Is Erick Erickson Ashamed of His Fellow Creationists?
The topics of creationism and evolution are always popular among the American media, of all types, and for good reason as the American population is split over their acceptance of modern science. Thus conflict of opinion arises when discussing these issues and this draws attention, as we’ve seen this past couple of weeks with Ann Coulter as she tries to find new life for her sagging career as a pundit.
Not to be outdone, Erick Son of Erick, proprietor of the RedState blog, writes an article published in the Washington Examiner: Sunday Reflection: Ignorance widespread in media about Christianity in which he attempts to soft-pedal creationism (among other Christian Fundamentalist teachings) and blame the leftist media for being out of touch with
… the religion shared by a majority of Americans.
Before that conclusion he touches on creationism, about which he claims:
The final coup de grace was Kathleen Parker in the Washington Post, who wrote that Rick Perry’s belief in “creationism” meant by default he believed God created the world 6,500 years ago — a small minority opinion even among creationists.
The “small minority” assertion just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
To determine why all one has to do is look at the long running surveys that both the Pew and Gallup organizations have been conducting, to assess American social opinions on many subjects including evolution. Now, there are many polls that have been done on this subject, but the Pew and Gallup surveys are the best known and, fortunately for the question at hand, in 2009 Pew compiled some of the results of their and Gallup’s surveys and addressed somewhat the “young Earth” question, which they summarized nicely in this table.
Look at that table closely, Erick. You will see that in Pew’s survey that 42% of Americans said they believed that all living things have existed in their “present form since the beginning of time”. Even pinning down the creationists’ beliefs more finely, the Gallup survey shows that approximately 44% or so of all Americans believe “God created human beings pretty much in the present form at one time within the past 10,000 years or so.”
Those are surveys that sample from all people living in the US. Since both Pew and Gallup show that only a small number accept the science (evolution over long periods of time), somewhere between 14% and 26%, it seems that those who believe in an old earth creationism process are roughly the same share (or slightly less) than the young earth creationists.
The bottom line is this, Erick: around half of all your fellow creationists are Young Earth Creationists. They even probably have a majority in your religion (American “conservative” Christianity.)
And yes, they are delusional, caught up in magical thinking.
Now, in the rest of his editorial Mr. Erickson tries to minimize the religious influences on current American politics of various personalities. E.g.:
… Bachmann was not influenced by Rushdoony, but, even if she were, Lizza completely misinterpreted what Rushdoony suggested. Schaeffer, who did influence Bachmann, contradicted Rushdoony and really cannot be reconciled with his line of thinking.
Lizza also confused and conflated “dominionism” with “reconstructionism,” …
Yes, Rushdoony and Francis Schaeffer were not identical in their beliefs (though the big difference was in their personal lives and practical religion, with Schaeffer remaining engaged with various Evangelical organizations contrasted with Rushdoony isolated in his home estranged even from his son in law, Gary North), just as “dominionism” and “reconstructionism” are not perfectly equivalent.
However, such religious hair-splitting is like trying to convince the victims of Torquemada that the Catholic Church really wasn’t torturing them because Torquemada was a Dominican friar and not a Mercedarian. It was still the Catholic Church.
One final bit of obfuscation in which Mr. Erickson engages - he wrote:
… [NYT columnist] Keller went on to be-clown, himself confusing Protestant theology with Catholic theology, mixing up basic theological concepts, and otherwise trying to ask “gotcha” questions of the politicians unrelated to either their domestic or foreign policies.
Had any conservative asked Barack Obama these questions in relation to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s theology, Keller would have roundly condemned them as racist. In fact, Keller and the New York Times have a history of condemning anyone who raises important questions about Islam and its growing encroachment on a society that Keller views as justifiably secular.
You can read Bill Keller’s opinion piece here.
What I find striking is that Mr. Erickson seems to focus in on Obama and Islam… especially the latter as nominally Erickson’s editorial is supposedly about “Ignorance” about Christianity.
The difference between Barack Obama in 2008 and Bachmann, Perry, Santorum, et. al. in 2012 is that Obama did not make his religious beliefs central to his political platform (and candidate Obama even went on to disavow Wright), unlike the Christian fundamentalists Perry and Bachmann and Santorum who are explicitly campaigning on their religious beliefs.
There is a difference, a big difference.
In summary, Erickson is simply trying to downplay the looniness of so much of the American Fundamentalism that has taken over the GOP.
Maybe Erick Erickson is ashamed of them, after all?