Ken Ham: If you don’t take the Bible literally, there’s no reason to wear clothes

Ken Ham, the Australian chinstrap who is perhaps most famous for getting schooled by Bill Nye for over two hours about the origins of life, claimed last week that if you don’t take the Bible literally and use it as a rationale to ban same-sex marriage, then what’s the point of wearing clothes?

As Ham said:

Think about the issue of marriage, because that’s a big one in our culture right now. If the history in Genesis is not true, then how do you define marriage? What do we do with marriage? In Matthew 19, when Jesus was asked about marriage, he said, “Haven’t you read, ‘He made them at the beginning male and female’?” And by the way, that’s another issue today: gender distinction. Jesus’ gender distinction — male and female — right from the beginning, and he says, “When a man leaves his father and mother and cleave unto your wife and you will be one flesh” based on the fact that the woman came from the man…And so the doctrine of marriage is based there upon the literal history of Genesis. But if that history is not true — if there was no literal Adam and Eve — then what is marriage? Why is it to be a man and a woman? It’s only a man and a woman because God invented marriage…

Ken Ham, via Wikimedia Commons

Ken Ham, via Wikimedia Commons

And even think about the issue of clothing. The origin of clothing is right there in Genesis. God gave coats of skins to Adam and Eve because of sin. Personally, I believe that was the first blood sacrifice as a covering for their sin…but if you abandon Genesis’s literal history for marriage and say marriage can be two men or two women or whatever you want, well why not abandon clothing? And even in this nation right now, we see a movement…with some women’s groups in various parts of the country where they’re saying “If men can take their tops off, why can’t we?” and why not? I mean, where do you draw the line, unless there’s an absolute authority that says why not?

As Hemant Mehta pointed out, since this apparently needed to be pointed out, “According to one study, clothing’s been around for roughly 170,000 years, long before the mythological Adam and Eve ever existed.” We don’t wear clothes because God told us to; we wear them because they protect us from the elements. And because we have flair.

With arguments like these, it’s hard to imagine how these guys think they’re going to win back the hearts and minds of a country that’s moving steadily away from them on questions of morality and corresponding public policy. They don’t seriously expect this to sound anything other than ridiculous to someone who doesn’t already agree with them, right?


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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