What Has CreationLetter.com Accomplished?
In December 2008, I founded CreationLetter.com with the aim of providing a Biblical creationist response to atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman’s Clergy Letter Project. At the time, the Clergy Letter had nearly 12,000 signatures. In the 8 years since, Zimmerman’s NOMA-based Letter has gained about 1400 more signatures. Since 2006, Zimmerman has also promoted Evolution Sundays (and later Evolution Weekend).
Here’s a basic breakdown of participation over the years:
Not exactly a pattern of spectacular growth. Answers in Genesis rightly characterized Zimmerman’s efforts as “An Atheist’s Fizzle.”
To be fair, though I haven’t really kept track of numbers for several years, my efforts to provide an answer to Zimmerman’s Letter and his Evolution Weekend have met with a small amount of support. I suspect that the reason for this is that [a] I’ve been rather passive in promoting CreationLetter.com and CreationSundays.com (What can I say? I’m just one man in West Virginia and I have a life outside of this project), and [b] the sort of conservative Christianity that has an interest in actively defending the historical veracity of Genesis is deeply fragmented. The doctrine of secondary separation (the idea that we must not be unequally yoked with unbelievers, apostates and heretics nor those who do not separate themselves from such) has become a pernicious source of schism within the Body of Christ. Alt-fundamentalists (i.e., hyper-fundamentalists, ultraconservatives, Bob Jones separationists, Modern-day Pharisees and Judaizers, and legalists by any other name) have hijacked the doctrine of separation far beyond what Jesus Himself practiced… meaning that if they were consistent they’d have to separate themselves from Jesus too! There is also (sadly) a sort of proprietary view of such efforts among major creationist organizations. Basically this means that many creationist organizations won’t support each other’s efforts or support a project jointly. It has to be their project, more or less.
I digress. The point is that there are Christians who affirm Biblical Creationism but who will not lend support to any venture that either [a] does not have a detailed beliefs statement and/or [b] has any point of doctrinal difference. Statistics show that Biblical [young earth] creationism has more public support than theistic evolution. According to Gallup polls beginning in 1982, an average of 44% of Americans espouse the view that God created everything over six days less than 10,000 years ago compared to nearly 40% who hold the theistic evolutionist position implied in atheist Michael Zimmerman’s Clergy Letter Project. Only about 14% affirm the sort of all-natural evolution taught exclusively in our public schools. So statistically, unless Zimmerman’s padding his numbers with atheists (and he is), if the level of support for the Clergy Letter (which implies a belief in theistic evolution) is 13,400, the level of support for a Biblical creationist letter should be 14,740.
Alas, this is far from the case with CreationLetter.com. Despite national recognition each year for our CreationSundays.com outreach and despite being promoted by a major creationist organization (Answers in Genesis), the current number of signatures is merely 383. This means I’ve only been able to secure 0.025% of all potential signatories. So CreationLetter.com hasn’t been very effective, numerically speaking.
On the other hand, we have been able to answer the hubris of Zimmerman’s efforts. For example, we’ve pointed out that many of those who’ve signed his pro-evolution letter are rank apostates. We’ve also noted how many of the churches slated to celebrate an Evolution Sunday were doing nothing of the sort! More importantly, we’ve dissected the Letter itself to highlight it’s logical and Scriptural flaws.
Which brings up one other thing that CreationLetter.com has consistently done: we’ve challenged the way Dr. Michael Zimmerman misrepresents the significance of the Clergy Letter Project. He has used the Letter as a bully club over the years to suggest a greater level of support for evolution in the church than actually exists, to suggest that the creation/evolution debate is just an in-house argument, and, more recently, to suggest that at over 13,000 ministers support various things that he himself supports. For example, in a recent blog post, he claims that over the past year the “Clergy Letter Project” condemned Islamophobia and homophobia, made its first ever political endorsement, and sent an open letter to the Secretary-Designate of the US Department of Education “urging her to respect the religious differences present across the country and not privilege the beliefs of a small minority.”
Um, waitaminute. Didn’t we just note that, statistically speaking, a belief in all-natural evolution is the view of a small minority? Oh, that’s right; he’s misrepresenting Biblical creationism as a minority view again. Silly atheist.
Inarguably, “thousands of ministers” didn’t do any of these things. Zimmerman just did it in the name of the Clergy Letter Project.
And this is why we will continue the effort at CreationLetter.com. Michael Zimmerman and his Clergy Letter Project cannot continue to make their claims unchecked.
If we accomplish nothing else but an expose’ of the errors and hubris of Zimmerman’s efforts, we will have provided a service to mankind and the church. Yet we’ve done more than that. CreationSundays.com is an internationally recognized effort that was built into the Creation Letter. The fact that many churches now dedicate an annual church service to the doctrine of Biblical Creationism is one of my proudest achievements.
Going forward, we promise to continue to promote Creation Sundays and to expose the lies of Dr. Zimmerman and his Clergy Letter of compromise.