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.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, June 21, 2014: This Week In Irony

It’s funny when Conservatives go on and on about things without realizing what they say often sounds pretty ironic coming from them. Take Gary Bauer. No, really, take him. Preferably far away where we won’t have to hear him whine and complain about how Christians have it so bad in this country. I mean, did you know that out of 43 different men elected President of the United States, only 43 of them have been Christians? Talk about not having a voice in our government! I don’t object to people like Gary Bauer having a voice in our government; I object to people like Gary Bauer being listened to as if their voice had some validity to it. Conservative Christians believe a number of out-and-out false things (such as that Jesus was a Conservative like them), or that the United States, as represented by today’s Constitution, is officially a Christian nation and, therefore, our laws should be based on the Bible. This is true of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, and one of their biggest concerns is that gay people will be treated as equal citizens. Of all the sins in the Bible, right-wing Christians believe homosexuality is the worst possible thing to allow in a society. I mean, I don’t hear conservatives saying there’s a problems with guns in our society when twenty elementary school kids are shot and killed by a weapon no civilian has any business owning. But let two people who have been in love with each other for more than twenty years finally get married and have the same marital rights as everyone else, and Conservative Christians start talking about the Demise of Civilization As We Know It (the “we” in this case being Conservative Christians such as themselves.) If it weren’t for the issue of gay rights, would there be anything else for them to talk about today? That’s why it was a bit surprising, to say the least, to hear Gary Bauer say that President Obama is “obsessed” with the issue of gay rights, and that the nation will be destroyed as a result. No mention is made (I’m sure) that the only reason the president has taken the actions he has is because of the actions taken by Conservative Christians to treat their fellow citizens as something less than human. If he were real, I’m sure the Jesus of the Bible would not approve.

Speaking of people that Jesus of the Bible would not approve, Whack-a-Bird Senator Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, also speaking at that same F&FC conference, told the audience, with a straight (and stern) face, to “Stop electing the village idiot!” Strangely, he seemed to have mistaken the President for his own son, but to hear a line that out of the father of one of the craziest, and most dangerous, abusers of power in our government is richly ironic. Because of Ted Cruz, a strong contender for title of Village Idiot of the US Senate, our nation was taken to the brink of fiscal disaster and punished by a downgraded credit rating. He blames the Democrats and the President because they refused to negotiate with terrorists Republicans over repealing Obamacare in exchange for continuing to fund the government. This knee-jerk reaction Conservatives have where they just say the exact opposite of the truth (often recorded for all to repeat) has not done this country any good at all.

I find Conservative Christians to be the worst hypocrites of all the Conservatives (who are generally hypocritical themselves, as they often excuse behavior from their own kind that they publicly and loudly abhor in others), because they profess to follow the teachings of someone who clearly would not approve the things they say in his name. I find it hard to believe Jesus would really preach

Seven Mountains Dominionism, which as we have noted in the past seeks to give right-wing Christians authority “over the seven forces that shape and control our culture: (1) Business; (2) Government; (3) Media; (4) Arts and Entertainment; (5) Education; (6) Family; and (7) Religion.”

If that isn’t the ultimate in Selfishness, I don’t know what is. They want authority over your family. They want to be able to say what is and what is not permissible in the way you live as a family, the way you raise your children, the things you allow them to learn, and the religious practices you will follow. And the Republican Party embraces them, and seeks out their approval and endorsements. Because, ironically, the Republicans are all about Freedom.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss hypocritical insane Conservatives, Christian Dominionism, other contenders for Village Idiots of the US Senate, or anything else you wish to discuss.