Paul Broun, an elected member of the U.S. House of Representatives, made some remarks this week at a Banquet in Hartwell, GA, which I would love to highlight.
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 its lies to try to keep me and all folks… from understanding that they need a savior.
He went on to say that he believes that the Earth is 9000 years old, and even had the audacity to call himself, “a scientist.”
Fill in the blank: “I hold the ____ as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington D.C.” If you guessed (or hoped?) that blank was the “Constitution,” you would be wrong. He stated that the Holy Bible would dictate how he decides upon matters of U.S. public policy.
Now here’s the kicker: Paul Broun is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.Broun makes decisions affecting the status of American scientific policy, yet he has clearly rejected the most fundamental principles of science and critical thought. Take a moment to let this sink in.
Broun makes clear that he believes he has a hold on what is scientific fact (by blatantly ignoring empirical evidence), and believes that he knows and follows the “literal” meaning of the New Testament. We live in a society that speaks often of “literalism” – the “literal meaning of the text.” There is no such thing as the literal meaning of a text. There is no literal meaning to any text. You will understand the words I write differently from anyone else. All texts are subjectively interpreted.
Adding a layer, Paul Broun, I suspect, is working from a translation, not the original text of the Christian New Testament, unless of course the man just happens to be fully conversant in Koine Greek. As the Italians say, “traduttore, traditore” – the translation is a traitor. Adding yet another layer, Professor Bart Ehrman, scholar of New Testament, explains that there are so many versions of the New Testament that, “…there are more differences among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament” (Misquoting Jesus, p. 10).
When someone speaks of the “literal meaning of the text” they are in essence saying: my interpretation, and mine alone, is valid. Any school of thought that, without prejudice, dictates that all other schools of thought are necessarily wrong is inherently dangerous. This is the path to censorship, close-mindedness, ignorance, and bigotry. People like Paul Broun might be innocuous in other settings, but as elected member of Congress, this man threatens the beliefs that founded this nation.
There is currently a petition to remove Rep. Broun from the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. I urge in the strongest possible way, to sign it.
By: Jonah Scheinerman
(Photo by USDAgov under a Creative Commons license)