Let me start by saying that I like Rand Paul. He’s been my pick for President in 2016 since Ron Paul, his father, lost the primary bid against Mitt Romney in 2012. By early 2013, I had already slapped a Rand Paul 2016 bumper sticker on my car bumper. As much as I have tried to conceal it in my podcast, and on radio shows I’ve done, I can’t help but give away that I’m a Rand Paul supporter.
I like Rand’s 14.5% flat tax. I like that he wants to abolish the IRS and eliminate the tax code. I like that he recognizes that conservatives are strangely liberal when it comes to military spending overseas. I like that he wants to audit or even end the federal reserve. I like that he wants to decentralize government as much as possible and honor the Tenth Amendment by leaving many more decisions to the States.
I like Rand Paul. This isn’t a hit piece. I’m a real voter who will vote in the Pennsylvania primary and general elections. That being said, I had to do a double take when I heard Rand Paul at the Fox Business Network GOP Presidential Debate state, in passing, that the earth is 4.5 Billion years old. Watch:
Rand’s 4.5 Billion Year Mistake
When asked a question about global warming, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul began waxing eloquent as he almost always does. He’s typically very clear, concise, and informed in his response to questions like this. As he proceeded to explain his views on global warming he made the passing statement that the earth is 4.5 billion years old. I was live tweeting this debate when he made this statement and this was my response…
What makes a guy like Rand Paul, who seems to be extremely intelligent, make an off-the-cuff statement like this? Forget the question of accuracy for a minute. Here’s a guy in a GOP Presidential debate, being hosted on Fox Business Network. A large number of his audience that night were Bible-affirming individuals. He has to know that a statement like that is going to rub a certain niche of his base the wrong way. Was it an oversight? I’m not sure. For a guy who is limping along at around 6% in the best of polling this seemed like an unnecessary bit of information in light of the question that was asked.
Second, can we just have an honest conversation about the secular scientific community, in general, using the phrase “4.5 Billion Years” as if that’s some strangely precise number? Whenever somebody uses that phrase I want to say, “Are you sure it’s not 4.6 or 4.4 billion years old?” Why? Because the difference between 4.4 billion years and 4.5 billion years is 100 million years. I’m sorry, but there is a significant amount of foolishness in your worldview if you think it is anything other than nonsense to say the earth is “4.5 billion years old.” That’s like a doctor saying “You’re pregnant. The baby is due in the next 9,000 months.”
That’s not helpful, and it’s not science.
Now, I know Rand Paul knows this about terms like “billion,” because when talking about billions or trillions of dollars of US debt he’s quick to point out how MASSIVE those numbers really are. Rand is an ophthalmologist. He still performs eye surgeries. How ironic that he still can’t see the absurdity of positing the concept of 4.5 billion years as a statement of fact regarding the earth’s age!
Should this be a Deal Breaker?
Whether you agree with a 4.5 billion year old earth or not, I guarantee there are people who were watching that debate, or who caught it on YouTube later, that were completely turned off by this statement. For some strict, literal, six-day creationists this was a slip of the tongue that pushed them toward another candidate like a Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio.
While there are those who would make this issue a deal breaker, I can’t be one of them. The question we have to ask is, should this be a deal breaker? There are plenty of things that we as believers draw hard lines in the sand on. Unfortunately, while I agree 100% with a literal six-day, young earth, creationist viewpoint on the age of the earth, I also recognize that even within much of Christianity there exists a swath of people who do not.
Now, if we were discussing church membership, or hiring a Bible teacher, this would be a deal breaker for me. Rand Paul isn’t applying for membership into your church and he’s not looking to become your child’s Bible teacher. He’s asking for your vote for President of the United States of America. In my view, this should NOT disqualify him from doing that job. Unfortunately for Rand, it does disqualify him in the minds of many conservatives he’s trying to reach.
I’ll admit Rand’s statement about the age of the earth made me do a double take. Maybe he was hoping to appeal to general election voters. Unfortunately for him, at 6% or lower in the polls, it’s not the general election he should be worried about at this juncture. My encouragement to you, the readers and the voters, is not to let this theological difference cloud your ability to look at the policies of the Presidential candidates.
I’m not just saying this because I like Rand Paul. I’m saying it because our nation is in real trouble right now, and we need voters who can evaluate candidates based on their policies, philosophies of government, and track records of effectively executing change among those they govern. Whether they are a young-earth creationist, or an old earth evolutionist, should not alone be the litmus test for finding and electing the next president. Please use discernment and vet all the candidates on more than just a single point of theological difference.
Jeremy Lundmark is a former pastor and former host of the podcast "After The Sermon." Jeremy has earned his Masters of Ministry from Summit University in Clark's Summit, PA. He is the author of the book, The Fury of God. Jeremy is a husband of thirteen years to Alison G. Lundmark and is the proud father of three children: Alexander, Brionna, and Scarlett. To connect, leave a comment on one of his posts at TheologyMix.com.