why fundamentalist evangelical republican politicians scare me (and should scare you too)

Georgia Congressman Paul Broun

Georgia Congressman Paul Broun, standing in front of a wall of mounted animal heads, tells the Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman’s Banquet that he does not believe in “evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory”, which he defines as “lies straight from the pit of Hell”. Broun is a Republican representative on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

This is the US Congressman from Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, Dr. Paul Broun. He is a member of the Republican Party and the Tea Party Caucus.

He recently gave a speech to the “Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman’s Banquet” (yes, THAT exists, I kid you not) on September 27, 2012, in Hartwell, Georgia. (This explains the WALL OF MOUNTED ANIMAL HEADS that serves as a backdrop for the Congressman.)

Watch a clip of the speech:

Here is the transcript of what he said:

God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior. You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.

And what I’ve come to learn is that it’s the manufacturer’s handbook, is what I call it. It teaches us how to run our lives individually, how to run our families, how to run our churches. But it teaches us how to run all of public policy and everything in society. And that’s the reason as your congressman I hold the Holy Bible as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington, D.C., and I’ll continue to do that.

Now, I’ve come to accept that there are some people on this earth that will NEVER accept science, no matter how logical, rational, or intellectually compelling it is because they are not interested in facts; they are interested in maintaining the beliefs and worldview compiled thousands of years ago by desert nomads. But this is not the problem.

Every American has every right to be religious. And every American has every right to make religious speech (just not in places where others are compelled to listen to it or participate in it, like public schools). And every American has the right, if they so choose, to deny reality. You can argue that aliens created human technology, Santa Claus, whatever – you have that right.

Every American, if they so choose, can choose to deny basic science, facts, and data. That too is OK…foolish, but within one’s constitutional rights. Likewise, every American has the right to elect as their representative someone reflects their skewed, ancient, and defunct worldview – a representative who also denies facts and information that science provides. Therefore, even though such behavior is utterly foolish IMHO, Americans have the right to believe what they want, deny reality if they want, and elect someone as their representative who reflects the denial of science, facts, and reality. It’s foolish, but they have these rights as Americans. This too is not the problem.

The real problem, and what frustrates me to no end, is that the Republican Party would place someone like Paul Broun, who obviously has a disdain for science and the factual reality of the world around us, to THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, SPACE, AND TECHNOLOGY! Forget the fact that he’s been married four times. Forget the fact that he’s a Conservative Evangelical. These aren’t the problem. The problem is that, based upon his fundamentalist religious convictions, he DENIES the fundamental tenets of science. Yet, despite this, the Republicans named him the CHAIR of the SCIENCE SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS AND OVERSIGHT!

The Republicans bring this upon themselves.

While I’m sure the Medical College of Georgia is embarrassed to have Dr. Broun represent them as an alum who rejects the “lies” of basic medical disciplines like “embryology” and other tenets of basic science, they can’t help what he chooses to believe and deny today. But the Republicans can! The Republicans do themselves a major disservice when they promulgate the perception – one rightly deserved – that they are anti-science, and that they are anti-science precisely because they are conservative Evangelicals.

Do you see the problem? The Republicans don’t have to promote a scientifically ignorant congressman to the Committee on Science. Yet, they do. Thus, the Republicans completely deserve to continue to be chided as the party of anti-intellectualism and anti-science, because they continue to elevate people who see no possible compatibility between their faith and the reality of the worldview that basic science has provided. For fundamentalist Evangelical Republicans, faith and science are an either-or choice. And they choose faith. And that’s OK. But that the GOP elevates them and puts them in places of authority over budgets and curriculum for science and technology, this is the problem.

I shake my head.

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20 Responses

  1. One thing I forgot to mention: Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin is also a Republican on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

  2. Please, Doc, bear something in mind. The Fundies only make up a small part of the party….I, for one, am an agnostic – yet still very much GOP. I realize that it was a really dumb idea to put this pinhead in the position he occupies. All I ask is that you please not tar us all with the same brush. This moron is an aberration, not a representation.

  3. “beliefs and worldview compiled thousands of years ago by desert nomads”

    Desert nomads would not have known how to be “anti-science”. Is not the fundamentalist worldview quite different from that of 1000s of years ago. The desert nomad would be responding to the desert, and to the wonder of life in it. The problem with fundamentalism is that they take a technique – selective reading – as their God and they respond in ignorance of the desert nomad as well as in ignorance of the life around them.

  4. What you report seems unreal!
    However……

    OPENING STATEMENT
    The Honorable Paul Broun (R-GA), Chairman
    Subcommittee on Investigations & Oversight
    Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
    Federally Funded Research: Examining Public Access and Scholarly Publication Interests
    March 29, 2012

    So recently the Honorable Broun was concerned about the credibility of “Scholarly Publications”. How bizarre!

    Jim Fleming

  5. Reblogged this on okieprogressive.

  6. You really need to look at creation science seminars at conservative evangelical/ fundamentalist churches to understand these statements. Anything disagreeing with “inerrancy” of scripture is viewed as a Satanic deception, including radiocarbon dating.

  7. After years of debating fundies I still get surprised. This is the first I’ve heard embryology per se was a lie from hell. I can only guess he’s referring to Haeckel.

    Regardless, it’s insane to have this loon on a science committee.

    j

  8. [...] Bob Cargill shares why fundamentalist Evangelical Republicans scare him. They scare me too! [...]

  9. I’d note one other thing, a B.S. in chemistry and a medical degree doesn’t make one a scientist. In a quickie review of his congressional biography page I failed to find mention of any peer reviewed papers.

    j

  10. Yes, Recapitulation Theory was my guess too.

  11. [...] days that congressman Paul Broun described evolution, the big bang theory, and embryology as “lies from the pit of hell.” Here is the video: In terms of initial plausibility, which is more likely: that the vast [...]

  12. One of my fellow engineers at work is a fundamentalist. He refuses to believe in radiocarbon dating or evolution. He believes that the Bible is literally true and ignores any evidence to the contrary. Some of the arguments he comes up with are creative, such as every existing species has descended from earlier ones. This is not evolution though as it only involves information loss not gain.

    I called him on all this once. I asked him how he could consider himself a scientist if he doesn’t believe in radiocarbon dating since it is based on the same basic scientific principles he learned in school and uses at work. His replay was that he was an engineer and not a scientist. He was very offended and I backed off.

    He is a good engineer though and works with me on most of my projects. I have a hard time though seeing how one can use scientific principles at work and then ignore them outside of work.

  13. This kind of stuff frustrates me too. You know, George Washington is said to have told Jefferson that the framers had created the Senate to “cool” House legislation just as a saucer was used to cool hot tea. The House has always been a rowdy bunch and the Senate is a fairly good check, even with all the Senate Republican obstructionism of late. Mitch McConnell is a smart man – one who I disagree with venomously – but from what I’ve seen, he’s committing to keeping the Tea Partiers and Moral Majority radicals out of the Senate or under-wraps. So I guess the nuance that I would add is that the Republican House is a hot mess and the Senate is a bit more dignified. From the outside, it may all look the same- but there’s quite a bit of tension even within the party. Personally I’d like to see Democrats exploit this tension more strategically.

  14. Wait ’til this Christian Congressman figgers out that them-thar atheistical scientists (with them fancy-schmancy “terms” and “words” and “degrees”) are a-sayin’ that th’ earth revolves around th’ sun and not vice versa, like it says in the Bible (and as the prosecutors of Galileo correctly claimed was in the Bible).

    Likely he’ll claim that those thangs are from the pit o’ Hell, too. yep, yep.

    Seriously, folks: I go with the old saying: “Keep religion out of our schools and keep facts out of our churches”

  15. This story is spreading, yesterday the Wall Street Journal picked it up. I got in something of a fight about it last night, my opponent was quick to label this blog as “biased” and refused to accept the transcript as valid.

    Sooo, I went to Liberty’s site and listened to that windbag for maybe 20 minutes to verify the remarks, by which time the dialog had moved on and no one was interested…muh brane still herts !

    j

  16. [...] + "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js"; document.getElementById("fb-root").appendChild(e); }()); Bob Cargill has the video from a speech by US Congressman from Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, Dr. [...]

  17. [...] “Congressman Paul Broun’s Lies From the Pit of Hell“Robert Cargill: “Why fundamentalist evangelical Republican politicians scare me (and should scare you too)“Greg Mayer: “What’s the matter with embryology?“Steve Wiggins: [...]

  18. The Repubicans also scare away many of us non-white non-evangelicals.  I am Muslim with plenty of Sikh, Buddhist, Agnostic and even black Christian friends who are terrified of Republicans. In fact, many of us are pro-life and socially conservative but will never force our beliefs on others or ever vote Republican because we know it will take away the rights of others and ultimately ours. Plus, it’s mainly a white supremist party.

    In fact, the main non-Evangelical Repubican voters I see are greedy businessmen, Zionist Jews and fanatical right wing Hindu nationalists (who share a love of Israel and hate Muslims).  Not a good way to build a block- with greedy and racist people.

  19. Addendum : 1 idiot congressman + 4000 thousand Georgians = priceless.

    J

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