Greg Gianforte (R. MT)
Greg Gianforte, the tech millionaire running for the Montana congressional seat vacated by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, doubled down on his stance rejecting the theory of evolution in a radio interview aired Monday.
Asked three times by a Montana Public Radio host if he believes biological species developed through natural selection over time, the Republican repeated a straightforward, if vague, response.
“I personally believe, as many Montanans do, that God created the Earth,” Gianforte, who made a failed bid in November for the Montana governor’s mansion, said in the 15-minute interview. “I believe that God created the Earth. I wasn’t there, I don’t know how long it took, I don’t know how he did it exactly. But I look around me at the grandeur in this state and I believe God created the Earth.”
“And, so, evolution is not something you believe in,” the host, Sally Mauk, asked to clarify.
“Um,” Gianforte replied, “I think I’ve answered your question.”
Shane Scanlon, a campaign spokesman, did not immediately respond to questions from The Huffington Post about whether Gianforte was open to theistic evolution, the belief among some Christians that God catalyzed the scientific processes that lead to evolution.
Here’s a little backstory:
The head and monstrous jaws of a tyrannosaurus rex sculpture poke through the outer wall of the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum.
A faith-based Creation
Dinosaur museum presents biblical view of origins
Inside, life-size castings of dinosaur skeletons offer the polished look of a big-city science museum. But a quote from Genesis clues in visitors that the 20,000-square-foot building, which opened in Glendive this summer, is not your standard natural-history museum.
Instead, the museum, located in an area of Montana known for world-class dinosaur fossils, offers a literal, biblical account of creation.
Spotlighted on the main floor, an 18-foot-tall replica of a T. rex skeleton engages in battle with a meat-eating dinosaur ridged by spines.
The new facility is the second-largest dinosaur museum in the state, dwarfed only by the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman.
“We are totally different from the Museum of the Rockies in that we present fossils and all the exhibits in the context of biblical creation,” said Otis E. Kline Jr., the museum’s founder and director.
Jack Horner, the curator of paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies, agrees the two museums are fundamentally different.
“It’s not a science museum at all,” Horner said. “It’s not a pseudo-science museum. It’s just not science. …There’s nothing scientific about it.”
The Glendive museum’s self-guided tour starts with a series of questions challenging established science on the origins of life.
And who’s the biggest donor to this creationist museum? You guessed it:
The Billings Gazette reported in 2009 that the Gianforte Family Foundation donated the T. rex and acrocanthosaurus exhibit in the museum’s main display hall. The newspaper called it the largest donation for a specific exhibit.
The foundation, which has given away more than $36 million, was set up by Greg Gianforte, Republican candidate for governor. Christian ministries, among them the Downpour Music Festival and Focus on the Family, are a core category the foundation supports.
(Otis) Kline (founder of the Glendive Dinosaur & Fossil Museum) said churches have adopted the museum as they would any other mission. Foundations, which he declined to name, have or do support the museum, but most donations come from individuals. Add that to museum admission, income from dinosaur dig programs and gift shop items.
This year Kline expects the museum will top 10,000 visitors for the first time. Visitation has been steadily rising; last year saw 9,800 visitors.
So yeah, this is who were up against. In this particular race, both Ginaforte and Rob Quist (D. MT) are pushing hard to win over a key demographic in Montana that could determine the winner:
In Montana, the Native American population continues to grow both in population and political influence.
And when it comes to gaining the vote, both candidates for Montana’s congressional seat in Washington DC, Democrat Rob Quist and Republican Greg Gianforte say they want it.
“I think our society really needs to learn a lot of the native concepts the concepts of honor’s mother earth and all of her elements,” said Rob Quist.
“There’s a rich history here I think we need to embrace it and enjoy it,” said Greg Gianforte.
ABC FOX Montana heard from the candidates at last weekend’s American Indian Powwow at Montana State University.
Both Quist and Gianforte even walked side-by-side in the opening dance. For tribal members this political attention is crucial.
ABC FOX Montana asked former chairman of the Crow Tribe, Darrin Oldcoyote why.
“It’s very important for Indian tribes to work with Montana delegation and the state of Montana a lot of our issues you know they’re the ones who champion those issues for us it’s very important do us to align ourselves with you know people from the Montana delegates,” said Darrin Oldcoyote, former Chairman of the Crow Tribe.
As the campaign for congress heats up, we have seen Gianaforte and Quist hitting Montana’s reservations.
“I’ve been to the black feet reservation and the same with the reservation and we’re going to the bighorn county next so I feel like this will be one of my strengths,” said Quist.
“Being a candidate for US house I need to represent the entire state and we have seven reservations. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting all the reservations in the state and trying to listen I think it’s important when we visit or Native American neighbors that we go there to listen and understand,” said Gianforte.
The race is heating up and it’s one that we need to fight hard to win. Click here to donate and get involved with Quist’s campaign.