December 2012 Church & State | People & Events

U.S. Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) has strong opinions about modern science and isn’t afraid to share them.

Speaking at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Ga., Sept. 27, Broun blasted evolution and the Big Bang theory, calling them “lies straight from the pit of hell.”

Broun, a physician, was addressing a banquet of hunting enthusiasts when he decided to go off on a religious tangent. His remarks were videotaped, and Broun can be heard saying, “God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. It’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

Observed Broun, “There’s a lot of scientific data that I found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I believe that the Earth is about 9,000 years old. I believe that 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,” Broun continued. “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 our 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.,”  he concluded, “and I’ll continue to do that.”

Broun sits on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, which made his remarks all the more alarming to many people. His comments were reported by the Associated Press and were circulated widely on the Web and through social media.

Broun’s spokeswoman, Meredith Griffanti, told the Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald that Broun was merely expressing a personal view.

“Dr. Broun was speaking off the record to a large church group about his personal beliefs regarding religious issues,” she said.

Broun had no opponent in the November election, so Jim Leebens-Mack, a plant biologist at the University of Georgia, started a Facebook page urging people to write in Charles Darwin.

“I’d think the Republican Party would want to put a serious legislator in this seat rather than have Paul Broun,” Leebens-Mack told the AP.

The pro-Darwin Facebook page quickly won about 1,500 “likes,” and on Election Day, Darwin received about 4,000 votes.