The story of MacArthur the horse: A letter to Ken Ham

I will try to reply to the past posts as fast as I can. Below is a historically contextualized letter I would send to Ken Ham. Don’t know he would ever read it, or reply, but the exercise is interesting to talk about. Let me know what you think and I will try to reply within a week.

Mr. Ham,

I saw your debate with Bill Nye and sometimes use the footage when I talk about the Scopes trial and the 1980s in my community college history class.

I also have taken my father from southern West Virginia to the Kentucky Creation Museum. I was surprised by the success Answers in Genesis has had in America. It has an immense presence in Dallas where I now live, thanks to the Institute for Creation Research and another creation museum.

I have met Judge Darrell White of Louisiana, who has interacted with Barbara Forrest, author of Creationism’s Trojan Horse and participant in the Dover trial. White was apparently a major sponsor of the Ark Encounter project.

In the 1980s, I also attended Yale and was required to read The Blind Watchmaker by the New Atheist Richard Dawkins.

Later at Regent College in Vancouver I organized a dialogue with a Discovery Institute staff member and George Pierce, president I believe of the Creation Science Association of British Columbia. Ronald Numbers introduced me to young-earth creationism worldwide.

I get what you are trying to do. Even though I presently accept Darwin’s theory and have made my peace with it as an evangelical influenced by the American Scientific Affiliation, an organization Henry Morris was not too happy with. Today ASA is still a very small organization mainly made up of Wheaton and Calvin College professors and their like. As far as my direct experience shows. YEC’s support goes into the millions.

Your castle cartoon connects abortion and gay rights to the success of evolutionary teaching. Dawkins would agree, most likely. But his conclusion would be Darwin provided an Enlightenment matrix for the abandoning of “superstition” of the past 2000 years.

You want credibility. In your debate with Nye, you acknowledge the layman’s respect for science today, because you take pains to walk the line between biblical orthodoxy and that respect. You point out the secular university credentials of your staff.

At Liberty University—the most visible support of what you are doing in America—I heard the story about the power of invisible Americans, invisible to the Harvard biology department.

Elmer Towns, the friend of Jerry Falwell, told a story about Falwell’s desire to increase the network of the Moral Majority in the 1970s, through accessing John R. Rice’s mailing list for the Sword of the Lord newspaper.

Falwell sent Towns to Tennessee, and Rice invited Towns to talk while Rice fed a horse named MacArthur on his farm.

Towns had some Milky Ways in his pocket, and the horse took a liking to them,

Rice said something like, “He really likes you. Let’s go down to the bank and get those addresses.”

In the 1970s these addresses were stored on huge tapes. Towns said 100,000 pastors. I believe he said pastors, not laypeople.

Towns laughed and said,"I tell the story this way…

…Ronald Reagan became president of the United States because MacArthur liked Milky Ways."

The ASA has no influence at all as far as I can tell in the community colleges and universities of Dallas, and certainly not the churches I have seen.

The dialogue among Christians about science has been broken down since at least the publication of The Genesis Flood in 1961. Even worse is the dialogue between YECs and scientists like Nye. I regard the debate as a public relations disaster for the church. I realize you feel differently.

I realize you believe ICR and AIG are standing for God’s Word in a dark world.

I just wish someone could help me talk to Barbara Forrest about the church cultures of the South.

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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