Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Adventures of Paul and Todd

I don’t personally know Paul Broun. I’ve heard he’s a doctor, though to my relief  I understand he’s not actually a practicing physician. He’s a Republican, a representative from the great state of Georgia, and he believes that the earth was created in six days by God some 9000 years ago. He believes this very firmly, going so far as to tell a crowd at a church banquet that anything deviating from this theory is “lies straight from the pit of hell.”

“God’s word is true,” Broun said, according to a video posted on the church’s website.   "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."

In case anyone doubted the depth of his beliefs, he added, “"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."

Rep. Broun, aside from being a physician, also has a B.S. in chemistry. In his speech, he credited the Bible with governing his approach to government. “What I’ve come to learn is that it’s the manufacturer’s handbook, is what I call it,” he said. “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.”

Honestly, I pretty much don’t care what a person believes.  For centuries, a lot of folks thought the world was balanced on the back of a giant turtle supported by four standing elephants. At about the same time, people in Europe thought the earth was the center of the universe, and you could be burned as a heretic if you held other views.

What bothers me, I guess, is that Representative Broun is a highly-placed member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee HSSTC). In fact, he’s the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight which “has general and special investigative authority on all matters within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

That raised some concerns. And when I found out Representative Todd Akin, a Republican from Missouri is also a member of the HSSTC, I gave up all semblance of calm. Akin, you might remember, is the gentleman who said that women don't get pregnant from "legitimate rape" because their bodies have "ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

The exact quote was:  "From what I understand from doctors, that's really rare," Akin said of pregnancy caused by rape. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist."

Akin’s statements are harder to forgive than Broun’s, possibly because they’re even more outrageous and cannot be ascribed to a faith of rock-hard density, and possibly because the Missouri Congressman (and Senatorial candidate) has a comb-over that is famous throughout the Washington area, a place that generally feels people with comb-overs should keep their opinions to themselves.

What I think is that the doctor Akin refers to when speaking about rape and pregnancy is Dr. Paul Broun. It’s the only thing that makes sense. They probably met someplace on Capitol Hill, which is a rather small area with a lot of comb-overs, and they recognized in each other kindred spirits. Then they decided to take over the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

By now, all of us should be shuddering.   


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