and pretends it is a plan to oppress everyone who believes in Jesus. Here’s another example:

We assert that private conduct, which respects the rights of others should not be the subject of legal sanction or government concern.

It’s another reassuring generality: the government shouldn’t try to regulate beliefs. I can assure you that what the writers were mainly concerned about is attempts by governments to require adherence to a particular faith to be considered a good citizen, as well as patterns of persecution of minority religious groups. Look what Ken Ham does to it, though:

We assert that private conduct—except for Christians—which respects the rights of others—even though we have no basis for determining what “respect” means, nor any logical basis for why people (who are chance conglomerations of chemicals) ought to have “rights”—should not be the subject of legal sanction or government concern—unless it involves Christians, as we have determined they should not be allowed freedom for their religion because they believe in absolutes and have a system of absolute morality.

The man is simply insane. He’s seeing godless boogeymen where there aren’t any, and inventing complete lies to justify paranoia about atheists coming to take their bibles away.

He misses the facts of the declaration. It’s saying that people like Ham will be allowed freedom of religion despite their odious absolutism. Ham wants to impose his tyranny of absolute morality on others; he’s apparently unable to comprehend that others are more tolerant than he is.