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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mr. Ham responds to my “pope” comment. Kind of.

I originally published the following post in my personal blog. I am now (in 2016) republishing here those articles from my blog that have to do with the focused subject matter of biblical questions and faith. --JAH

NOTE: I write here on my own account. This is my personal blog. I am and have been largely disengaged from Sonlight Curriculum for over five years. I am still a co-owner. I do take an interest in the company's success. I also seek to stand by my wife, the president of the company, who is still involved—very involved—on a day-to-day, strategic and detailed basis. I hate it when men like Ken Ham come along and make false claims about Sonlight, the company of which my wife is president and the curriculum she has written and whose content she oversees.


I received an email notice about a comment on my last post at 1:18 this afternoon. Then another, moments later. And a third seven minutes after that. And a fourth 13 minutes later. . . .

“Whoa! Someone must have posted about my post!” I thought. “I wonder who?”

By 3:15, I had received eight notices. And then I got a phone call from some people at the Sonlight Curriculum office: “Ken Ham wrote a response to your blog post , and now people are commenting on our Facebook page. They think Sonlight wrote something about Mr. Ham, but, obviously, we didn't. It was you. . . . And we don’t know how to respond. . . .”

I said I would have to look at what Mr. Ham wrote . . . and look at the posts on the Sonlight Facebook page to see what, if anything, I could or should write in response.

I found that Mr. Ham concluded the opening paragraph in his post with a question: “Why would [John Holzmann] name-call like this?”

It’s “funny” that he would ask such a question, considering our (his and my) long history.

ANSWER TO KEN HAM’S QUESTION: It has to do with his repeated bearing of false testimony against me and against the company that I happen to have co-founded (still co-own, and, as a co-owner, still take an interest in). It has to do with the fact that his repeated and very public false testimonies against me and against Sonlight Curriculum over the years have quite successfully consigned the company my wife heads and of which I am part-owner to some rather searing flames of public disapprobation.

In essence, as far as I can tell, Ken Ham's behavior—and the effects of his behavior—are very much like those of the medieval popes. And so I spoke of him in such terms.

It has been my longstanding belief and attitude that most evangelicals nowadays are able to agree that—even though they may strongly differ on matters like baptism or eschatology—they grant fellow believers space on these issues. They grant that these brothers and sisters might possibly have some good reasons to view the Bible’s teachings on these subjects from alternative perspectives.

But granting space is not Mr. Ham’s way. At least not when it comes to his interpretation of Genesis 1-11. After all, from his perspective, he isn't really interpreting Genesis 1-11; he is "merely" telling you what it means. Because he knows what it means.

Kind of the way the Pope, apparently--at least when speaking ex cathedra--infallibly knows and speaks the Truth.

Kind of.
And so I referred to Mr. Ham as a kind of pope.

It is my understanding that popes have—or had—the power of life and death over those they ruled. Based on the decisions that the popes made, someone’s teachings could be declared heretical. And if someone’s teaching was declared heretical: woe unto him! He was a social outcast at best, a dead man at worst.
And it seems that that is the kind of power Mr. Ham wields. He speaks . . . and people (and companies) pay some very heavy prices, whether Mr. Ham speaks accurately or not.

Yep. Being cast into the outer darkness of the evangelical Christian homeschool community as I and Sonlight Curriculum have been by Mr. Ham and those who follow him . . . on the grounds of his quick-to-condemn say-so alone: It’s pretty hard to take.

I pray you never get caught crosswise with someone who has as much clout in the public sphere as Ken Ham obviously has, someone who might misrepresent you and your views as Mr. Ham has repeatedly misrepresented me and Sonlight Curriculum through the years.

IN CONCLUSION: Please forgive me for failing to honor Mr. Ham the way I, myself, would want to be honored. I believe he acts like a pope and bears a lot of the power of a pope (whether he is fully aware of that power or not). But I certainly didn't need to call him a pope or speak of him--as I did--as "Pope Ham."

I would like to beg forgiveness for failing to act with appropriate graciousness. My failure in this regard has no justification

At the same time, I would like to appeal to a few of the people who have (appropriately) called me on the carpet for my behavior to please appeal to him to publicly apologize for and, in future, refrain from the egregious and repeated name-calling and false testimonies he has made (and, obviously, as of a few weeks ago, has continued to make) about me and/or about Sonlight Curriculum. (In case you are unaware, you can see a relatively decent summary of his history in that regard here; actual history begins with the sentence that begins, It was very obvious that; but don't ignore this additional post, either. Do a search for Remember the first article Answers in Genesis published that referenced me? That really does give you the first part of the story.)


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