I haven't written about the Paul Broun controversy before, since it's been widely covered on other blogs, but now that something (even if trivial) is being done about it, I thought it would be important to spread the word. This is one of the most important things I've posted about in a long time, so I do hope you'll read to the end and seriously consider signing the petition to remove him from his current position.
Just a few weeks ago, Representative Broun (R-GA) said this in a speech to his constituents:
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.
(requoted from the Bad Astronomer)
Now, I'm not going to argue that this statement violates the separation of church and state encoded in the First Amendment. The whole point of that amendment is that everyone has a right to practice their choice of religion, and so there's nothing wrong with a person holding Christian beliefs. But what Representative Broun says here goes beyond that, for two critically unforgivable reasons:
But wait, there's more!
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.
I am going to argue that this statement violates the separation of church and state. Because it does. The entire point of the First Amendment is to prevent our government from instituting laws based on any one religion.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Simply by making these statements, Representative Broun has come dangerously close to violating one of our most important laws. This is the kind of behavior that potentially deserves impeachment proceedings. When a government official doesn't uphold the laws that regulate the performance of his official duties, he needs to be removed from office. The American people shouldn't tolerate such blatant powermongering.
At this point I'm running out of coherent things to write, simply because seeing this sort of bullshit from a political official makes me that mad. So I'll wrap it up here, and while I'm not going to tell anyone what to think, I really hope you'll agree that something needs to be done about Representative Broun's status. If you do, please go sign the online petition to remove him from the Science Committee. It doesn't carry any legal weight or anything like that, but with enough endorsements it will make the point that a lot of people see something seriously wrong going on, and that's sure to inspire some more substantive action.