Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
I’ve been interested in the race for Jamie Eldridge’s open Rep seat in the 37th Middlesex, partly because I know we have a great candidate to replace him, Jen Benson, but also because her opponent is the former “independent,” now Republican, Kurt Hayes (who raised a lot of his money from anti-gay forces where “nearly 40% [of his] itemized contributions come from pro-discrimination donors who live outside of the 37th Middlesex state House district”). Of course, Hayes doesn’t like to admit he’s Republican, neither putting it in prominent display on his little website, nor anywhere on his literature, but he represents some of the worst in Republicans. (I still don’t understand the state Republican tactic - run candidates who are not really moderate. They would fare better if they ran candidates palatable to the average MA voter.)
But, the question needs to be asked, is Kurt Hayes for teaching creationism in schools? Because if he is, I think the voters of 37th Middlesex should know about it.
The question comes up first because of Hayes’ membership in Trinity Church of Bolton (no, it’s not you, their website sucks and is half broken). The tenor of the church is severely fundamentalist, and I have listened to some of the sermons (available in MP3 here). One in particular is quite disturbing, dated July 27, 2008. It starts with a reading of Genesis 1, and then the pastor David Smith begins his sermon with a list of science theories on the origins of the universe dating back to Kant in the 18th century, then goes into some length on the Big Bang Theory (emphasis is his):
The one that perhaps most of us are familiar with would be the Big Bang Theory, it’s about 50 years old now. Became very popular in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and even today, it recieves a lot of funding for those who want to research this particular theory. According to the Big Bang Theory, some 10 to 20 billion years ago, all matter and energy in the universe was compressed into a cosmic egg, or a plasma ball of some sort, consisting of sub-atomic particles and radiation. No one really knows where this cosmic egg came from, but there it was. And for no inexplicable reason, this cosmic egg exploded. As matter and radiation expanded, so this theory says, that it cooled sufficiently for elements to form as protons and neutrons, and electrons, combined to form hydrogen. These gases expanded radially, in all directions, until they collapsed upon themselves in local areas by gravitational attraction, forming an estimated 100 billion galaxies in the universe. How many of you have heard of the Big Bang Theory? I think probably most of us have in some form or fashion.
He then lists the “flaws” with the big bang theory (the one where it expects uniformity, not “clumping”), mentions in passing the Plasma Theory, then says,
There are many other theories of the beginning of the universe which come and go with different passing generations. Now since there was no one there to observe it, we can never know for sure how the world began. Unless there was someone there who could report back to us on how it happened.
And actually there is someone, isn’t there? God himself. And he records for us how he created the heavens and the earth in the book of Genisis. The Bible begins not trying to describe that God existed, it simply states that God exists and the very first verse in the Bible says it this way: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth.” The Book of Genesis stands alone for accounting for the actual creation of space and mass and time continuum.
His conclusion on the age of the earth?
Sometimes we like to try to date it. And certainly from my perspective I know that in a church like Trinity there’s a lot of different views on how old the earth is, and nobody really knows, but from my perspective and looking at the geneologies, even if they are incomplete, from Adam on, if you add a few other people along the way, you come up with an age of the universe of around 10,000 years old. Otherwise the whole geneology is worthless, and it’s pointless. Why in the world would all these names be back to Adam if it wasn’t some kind of at least close approximation of that.
Some crazy stuff. But par for the course for these churches, and certainly he can believe whatever he wants to believe, all evidence to the contrary.
But does Mr. Hayes subscribe to this belief, and if so, does he want our public schools teaching it? There are scattered reports of him approaching voters and telling them he’s for teaching creationism in schools, and given his membership, and indeed, leadership within this church (he’s head of the “Boy’s Brigade” - who came up with that militant name anyway?) it does make you wonder.
No one bothers to ask the question. So I will. Mr. Hayes, are you for or against the teaching of creationism in our public schools?
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