About once a week, I get an email from a group that purports to be in direct contact with God. Nothing unusual there; a great many people, me included, believe they have regular conversations with their Creator.
What makes these missives different is that they claim God is telling them the United States is about to be destroyed by terrorist cells planted in the country.
The pieces go into great detail, including supposedly quoting God at great length – complete with lots of “yea, verilies,” which I’m pretty sure even God finds dated. And I’m certain they’re as phony as the radio preacher who last year claimed the world was about to be destroyed. Twice. (It wasn’t.)
Most of us probably laugh that sort of thing off as a product of the overzealous fringe. But how do we take bizarre comments from our own congressman?
A video of U.S. Rep. Paul Broun’s speech to the 2012 Sportsman’s Banquet at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Ga., recently picked up news coverage. Among other comments, Broun – a medical doctor – called evolution, embryology and the “big bang” theory “lies straight from the pit of hell.”
He went on to espouse “young earth” theory, which claims the planet is less than 10,000 years old despite all evidence to the contrary.
Now, our community is full of smart people, including a great many physicians and researchers with far more substantial medical and scientific experience than Broun. Most of those people are probably groaning in dismay to hear their congressman make such scientifically absurd (and, in some cases, even biblically suspect) claims.
“Dr. Broun was speaking off the record to a large church group about his personal beliefs regarding religious issues,” his spokesman responded via email to a question from a reporter.
Let me translate: “Dr. Broun never expected his comments to leave the room.”
Heck, I’ll go even further: Either Broun earned his medical degree by mail-order, or he doesn’t believe a single word he said.
I’m pretty sure he has a legitimate degree – he did, after all, spend time right here at the Medical College of Georgia – so I’m going with the latter explanation.
Simply put: Broun is pandering, saying what that audience wanted to hear.
Is this what we’ve come to? We’re OK with disingenuous politicians as long as they mouth the right words? If so, why should we be surprised to hear that John Barrow cuts pro-Obama ads for use in the black community, and pro-Republican ads for white audiences?
I sure do miss Charlie Norwood. He said what he meant and he meant what he said. He was a physician, too – and I’m pretty sure he never dismissed all that science and book learnin’ as just a tool of the devil.
God help us.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. Email barry.paschal@newstimes online.com, or call 706-863-6165, extension 106. Follow at twitter.com/