Monday, June 28, 2010


Barefoot and Progressive posts video of Rand Paul's appearance at the Christian Homeschool Educators of Kentucky conference last week, where he was asked at least one uncomfortable question:

... the first questioner ask[s] Rand how old the earth is, and Rand completely dodg[es] the question.

So what are we to make of this? Is Rand hiding the fact that he believes in saddled dinosaurs from the general public, as he knew people were there recording him? Or is he afraid to call out these conservative allies as total lunatics?

Interesting questions that I don't know the answer to. Somebody should ask him, as I think voters deserve to know if a candidate believes that saddled dinosaurs roamed the earth 6,000 years ago.

PZ Myers says,

Silly man. These were Christian homeschoolers in Kentucky. Everyone knows that on that planet, the correct answer is "6000 years".

Well, maybe. But apparently you get partial credit with the religious right if you say what George W. Bush said in 2000:

"I think that, for example, on the issue of evolution, the verdict is still out on how God created the earth," he said....

Apparently, if you're right-wing enough, and you invoke Jesus enough, you're allowed to question the 6000-year calendar.

And it's not just Bush who talks like that. After Mike Huckabee raised his hand in a GOP presidential debate a couple when asked if he doesn't believe in evolution, he clarified his answer in a subsequent debate, saying that he believes in God, and, well, you can easily find a presidential candidate who doesn't believe in God if that's what you want (really, Mike? you can?), but he's not that candidate -- yet he's simply not prepared to say how long the earth has been here. He knows that in the beginning God made the heavens and the earth, just not when.

Rand Paul's dad, in this clip from the '08 campaign, says something similar -- he doesn't believe in evolution, but he's not sure how old the earth is.

I wouldn't think that was an acceptable hedge, but these guys get a lot of Bible-thumper votes, so there you are. Rand's just using a time-honored dodge.


Barefoot and Progressive also notes this:

Also of interest is this question about the "Parental Rights Amendment" and the United Nations, which I had never heard of before. According to the fliers passed around the convention, these people believe that the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child is a global plot to outlaw homeschooling, spanking, and raising your children in the religion you choose. FEAR!!!

But it's good to know that Rand Paul supports this, as he's never one to pass on a conspiracy theory designed to scare people about the hoard of villainous dark people coming to destroy your life and liberty.

Well, he's far from unique in that -- the Texas Republican platform (PDF) says, "We unequivocally oppose the United States Senate ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which would transfer jurisdiction over parental rights and responsibilities to international bureaucracies," and there's been a similar provision in the state party platform since at least 2004. Phyllis Schlafly has been denouncing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child since at least 1993. Jesse Helms also opposed it. A bill opposing ratification recently passed both houses of the Tennessee legislature overwhelmingly. The Heritage Foundation opposes it. So does Concerned Women for America.

The notion that this treaty is scary and a vast global conspiracy to erode U.S. sovereignty, sounds frongey, but it isn't -- or, rather, it is, but the fringe includes large segments of the right-wing mainstream. So Rand Paul is no loopier in endorsing this view than a lot of other Republicans.

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