During an appearance over the weekend at Sugar Hill Church in Georgia, U.S. Senate candidate and former football star Herschel Walker made it clear that he was a Creationist by posing the most clichéd anti-evolution argument to an audience willing to accept it without question.
After explaining how Adam and Eve had to be real and how the Big Bang had to be a hoax, Walker riffed on the supposed irrationality of evolution.
… You know, first thing I want to say is: We’re all sinners… Yeah, I’m a sinner. And we all fall short of the glory of God. So we first got to admit that we are sinners, that we’re not perfect, and we never will be perfect. But what you got to do is you got to always go after God’s heart, and know that Jesus live within you. And know that you are going to have problems, but you got to keep moving forward. You got to keep moving forward that life is okay, because as long as you keep the faith, and one of the things, it’s hard to keep the faith when you don’t see Him… or you can’t feel Him. You don’t hear Him sometimes. But He’s there.
Let me tell you the reason He’s there. Because, you remember when… He said “Let there be light”? You know, there had to be light, so somebody had to start it. Let there be light, because something had to be created here… So when the light was created here, that means there’s somebody up there had to say “Let there be light” that the Earth started. And then he had to put someone there on Earth. ‘Cause remember: Adam was there. Remember: Adam came there, then Eve came. So somebody had to start it out. So that means there had to be a God.
Because it didn’t just… some bomb blew up and it started out. And then I tell you something else I heard, and think about this, because at one time, science said man came from apes, did it not?… This is what’s interesting, though. If that is true, why are there still apes?
Think about it… No, no, no, no, think about this. We have an evolution that is, we’ve gotten so intelligent that, if that is true, why are there still apes? And then the conception of a baby. Let me tell you: The science can’t do that. They still trying to do it, but it can’t because there had to be a God.
Pastor Chuck Allen said nothing to push back against this lie because he also shares Walker’s ignorance. The only interjection he made was to tell Walker, “You’re getting too smart for us.” Which says more about the intelligence of everyone who attends that church than anything else you’ll find.
Let’s get this out of the way: Walker’s question is just plain dumb. “Science” does not say man evolved from apes. Science has never said man evolved from apes. The only people who say man evolved from apes are Creationists who don’t understand evolution.
Humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor. That ancestor may look similar to modern-day apes but one doesn’t magically transform into another. Evolution isn’t linear, either; humans are just one branch of a large tree that is constantly growing. To say we’re closely related to apes isn’t an insult; it’s a settled fact about our origins, shaped over tens of millions of years. Anyone who’s taken a basic biology class or read page one of a book about evolution could tell you that.
People who think our origins can only be explained through the first few pages of Genesis aren’t adding anything useful to the conversation.
There are also plenty of other analogies that have been made to explain why the very premise of Walker’s question is idiotic: If Americans came from Europe, then why do Europeans still exist? If Protestantism came from Catholicism, then why is there still Catholicism? (Or, to put it biblically, if man came from dirt, why is there still dirt?)
Walker doesn’t know what he’s talking about. That’s true of many things, but especially science. He posed the question as if this quandary kept scientists up at night (it doesn’t) and, even more bizarrely, as if the congregation had never heard that question before. I’m not sure which of those is worse.
Was it strategic? Or is Walker just very ignorant? (Answer: Yes.) But this is to be expected from a football player now trying to appeal to the MAGA crowd in his campaign to become the Republican Party’s nominee to go against Sen. Raphael Warnock later this year.
This Creationist mentality is nothing new to Republican politics, though. In 2007, at the first Republican presidential debate, candidates Sam Brownback, Tom Tancredo, and Mike Huckabee all raised their hands when asked if there was anyone on stage who didn’t accept evolution. A 2014 Pew Research Center survey found that 48% of Republicans were Creationists. Rejecting evolution—rejecting science in general—now seems to be required of all GOP leaders.
But Walker is uniquely awful, even for his party. The church crowd on Sunday wouldn’t know that, though, from the interview on stage since it went unmentioned how Walker repeatedly threatened the life of his ex-wife — long after he said he became a Christian and abandoned his violent tendencies. His ex said Walker once pointed a gun at her head while saying “I’m going to blow your f’ing brains out.” When he found out she was dating someone else, he allegedly called her family members and told them he’d kill her and the new guy.
Beyond that, Walker has repeatedly lied about his business savvy and may have cheated his colleagues out of money. He only registered to vote in Georgia when he announced his candidacy. He barely voted before that. And his current wife allegedly committed voting fraud herself by voting in a state she didn’t live in.
The Christians in this church don’t give a damn about any of that. Ethics and basic human decency don’t matter to them. If a domestic abuser is willing to lie to them about science while spreading the gospel of Donald Trump, they’ll gladly vote for him over a pastor committed to civil rights while preaching at Martin Luther King, Jr.’s former church just because he’s a Democrat.
Walker is likely to win the Republican primary. The question is whether his anti-intellectual pandering will win over enough Christians who don’t have the guts to acknowledge that he has no clue what he’s doing.