Last month an image purporting to show a 4th grade science quiz that was graded according to young earth creationist ideas appeared on Reddit’s atheism page and quickly spread across the Internet, leading some to question its veracity.
Rumor-busting website Snopes has confirmed, however, that the quiz is in fact real. It apparently belonged to a 4th grade student at Blue Ridge Christian Academy, a private school in South Carolina. The quiz and its answers were based on a DVD produced by Answers in Genesis (AiG), an organization that promotes a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis.
Now, since the school is a private one, they can teach kids whatever they want. But that doesn’t mean that atheists–including myself–can’t criticize the school and its teachers for pushing pseudoscience onto young children.
Answers in Genesis, however, sees things differently. On their website, the group’s president Ken Ham accuses “intolerant” atheists of “attempting to impose their belief system (yes, their religion) on the culture.” He compares criticism of Blue Ridge’s curriculum to an attempt by the Obama administration to revoke the asylum status of a German homeschooling family. (I fail to see how atheists expressing their opinions is comparable to the government’s attempt to forcibly remove people from the country.)
Ham says that “atheists have grown more confident about having something of a license to go after Christians” (that “license” would be the First Amendment, asshole). He further accuses “secularists” of wanting to “impose their anti-God religion on the culture.” (Uh oh–he’s onto us!)
If there is an organized effort by atheists to shut down religious schools in the U.S., or to restrict their teachings, I’m not aware of it. Ken Ham, like many on the religious right, has a very active persecution complex. Any criticism of Christianity, no matter how slight, is perceived to be part of a larger conspiracy with the ultimate goal of eradicating religion altogether.
It’s a shame that deranged fundamentalists like Ken Ham have access to any sort of education environment, but I guess that’s the price we pay for living in a free society. (At least now we can identify the scientifically illiterate ones by the school they went to: “Oh so you went to Blue Ridge Christian Academy and now you want to work at NASA. Next applicant please.”)
The fact of the matter is: criticism of young earth creationism does not amount to “persecution” of Christianity, and anyone who believes otherwise is delusional. But then, anyone who believes that humans once rode dinosaurs didn’t have much of grasp on reality to begin with.