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Republican presidential candidates flock to small creationist church in Iowa

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Bobby Jindal (Derek Bridges/Flickr)

A small Iowa church that teaches the universe is only 6,000 years old is a big draw for Republican presidential candidates.

White House hopefuls Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee have already visited the First Assembly of God Church in Indianola, and Bobby Jindal is scheduled to be at the church Saturday, according to the Des Moines Register.

The church hosted a five-day conference on young Earth creationism called the Indianola Hope Conference last year. Rev. Jordan Cleigh of the First Assembly of God Church told the Des Moines Register at the time that fossils discovered by scientists were evidence of the Great Flood described in Genesis.

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“For the past 50 to 60 years public schools have been teaching evolution even though evolution doesn’t have all of the answers either,” Cleigh told the Register. “(Creationism) lets people believe in the Bible and Jesus.”

The conference featured a debate between Iowa State University professor Hector Avalos and Iglesia Centro Evangelico pastor Juan Valdes on whether the book of Genesis was a scientifically accurate description of the beginning of the world. The event also included a number of talks delivered by Carl Kerby, a self-described “creation scientist” who believes that dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark.

The three Republican presidential candidates have expressed doubts about evolution.

Carson said last year that scientists couldn’t explain how eyes evolved. “Give me a break. According to their scheme, it had to occur over night, it had to be there,” he told the Faith & Liberty Talk Show. “I instead say, if you have an intelligent creator, what he does is give his creatures the ability to adapt to the environment so he doesn’t have to start over every fifty years creating all over again.”

Huckabee said during a 2007 presidential debate that he didn’t believe in evolution. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth. A person either believes that God created the process or believes that it was an accident and that it just happened all on its own,” he said.

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When asked if the world was only 6,000-years-old, Huckabee replied, “I don’t know.”

Jindal has supported legislation in Louisiana that allows creationism to be taught in public schools. Last year, he repeatedly refused to say whether he believed the theory of evolution.

“The reality is, I’m not an evolutionary biologist,” he remarked.

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