Creation Museum boss explains himself

If you’re fascinated with the opening of the “Creation Museum”:http://www.creationmuseum.org/ (like I am), you really ought to check out some of the features on Beliefnet.

They have a photo gallery of the museum’s exhibits (which aim to disprove evolution and prove that the world was created in six, 24-hour days).

images.jpegThey also have several “video interviews”:http://www.beliefnet.com/story/219/story_21921_1.html with Ken Ham, the president of Answers in Genesis, a ministry that calls for a literal understanding of the Book of Genesis. Answers in Genesis opened the $27 million museum.

In one of the videos, Ham (that’s him) explains that the theory of evolution — and the public schools that teach it — are responsible for a growing willingness to question the Bible’s authority. He says:

If you reject there is an absolute authority and you reject the Bible as God’s word, if you believe that you are the result of natural processes, then who owns you? No one. To whom are you accountable? No one. Who sets the rules? You do. In other words, morality becomes very subjective and moral relativism would pervade the culture.

It’s not that evolution is the cause of moral relativism. It’s not that evolution is the cause of social ills or abortion or whatever. But in this day and age, evolution is one of the main teachings that stops people from believing that the Bible is true. And if you don’t believe that it’s true, you don’t believe it is the absolute authority. If Genesis is not true, than you have no basis for Christian doctrines, anyway.

If you’re not an atheistic evolutionist but a theistic evolutionist, if you say “I believe in evolution but I believe in God,” if it’s the god of the Bible, well, then, there is a problem. Because the Bible teaches man came from dust, woman came from his side. The Bible teaches something different.

Tonight: Dems talk God

So tonight we get Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards at a forum on “faith, values and poverty,” organized by Sojourners (Rev. Jim Wallis’ ministry).

The leading Dems must see this as a golden opportunity to develop religious identities and reach out to people of faith, something that Democrats have been accused of not doing in recent years.

They can’t get a much better forum than this, where they can explain how their faith drives their desire to address poverty and other social ills. My question, as I prepare to watch, is this: Will any of them say anything that surprises anyone, about their understanding of Christianity or their social platforms?

We’ll see. 7 p.m. on CNN.

Three very conservative evangelicals will hold their own forum on politics tomorrow at noon, promising to “contrast significantly” with tonight’s forum. The Rev. Rob Schenck, president of Faith and Action, Norman Geisler, co-founder of Southern Evangelical Seminary, and Bernard Reese, constitutional attorney and conservative Christian philanthropist, are taking part in the much lower profile “Reese Roundtable.”

Of course, they’re not running for president. But they are calling for CNN to present a balanced view of Protestant thinking on politics.

Schenck said in a statement:

“The Reese Roundtable presents enduring biblical truth, evangelical orthodoxy and historic Christian moral teaching. The Sojourners’ panel represents a narrow subset of Christians who straddle between evangelical and liberal Protestant. Their values do not represent mainstream evangelical belief or practice.”

If there is such a thing as mainstream evangelical belief and practice, it’s probably somewhere between the two panels.

Chatting up my book

I had a great visit to Graymoor yesterday afternoon.

It was late in the day, kind of gray and rainy, but about 40 people came out to hear me talk a bit about my new book. I gave a summary and talked a little about my job here, answered about a dozen questions and signed some books.

It was a pleasure, and I’m grateful to the folks at Graymoor for having me.

I’m going to be giving another talk about the book on Thursday, June 14 at 10 a.m. at the Route 22 restaurant in Armonk. I’m told that seating is limited and you have to RSVP. So if you’re interested, please send a note to Karen Croke at kcroke1@lohud.com and that will be that.

I always tell people that I consider myself an old-fashioned newspaper guy and don’t like talking about myself. But I’m kind of getting used to it. Hearing people tell me that they are genuinely interested in the subject of my book really helps.

Conservative Catholics out to get Rudy?

I don’t read the Huffington Post. But a colleague pointed out this “column”:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/31/conservative-catholics-or_n_50251.html about “conservative Catholics” organizing to sink Rudy Giuliani.

I’ve felt for some time that orthodox Catholics will not want to see a self-identifying Catholic who is pro-choice, gay-friendly and several times married becoming the president. I don’t know how exactly Catholics will organize to stop Rudy, but Thomas Edsall’s column rings true to me.

If Rudy’s still near the top of the polls months from now, the bishops will also feel growing pressure to call out Giuliani.

Me, me, me

There’s a terrific “story”:http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070601/LIFESTYLE01/706010327/1031/LIFESTYLE01 about me in today’s Journal News/LoHud.com. Not by me. But about me.

It’s a strange position to me in. The subject.

But I knew I was in good hands. Heather Salerno, an all-around excellent features writer, got the assignment to write something about my new book. We’ve known each other for a long time, so I’m sure it was as strange for her as it was for me.

We had a great interview. (I hope I’ve learned some things from all the interviewees I’ve listened to: Get to the point. Don’t go off on tangents. And on and on.)

It was fun. And the article is right on.

Long-time JN photographer Mark Vergari got to take pictures of me. We were both at the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry last Friday to cover a Buddhist monk who was completing and dismantling a mandala (a work of art made of sand). While we waited for a procession to reach the river, where the mandala would be dumped in a ceremonial way, Mark took pictures of me taking notes. On the beat.

We both got a laugh of it.

By the way, the good people at Graymoor are having an informal reception for me at 4 p.m. on Sunday, which is open to the public. I’ll talk a bit about my book, answer questions and sign a copy or two.

The press release is “here.”:http://www.atonementfriars.org/press/stern_051507.htm Directions are “here”:http://atonementfriars.org/page/directions.htm (basically, Graymoor is on Route 9, just north of the Westchester/Putnam border).