Tuesday, June 03, 2008

You gotta admit, they've got balls

I am constantly amazed at the chutzpah of the radical religious right. After years of totally ignoring or at most giving lip-service to the biblical demand about caring for the poor, an issue has finally arisen that makes them take the side of the poor. I was made aware of this when I received an "action alert" from the chief of modern day pharisees, Richard Land of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Only last year, Land used as an excuse for not supporting some of the evangelical green efforts, that his "constituency" had not come to any consensus on the issue of globlal warning.

Land is quoted in Christianity Today as saying, "I don't think there is anywhere near that kind of consensus on the issue, at least among the evangelicals I know. … They're not ready to accept it is a settled fact that human beings are the major cause of global warming."

Apparently since then, he has reached his own conclusion that stopping global warming is not biblical. Here are some excerpts from the alert:

Tell Senate to Reject Climate Change Bill that Would Hurt Poor, Economy

Dear Friends:
Alarmists (emphasis is mine not Land's) are calling all senators to board their global warming train this week in Washington to avoid what they consider to be a looming climate catastrophe, despite warnings that it could wreck our economy, destroy jobs, and harm the poor.

I need your help to stop this train before it leaves the station!

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote this week on a bill to mandate massive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by electrical, industrial, and transportation sectors in a vain attempt to reduce the unfounded threat of cataclysmic global warming. The hype and good intentions driving this train would yield devastating consequences.

What is even more troubling is that poor people in this country and around the world would suffer the most as the rising costs of all goods make mere subsistence increasingly burdensome and millions of people in underdeveloped regions of the world would find it even more difficult to have the cheap and abundant energy they need to escape their desperate circumstances.

All this would come with an almost immeasurable reduction in global climate temperatures. This is a price too high for a policy based on science disputed more and more each day by thousands of scientists and climatologists.

Christians have a responsibility to practice environmental stewardship. But any action should first consider its impact on God’s most prized creation, human beings.

Thank you for joining me as a voice of reason to stop this bill before it crushes livelihoods and liberties.

In His Service,
Dr. Richard Land
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Southern Baptist Convention

By using words and phrases like alarmist, unfounded threat, science disputed he shows that he is cavalierly dismissing the overwhelming evidence and support for the reality of this crisis from the scientific community. Even NASA has released a report acknowledging both the high probablility that global warming is caused by human activity and can be controlled by human activity. But it comes as no surprise that Land and his ilk align themselves with the "do-nothing, status quo" party on this issue, since they effectively wedded themselves to the repubs many years ago. The names Land, Dobson, Perkins, etc. have become synonomous with other sycophants of the radical right, religious or otherwise.

The alert directs readers to a website called We Get It! A blurb from the page proclaims

Caring for the environment and the poor – Biblically
Imagine…one million Christians standing together
to shed Biblical light on one of the biggest
cultural issues of our day…
Honoring our Lord Jesus Christ as creator and
sustainer of this wondrous world…
And impacting the lives of millions of the
poorest people here and around the globe.
That’s what the We Get It!
campaign is all about!

And guess who's names show up as being among those who "Get It."

Dr. Daniel Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Singer Pat Boone
Congressman Paul Broun
Senator Tom Coburn
Dr. James Dobson
Senator James Inhofe
Dr. Richard Land
Wendy Wright, President, Concerned Women for America

What a collection. I thought I had gotten over my shame at having the two most ill-informed men in the Senate be from my state and yet here they are, Inhofe and Coburn. You remember Inhofe, he's the one who said on the floor of the Senate in 2003 that "man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." Good old Oklahoma reasoning. Right up there with Sally Kern.

Along with them the campaign is supported by
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
Family Research Council
and believe it or not
Wallbuilders ( I guess since David Barton was thorougly discredited as a historian he is seeking a new platform as a climatologist) They even quote Barton as if he were some sort of expert on something, saying that proper care of creation and the environment will "come not from government-implemented programs but rather from unfettered free-market solutions." I guess I was mistaken. He can be just as wrong about the environment as he was about American history.

But the new and most despicable element in the appeal of these groups and individuals is their professed concern for the poor. I can only conclude that in light of their previous apathy or even hostility toward issues involving the poor, both here and abroad, it is not hard to see that what they really mean is that they don't want to have to give up their SUVs and big houses and consumptive lifestyles. I was particularly appalled by that reference to "cheap and abundant energy." When has anyone in this group that is so closely tied to the oil barons in the White House ever been concerned about the energy needs of the poor.

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