The Watering Hole, Monday, January 5th, 2015: Unholy Alliances

Last week when Pope Francis announced his itinerary for his crusade against man-made climate change, the Joe (“You lie!”) Wilson of ‘evangelical’ deniers, one Calvin Beisner, rudely stated that “The Pope should back off”:

““The pope should back off,” said Calvin Beisner, spokesman for the conservative evangelical Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. “The Catholic church is correct on the ethical principles but has been misled on the science. It follows that the policies the Vatican is promoting are incorrect. Our position reflects the views of millions of evangelical Christians in the US.”

According to People for the American Way:

“Beisner is a CFACT [Committee For a Constructive Tomorrow] board member and an “adjunct fellow” of the Acton Institute, which is primarily funded by groups like ExxonMobil, the Scaife foundations and the Koch brothers. Beisner is also an adviser to the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, which is financed by the oil-backed Earthart Foundation, the Koch brothers, and ExxonMobil.
In fact, Beisner is not a scientist and has no scientific credentials. Despite claiming to be an authority on energy and environmental issues, he received his Ph.D. in Scottish History.

In 2009, Beisner’s Cornwall Alliance cosponsored a climate change denial conference led by the Heartland Institute, a pro-corporate group funded by Exxon Mobil, the Koch Family Foundations, and the Scaife foundations. Other organizations funded by energy corporations that cosponsored the conference include the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, and Americans for Prosperity.”

The “About” section on the Cornwall Alliance’s website states:

Our Identity
A coalition of theologians, pastors, ministry leaders, scientists, economists, policy experts, and committed laymen, the Cornwall Alliance is an evangelical voice promoting environmental stewardship and economic development built on Biblical principles.

I doubt very much if, as Beisner claims, Cornwall Alliance’s “position reflects the views of millions of evangelical Christians in the US”, as some of their ‘affirmations’ and ‘denials’ are, to put it lightly, a bit twisted. An excerpt from one of their “Landmark Documents” titled “The Biblical Perspective of Environmental Stewardship : Subduing and Ruling the Earth to the Glory of God and the Benefit of our Neighbors“:

9. We affirm that by God’s design Earth and its physical and biological systems are robust, resilient, and self-correcting.

We deny that they are fragile.

20. We affirm that human multiplication and filling of the Earth are intrinsically good (Genesis 1:28) and that, in principle, children, lots of them, are a blessing from God to their faithful parents and the rest of the Earth (Psalm 127; 128).

We deny that the Earth is overpopulated; that “overpopulation” is even a meaningful term, since it cannot be defined by demographic quantities such as population density, population growth rate, or age distribution; and that godly dominion over the Earth requires population control or “family planning” to limit fertility.

21. We affirm that when the Bible speaks of God’s judgment on human societies because they have “polluted the land,” the “pollution” in mind is consistently not chemical or biological but moral—the pollution of idolatry, adultery, murder, oppression of the weak, and other violations of the moral law of God expressed in the Ten Commandments (Psalm 106:38; Jeremiah 3:1–10; 16:18).

We deny that Biblical prophets’ concerns about the pollution of any land focus significantly on chemical emissions from agriculture or industry, although prudent study of the risks those pose to human and ecosystem health is a worthy task and can lead to proper efforts to balance risks and benefits.

22. We affirm that cost/benefit analysis (Luke 14:28) is a proper and critically important aspect of godly dominion over the Earth (Proverbs 14:4).

We deny that cost/benefit analysis is unprincipled pragmatism or indicates a lack of faith in God.

The Cornwall Alliance seems to be especially partial to one of the worst of the real-life polluters, the coal industry. In one of their articles, “Europe Flees Economy-Destroying Green Initiatives While Obama Presses On”, after bashing Germany (“Germany, like all who subscribe to the environmentalists’ viewpoint, has put being “green” over the good of its people. They have forgotten God’s created order…”), they turn on President Obama:

“President Obama continues pushing the United States toward the brink by forging ahead with plans to fight the global warming that hasn’t happened in at least the last 17 years, using measures that will cost $trillions by mid-century but will cause no significant reduction in global temperature by the end of the century.

One of President Obama’s means to force the environmentalist agenda on Americans is The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Its war on coal destroyed between 13,000 and 17,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2012 alonedue to announced coal plant closures. Fast forward to 2014 and the EPA has announced a regulation that would effectively kill the coal industry. Any new coal power plant built, whether to replace or add to existing plants, must meet an emissions standard that is impossible with current technology.

Then of course there is the stonewalling of the Keystone XL Pipeline extension. This pipeline that President Obama claimed would only “create about 50 permanent jobs,” has been estimated by his own State Department to create 42,000 jobs.”

Although that “42,000 jobs” figure has been debunked time and time again, yet another Republican on Meet the Press yesterday morning got away with using it without being slapped down by the useless Chuck Todd. TransCanada itself estimates “that the pipeline would create no more than 2,500 to 4,650 temporary direct construction jobs for two years.” The Keystone XL Pipeline website uses the figure of 9,000 U.S. jobs.   On the other hand, the KXL website also says:

“Keystone XL Pipeline will be the safest and most advanced oil pipeline operation in North America. It will not only bring essential infrastructure to North American oil producers, but it will also provide jobs, long-term energy independence and an economic boost to Americans.”

Yeah, right – and I have a really nice bridge for sale, too…

This is our daily open thread, so discuss whatever you’d like.

90 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Monday, January 5th, 2015: Unholy Alliances

  1. Wow. And I thought Louie Gohmert was stupid.

    What bothers me most about outfits like the Cornwall Alliance isn’t so much the stupidity implicit in their various upside-down-and-backward misinterpretations of scientific fact, it’s the potential consequence to the biosphere that such stupidity, when widespread, will cause. Unfortunately, not only the stupid will suffer the consequences of such an inverted god-myth protocol.

    I have no problem with the concept of an individual’s freedom to believe and practice whichever religious myth s/he finds attractive, but I sure wish they were required to shut up about it, to keep it in the closet, to not be allowed to use any version of god-myth as a tool to influence others.

    And why are GREED and POWER invariably such intricate and expected cornerstones of hyper-mythologies? It seems really weird when the Pope’s spoken premises are some of the most logical science-based, anti-political, and anti-stupid ideals that today emerge from the greater god-myth complex, and that he then gets chastised by hyper-Christer dirtbags everywhere.

      • I don’t think so much of stupidity, but more of the willful deceit perpetrated by a moneyed few on the ignorant masses, a deceit fueled (scuse me) by disgusting sociopathic avarice.

        • This is more the way I’m thinking – this “alliance” is just a pseudo-religious front for the big-money corps who want to use up every resource and pollute without penalty. The ‘religion’ part of it is bullshit.

          • Same as the Tea Party, the original one (see Howard Zinn) and this one….. message is designed for the brownshirts (in this case greedy people who want a God-ordained excuse to be avaricious bastards)…. and the money goes to the corporations

  2. “We affirm that by God’s design Earth and its physical and biological systems are robust, resilient, and self-correcting.”

    Mind you I might agree with the self-correcting part….. once the Ebola virus mutates to a faster cycle….

    • This struck me the same way as it did you, human population being decimated as a result of our failure to plan ahead and mitigate the results of our actions will be “self-correcting”. Luke 14:28 has nothing to do with cost/benefit analysis, only the wisdom of planning ahead.

      • Well if the huge dislocations to our ways of growing food and keeping water fresh happen as a result of predicted climate change – most of us are going to either starve, die of thirst or kill each other by century’s end.

        Heavily-armed apocalyptic cults like ISIS, the evangelicals and the Mormons will be the norm and not the exception…..

  3. The 42,000 jobs is a temporary number over 2 years….. given that the economy creates 100s of thousands of jobs every month (300k + in November)…. this is total bollocks.

    The Keystone is to allow Canadian tar sands oil to sell at a higher price than it does now because there is a local glut in the mid-West of oil. By shipping to Texas, it can be refined and sold at full market prices and exported to the world market. Gas prices in most of the US will actually *go up* with Keystone XL.

    Keystone XL is the most naked payoff for a national election this country has ever seen.

  4. The Cornball Alliance…..”evangelical Christians”.

    In other words the assholes that shove their righteous views of the world down your throat. The Goober Gohmerts of religion.

    • I have started to think that evangelism is rooted in a need to be an self-righteous asshole to everyone, everyday and justify being so by picking verses out of the Bible….

      “Greed is good” – Gordon Gekko, noted evangelical….

  5. Two thoughts that leap to mind for me here: First, even if the 42,000 jobs figure was accurate, so what? The US has been adding (on average) 50,000 jobs A WEEK for the past 4+ years. (Basically, since the end of the Bush housing bubble recession.) 42,000 jobs over two years is inconsequential, not even a statistical blip.

    (One of the primary Red Herrings people will use when making smoke-and-mirrors claims about economics is to toss out a BIG NUMBER w/o any context. “Wow,” they say. “Look at that BIG NUMBER!” The thing is, an economy is a relational system, and the only data that can be meaningful are themselves relational in character. Absolute numbers of any kind or size — thrown out by themselves, without context or relational content — are absolutely meaningless.)

    The second thought is that, for all their problems and unevenness in its application, the Catholic Church has long maintained the principle that the Earth is a gift, and humanity’s task is not one of rapine but stewardship. So the Pope’s upcoming encyclical is not really that radical a break for the Church, but an emphatic restatement of existing (if often neglected) policy.

    • Gary H hast rechts!

      Frankie P is dragging his church into the 21st century on *some* issues…. any progress anywhere is welcome

  6. More anti-science in the name of religion.
    So his PhD is in Scottish History?
    Is that the genesis of the name Cornwall Alliance?
    Properly, should be the Cornball or Cornhole alliance.
    Let’s put 10 billion people in his backyard and see if he thinks that human population is an infinite thingy.

  7. Pat Robertson: Beat non-religious kids on Christmas until they appreciate ‘blessings of discipline’

    In an email to the televangelist, a viewer named Karen explained that she did not want to attend a Christmas event because her Christian daughter “drank too much” and her grandson disagreed with her religious beliefs.

    “We declined going to our daughter’s house on Christmas this year because there is always an argument, hard feelings etc.,” Karen wrote in an email. “One grandchild comes high on marijuana, cursing and challenging our faith. I correct him and have told my daughter to ask him to respect our beliefs, but he keeps it up.”

    Robertson immediately recommended that the grandson should be taken “to the woodshed and let him understand the blessings of discipline.”

    I really wonder how old this grandson is. If he’s an adult, he might go to the woodshed with you, and you might not come back!

    • Yeah, Badmoodman, we can’t have you adding any more fuel to your fire. 😉

      However, watching Fox won’t make a literate person more conservative, since the average Fox viewer is 68 years old already.

    • I gave up all TV “News” several years ago. Oddly enough; the final straw was courtesy of the so-called “librul” PBS. Every time I heard Judy Woodruff say “we’ll have to leave it there” after allowing some creep to lie for an entire segment I found myself thinking very dark thoughts about grabbing the shotgun and taking out my anger on the TV. An added bonus is that I find I can control my blood pressure by simply moving on from news that makes me angry. I’m not kidding. Getting news from the net when and where I feel like it makes me healthier.

      BTW. I often wonder just how much Kock Brothers’ money is earmarked specifically to pay Judy to say “we’ll have to leave it there” instead of the proper response; “that’s simply not true”.

    • Thanks, Gary, that’s a great help, I’ll keep the link with my other KXL info.

      I just did a quick search in our archives, and realized that I started writing about the KXL pipeline back in August of 2011. It’s hard to believe that anyone is still trying to sell the idea that the pipeline would be an American job creator. And it’s flabbergasting to realize that idiots are still buying it.

  8. Fuck Calvin Beisner. Who the hell does he think he is telling the Pope what he should and shouldn’t do. The Catholic Church has been around a great deal longer than his phony Evangellies and Fundies. Beisner is no scientist so he should shut his pie hole.

    Glad I got that off my chest. I feel so much better now.

    • Venting is good therapy, Cats!
      Fundies are freakin’ weirdos and those who choose to follow the foolishness are just nuts!

    • I see that you edited your comment. 😉 Glad it helped you!

      I’m in a decent mood for once BUT I WON’T BE IF SQUIGGY KEEPS TRYING TO COMMENT – whew, sorry. Anyhoo, Wayne and I had some wonderfully therapeutic laughs watching Key & Peele, and later watching Jon Stewart. It felt SO good!

      Off to bed, I always end up staying up too late.

  9. Gisela is just tearing around this place tonight! I put out some more food, and after two bites she’s just streaking around here.

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