Everybody likes giant, roadside dinosaurs — even folks who believe that dinosaurs disprove evolution. Whatever — a T-Rex by the gas pump? Neat-o. Which is why, no doubt, this story on attempts by creationists to use such icons as kitsch as evangelizing tools is today’s most emailed story from the L.A. Times. That, and the fact that campy creationism stories allow readers to think about one of the central anxieties of our time — fundamentalism vs. science — absent the more painful markers of the debate, such as whether LGBT people are, in fact, people, or abominations; or whether women should hold equal power in society, or are biologically made to bow before male headship.
Those questions are downers for all involved. But dinosaurs are fun, which is why variations on this story — that of a creationist theme park — are becoming a new stand-by in religion reporting.
But something’s missing, and it’s not just theological nuance. The ghost in this story isn’t religion, it’s class. What divides conservative Christians who’re horrified by these tacky sermonasaurs and conservative Christians who see them as the best thing since neon crosses? Money. And that’s a subject religion reporters always shy away from.