Dangerous Stuff

emember John Hagee?

He was the freaky and bigoted pastor from Texas whose endorsement John McCain sought in 2008 and whose endorsement he got in 2008 and whose endorsement was eventually rejected by John McCain in 2008 because, well, the guy is part of the Christian Taliban.

This year Hagee is conducting what he calls “40 Days of Prayer,” going on until the election on November 6.  Evangelicals are big on large prayer meetings, especially when a Muslim is sitting in the White’s House. Hagee’s prayer, don’t you know, involves repentance for “the sin of idolatry“:

…we have under the banner of pluralism and hedonism, embraced and worshipped the gods of this world…

Our silence has produced a secular nation and all nations that forget You, shall be forsaken. We ask that You hear our cry, for we need You, in these desperate times, to lead us out of our politically correct fog of constant confusion and take us back to Your moral clarity.

Among the election results Hagee is praying for is the defeat of Barack Obama, although he doesn’t use his name. But we know it is Obama  because, well, just read it for yourself:

O Lord our God, You have promised to raise up righteous leaders into high places and to remove those who have displayed unrighteous authority. We earnestly pray that You will once again exalt the upright and expose the deeds of the ungodly…

We pledge to exercise our God given rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in voting for future leaders from the county courthouse to the White House who obey and honor Your Word.

We pledge to vote the Bible in selecting those that will govern our country.

Gee. I wonder who he means by “remove those who have displayed unrighteous authority“? To which party is he pledging his—and his followers’—vote?

But that last line, “We pledge to vote the Bible” should trouble any thinking American, those that haven’t been poisoned by Talibanic teaching. What the hell does “vote the Bible” mean? What can it mean? The Bible is a rather large book, full of contradictory claims and prescriptions.

Monday night on The Last Word I saw remarks made by another member of the Christian Taliban, but this one is not a loopy pastor in Texas. He is Paul Broun, a Republican who hails from, where else, Georgia. Broun has called President Obama “a Marxist” who “is destroying everything that’s made this country great,” but that’s not what is so disturbing about him.

Broun sits on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.  Yes, Science, Space, and Technology, the same committee with a member named Todd Akin, of legitimate rape and creepy gynecological theory fame.

Just as Pastor Hagee and countless evangelical and fundamentalist Christians do, Paul Broun has a Supreme Boss, an Iron Age book, which leads him to a startling conclusion:

God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that all that stuff I was taught about evolution and Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell.

This would be a good time to remind you that he sits on the Science, Space, and Technology committee in your House of Representatives. More:

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 found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young earth. I don’t believe that the earth is but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.

Science, Space, and Technology, people. More:

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 our public policy and everything in society. That’s the reason as your congressman, I hold the Holy Bible as being the major directions to me of how I live in Washington, D.C, and I’ll continue to do that  [raucous applause].

Besides the obvious, the Science, Space, and Technology committee has jurisdiction over “scientific research, development, and demonstration, and projects therefor,” as its website puts it.

Just why would Republican leadership put men like Todd Akin and Paul Broun on such an important committee? Because evangelicals have taken over control of the Republican Party, my friends. People who think the earth is nine bleeping thousand years old are in positions of power in our government, and are threatening to take the whole damn thing over.

I know these people. I know who they are and how they think and how much they hate anything that contradicts their interpretation of the Bible. This is dangerous stuff in terms of the future of the country. These folks mean business when they say that what science teaches, like evolution and the Big Bang theory, are “lies straight from the pit of hell.” These are not just crowd-pleasing one-liners. Paul Broun means it with all his heart.

And he means it when he says that the Bible will be his guide to governance because “it teaches us how to run all our public policy and everything in society.” The Bible is our teacher. The Bible, a book that is a collection of tales and claims written by ignorant and scientifically illiterate men living in an age when the wheelbarrow represented an advancement in technology and a time when men scribbled their divine thoughts on papyrus.

I have said this countless times, but I will continue to say it. We, you and me and other Americans not shackled by Iron Age theology, have to mount an aggressive rhetorical offensive against these fundamentalist reactionaries whenever and wherever we encounter them, on the street, in the workplace, in school, or, uh, in church. I repeat: this is dangerous stuff.

It’s our job as good citizens to point out the scandal of a Paul Broun, who thinks climate change is a hoax, or a Todd Akin, who thinks women have special rape-sperm recognition devices, sitting on, dare I say it again, the Science, Space, and Technology committee in this the twenty-first century.

Mainstream journalists won’t do it. Most politicians won’t do it. We The Thinking People have to help scientists defend science, as Bill Nye, commenting on Paul Broun’s claims, is doing:

Since the economic future of the United States depends on our tradition of technological innovation, Representative Broun’s views are not in the national interest. For example, the Earth is simply not 9,000 years old. He is, by any measure, unqualified to make decisions about science, space, and technology.

Unqualified, and dangerous.

Watch another Republican congressman invoke the Bible in a discussion about public policy followed by Paul Broun:

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