Ga. Congressman Paul Broun's Evolution Comments Spark 'Darwin for Congress' Campaign
In a tongue-and-cheek political jab, critics of Georgia's Republican Congressman Paul Broun have started a campaign to push famed naturalist Charles Darwin as the write-in candidate against Broun in the upcoming Nov. 6 congressional election.
The small, grassroots campaign was begun by Atlanta-based radio talk show host Neal Boortz, a self-described libertarian political commentator, who said Broun's previous comments about evolution being "straight from the pit of hell" makes the Republican Party look bad.
"It makes Republicans look like knee-dragging, still-tending, tobacco-spitting Neanderthals," Boortz said on his radio show, "The Neal Boortz Show," earlier this week.
Additionally, an Oct. 8 Facebook campaign has been set up to encourage Georgia voters to write-in Charles Darwin.
The Facebook page, entitled "Darwin for Congress," has only gained 1,000 likes, but as the page's description reads, the purpose of the campaign is to "send a message to Paul Broun and his colleagues."
The creator of the Facebook page, Jim Leebens-Mack, a plant biologist at the University of Georgia, told The Associated Press that although the Facebook page is meant to be somewhat of a joke, he hopes it will convince republicans to elect a different congressman into office.
"I'd think the Republican Party would want to put a serious legislator in this seat rather than have Paul Broun," Leebens-Mack told the AP.
Broun, who serves on Georgia's House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, found himself in the middle of controversy when offering his belief concerning evolution at the Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman's Banquet on September 27. The video of this speech was recently posted on YouTube and the Liberty Baptist Church's website.
"All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, the Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell," U.S. Rep. Broun told those in attendance at the banquet at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Ga.
"And it's lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior," Broun added.
Broun went on to tell the students attending the banquet that he believes the Bible is "the manufacturer's handbook. … It teaches us how to run all of public policy and everything in our society."
"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," Broun added.
Broun's comments on evolution reflects the beliefs of Christian creationists, who take the Book of Genesis found in Bible as a literal account of the earth's history. Creationists also believe that the earth was formed in six days, and therefore it is impossible for evolution to have occurred.
Widespread beliefs shared by scientists, however, argue that the earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old. They also believe in the teachings of Charles Darwin, an English naturalist who created the evolutionist theory, which taught the change in inherit generations of species over the course of generations is due to biological factors.
Although Broun's statements are not controversial under the beliefs of creationism, several scientists have come out to contest Broun's statements, and the national backlash has been a contributing factor in the Charles Darwin write-in campaign.
"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," Bill Nye, the popular American scientist/television personality, told The Huffington Post via email after Broun's speech made its way onto YouTube.
A spokesperson for Broun's office told the AP that the congressman, who is a registered medical doctor, "welcomes Mr. Darwin as a challenger and is particularly looking forward to the debate portion of the campaign," adding, "We're sure it will be very lively."
Critics contend that although the Charles Darwin campaign has garnered some attention, it is unlikely Broun will lose his Nov. 6 re-election into the Georgia state Congress, as he currently has no legitimate, and living, Democratic opponent on the ticket.