The Secular Coalition of Australia have published an open letter to Bill Nye, otherwise known as 'The Science Guy', who will be participating in a debate against Ken Ham. Ham is a Christian fundamentalist involved with projects such as the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. He will be debating Bill Nye, a popular science educator and television host.
We're sorry. We're really sorry.
We know how you American rationalists think of us Aussies. You think we're all so busy clinging on to the bottom of the world with our fingertips that we don't have time to waste concerning ourselves with silly creationist ideas - that we're a haven of straightforward logical thinking, secular education, free healthcare and good-looking half-clothed beach bunnies.
But we're really sorry, Bill - Ken Ham is our fault, and it's time we took responsibility for him. We, the people of Australia, have allowed our zealots to escape to your fair shores. It's not just Ham, either. Fine specimens like Gary Bates, who left for the forgiving climes of Georgia, still manages to send his tentacled pods back over the Pacific and feed our kids rubbish about how the earth is only 6000 years old - a particular head-scratcher for our Indigenous population, whose families have been here since 50,000 BCE. I mean, talk about breathtakingly rude.
We've been slack, Bill. Our practically secular society let us get complacent; we didn't notice years ago, when the scripture classes that had slid in sideways last century were commandeered by proselytising evangelicals who set about “making disciples” of our children. We let slide our government handing over of wads of tax dollars to create a raft of fundamentalist religious schools who teach kids the kind of hogwash that you will have to endure from Ken Ham in your debate. In fact, Bill, just this week, when Professor Marion Maddox nailed a copy of her exemplary new book Taking God To School to our doors, it was a stark reminder of just how much we'd let our secular-ish, sunburnt paradise go. And now, any attempt to reverse the process has been met with squealing about "our Christian heritage" from people who often don't understand either Christianity OR heritage.
To our shame, decades of preoccupation with things like Olympic medal tallies and football players has made Australia into the “Typhoid Mary” of Creationism: we were rubbishing America for its anti-evolutionists and didn’t even notice that we were the ones exporting young-earth evangelism to your great nation, where unfortunately there is no tariff on craziness. We are so, so sorry.
So on Tuesday, when you're roasting the Ham and his patently ridiculous ideas on the rotisserie of logic, tell him you've got a message from Australia. Tell him from us that we used his state-issued Akubra hat to cover a hole in the national chookhouse shed, that he is no longer entitled to use his formal Australian name (Kenno) and that he is now forbidden any Tim Tams - ever again. Also, that whenever his name comes up at Christmas, while we sit around drinking white wine in the sun, there will be a formal awkward silence of twenty to forty seconds, until someone brightly offers everyone pudding. And if you could manage to kick him in the shins and tell him and his ilk to leave our kids alone, Bill - we'd owe you one.
Secular Coalition of Australia (SECOA)
on behalf of the sensible people of Australia.
P.S. We take no responsibility for Ray Comfort. He's a Kiwi.