Evangelical leader suggests teaching evolution contributes to mass shootings

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said this week that the regularity of mass shootings in the United States stems from a "decades-long march" to drive "religion and God from the public square," suggesting that the teaching of evolution has led Americans to treat each other like "dirt." 

"At some point, we have to realize as a nation that we have a problem," Perkins, a former Republican Louisiana legislator, said on "Fox & Friends" on Sunday, just a day after a mass shooting in West Texas left eight people dead. "And the problem is not the absence of laws. It’s an absence of morality. It’s really the result of a decades-long march through the institutions of America, driving religion and God from the public square."

Perkins, who has headed the Christian conservative policy and lobbying organization since 2004, went on to acknowledge that "thoughts and prayers" would not be enough to solve the problem of gun violence. But he argued that the conversation needed to be about more than gun control legislation. 

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"It’s not just about having a conversation about restricting those who should not have guns. But it’s also a discussion of the absence of a moral core in our culture," he said. "I mean, look, we’ve taught our kids that they come about by chance through primordial slime, and we’re surprised that they treat their fellow Americans like dirt."

"It’s time we talk about the result of the left’s systematic march through our institutions, driving religious expression from the public square," he added.

He then asserted that Americans needed to give children the "opportunity to know that they’re created in the image of God" and that "they have inherent value." 

Authorities say a gunman opened fire on Saturday between the Texas cities of Odessa and Midland, killing seven and wounding several others. Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said the suspect, who was killed after engaging with officers, used an AR-type weapon during the attack.

The incident occurred just weeks after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, left 31 dead. The attacks have led to renewed calls from Democratic lawmakers to reform the nation's gun laws. 

President Trump addressed the latest shooting Sunday, telling reporters that he is in talks with Congress about measures to stem gun violence. He noted that the latest incident "hasn't changed anything" related to the discussions.
 
The Hill has reached out the Family Research Council for further comment.