On a recent Moyers and Company broadcast journalist and host Bill Moyers showed a clip of Republican Congressman Paul Broun stating that because he is a Christian he has thrown aside all of his training as a physician and scientist and believes only what the Bible tells him about evolution, climate change and global warming.
Here is the brief segment:
BILL MOYERS: Right now, two powerful belief systems have converged to counter facts staring us right in the face. Just as the number of Americans who question the science of evolution has gone up, so too has the number who deny that global warming is happening, and that human activity is causing it. This, at a time when the global scientific community is more certain than ever that you and I, and everyone else, are helping to turn up the heat and seal our fate. And here’s the scary political reality: on both fronts, evolution and climate change, radical right Republicans have made denial a litmus test. You can see it embodied in this man, Paul Broun, Republican congressman from Georgia, and a physician with strong religious beliefs:
PAUL BROUN: I've come to understand that all that stuff I was taught about evolution, and embryology, and 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 are taught that from understanding that they need a savior. You see there are a lot of scientific data that I 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.
BILL MOYERS: And when he took on the science of global warming, his fellow Republicans in the House of Representatives enthusiastically applauded:
PAUL BROUN on CSPAN: Now we hear all the time about global warming. Well, actually we’ve had a flat line temperatures globally for the last eight years. Scientists all over this world say that the idea of human-induced global climate change is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated out of the scientific community. It is a hoax.
BILL MOYERS: Not true, simply not true. Up to a point, we might agree that Representative Broun’s personal beliefs are his own business, even when he is telling the extremist John Birch Society that this entire concept of man-made global warming is a conspiracy to, and I’m quoting, “destroy America.” But remember, this man is chairman of oversight and investigations for the Science, Space, and Technology Committee of the United States House of Representatives, passing judgment on public policy and science. God help us.
“Lies from the pit of hell.” So says Dr. Broun. To hear a leading Congressman spout this kind of religious fanaticism is breathtaking. And the idea that historical medical findings, documented facts, endless scientific data measurable and authenticated, only exist to keep those who study them from knowing “that they need a savior” expresses a chilling arrogance and stunning small-mindedness.
It is becoming more and more clear to me that perhaps the worst possible thing ever to happen to our system of government was the introduction of highly partisan and deeply fundamentalist religious beliefs into it.
For decades the United States government hummed along pretty well without the intrusion of this current angry militant obsessive religious extremism.
Too many candidates today are judged by a snooty and immature crowd of religiously intolerant voters and fundamentalists who demand total agreement with their own brand of exceedingly narrow views about God, church, Jesus, the Bible, and Christianity.
This wild dogmatism is obscene and ruinous. It has nothing of the heart of Christ in it. It is irreligious, profane, false, impolite, and mean-spirited. And it continues to sow discord and acrimony not just within Congress but all across our nation.
Religion should free us from misleading and damaging ideas about God. It should help us find our way in life and better understand our world. It should show us how to respect ourselves and others, how to lift up the fallen, care for the forgotten, and share the beauty of love’s transforming forces.
It’s not a savior we need now. It’s just plain sanity.
© 2014 Timothy Moody