Oct. 5, 2012 at 10:45 PM ET
U.S. Rep. Paul Broun's view that the theories of evolution and the big bang are "lies straight from the pit of Hell" is getting more exposure than he might have expected, thanks to a video that was made at a church-sponsored banquet in Georgia and distributed by a progressive political watchdog group.
The Georgia Republican is already well-known as an outspoken conservative Christian, due in part to his unsuccessful campaign to have 2010 declared "the Year of the Bible." But the latest comments have taken on an extra dab of controversy because Broun, a medical doctor, calls himself a scientist in the video and chairs the House Science Committee's panel on investigations and oversight.
The video clip, distributed by the Bridge Project, was taken from a longer version recorded on Sept. 27 during the 2012 Sportsman's Banquet at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Ga. Here's a transcript of the Bridge Project's snippet:
"God's word is true. I've come to understand that. 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.
"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."
Broun's comments were greeted with applause, and they probably reflect how a lot of his constituents feel about the same issues. He's assured of re-election in any case, due to the fact that he has no Democratic Party challenger in next month's election. But how will Broun's latest pronouncements play out on a national stage? Will they have any effect on the presidential campaign? Feel free to weigh in with your comments below.
Update for 11:35 p.m. ET Oct. 6:The Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald said Meredith Griffanti, a spokeswoman for Broun, referred to the video in this brief, emailed statement: "Dr. Broun was speaking off the record to a large church group about his personal beliefs regarding religious issues."
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Alan Boyle is NBCNews.com's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the log's Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding the Cosmic Log page to your Google+ presence. To keep up with Cosmic Log as well as NBCNews.com's other stories about science and space, sign up for the Tech & Science newsletter, delivered to your email in-box every weekday. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.