Bush Global Warming U-Turn Leaves Anti-Environmentalist Christian Right Out On A Limb ?
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Sep 17, 2006 at 10:33:23 PM EST
IN an apparent concession to shifting thermal air masses (and to Al Gore's "Inconvenient Christians"), George W. Bush, as reported by the UK Independant today, will announce a U-turn on US Global Warming policy mid next week : a momentous event to shake up the American political landscape in unpredictable ways. Demonization of environmentalism, typically seen as the wedge of a crypto-socialist or communist program aimed at the destruction of private property rights, plays an important role in the ideology of many on the hard US and Christian right. For a Republican president to openly acknowledge a human role in changing the earth's climate - for the worse - can hardly be welcome news for political blocs deeply entrenched in their opposition to the prospect that human activity is impacting the global climate : especially for the IRD and the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance.
A recent statement by the latter group includes eight signatories whose respective organizations have received 2.32 million dollars over the last three years, as reported by Ethics Daily. The possible policy reversal, by President Bush, would likely also dismay the Institute On Religion And Democracy that has coordinated attacks on the mainline Protestant Denominations for several decades now  ( see the Talk To Action section, The Shadow War)  and which played a significant role in rallying successfull opposition to a proposed National Association Of Evangelicals resolution advocating aggressive US government action to cut greenhouse gasses.

As late as this May, 2006, Mark Tooley of the IRD was busy downplaying impending political realignments over global climate change, in a May 5th 2006 editorial for the Weekly Standard entitled Religious Climate Change? - The Religious Left thinks that global warming is about to break-up the Religious Right:

ON THE RELIGIOUS LEFT, the great hope these days is that the Religious Right is melting down over Global Warming. Liberal evangelical activist Jim Wallis rejoiced about the crack-up in a recent column, claiming that "the Religious Right is losing control" thanks to environmentalist evangelicals. Wallis, head of "Sojourners" and author of God's Politics: Why the American Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Just Does Not Get It, is predicting a "sea change" among evangelicals since the Religious Right has "now lost control of the environmental issue."

The reason for Wallis's optimism is the newly-created Evangelical Climate Initiative (ECI), endorsed by 86 religious leaders, which declared early this year that "human-induced climate change is real" and which urged legislation limiting carbon dioxide emissions. Those endorsing the ECI were mostly academics from evangelical colleges, with the notable exception of mega-church pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren. The New York Times and other media outlets lavished much attention on ECI's stance.

But the dog days of summer, several months later, saw Pat Robertson's unexpected and sweaty epiphany on Global Warming. Did Robertson have advance notice of the Bush Administration plans ? It is unlikely we will ever know but such recent conversions, as one major Christian right leader or faction after another peels off from the antienvironmentalist bloc to acknowledges the human role in Global Climate Change, can hardly be pleasing to Mark Tooley and  allies of the IRD.

Joseph Farah, writing at World Net Daily last mid February 2006, sums up the ideological worldview that George W. Bush's projected, sudden about face would challenge:

We Americans are being thoroughly indoctrinated by the mass media, the government schools, the propaganda arms of the federal government and the pseudoscience-government complex on the phony issue of global warming.

Now, if all that is not enough, some significant church leaders are attempting to make the global, pagan, socialistic agenda behind the conspiracy a matter of faith.

That's basically all you need to know about global warming. It's a bunch of hot air, all right - hot air generated by people whose goal is always the same, redistributing wealth and reordering civilization.

Farah, however, is far from the most prominent American to be making such claims. Talk To Action contributor Richard Bartholomew, at Bartholomew's Notes On Religion, notes the ideological view of US Senator from Oklahoma, James Inhofe, as expressed July 2005:

Senator James Inhofe continues his war against the “hoax” of global warming with an attack on…the National Association of Evangelicals. Agape Press reports:
He claims liberals have convinced some evangelical groups to support global warming initiatives in order to bring in new funding that the Left can spend on other causes. Also, Inhofe asserts, liberals are "trying to suck up some of the evangelical crowd and put them into the issue of global warming. And when they do that, they give up their litmus tests. They give up their positions on abortion, their positions on gay marriage, and all that." However, the Oklahoma senator contends that the theory of global warming is a scare tactic being played up by the Left and the national media and that a number of Christian groups have bought into it. "I'm afraid there's one large organization, the National Association of Evangelicals, who have fallen into this trap," Inhofe laments.

So liberals made up global warming to fleece evangelicals for cash to fund abortion and gay marriage!

It is unclear as to how much the Bush Administration reversal - and the growing concern within the American evangelical community concerning global climate change - will harm Senator Inhofe's future political prospects, but needless to say those shifts can not help but work to marginalize Mr Inhofe's position and shed a light on the crankiness of his environmental views.

For a related story, see: Chewing On The Religious Right And Climate Change


During the record breaking heating of 1998, approximately 5% of the Earth's population became temporarily homeless, refugees from weather disasters.

Well, Id like to share the view that this can be a wedge issue on the right but Im more inclined to think that the savvy folks over at IRD will see this as the empty campaign promise that it is. They will publicly whine a bit and then go back to demonizing
their usual favorites.

This is possibly a Rovian attempt to recover from the recent polling saying that "national security moms" have abandoned ship. They think brandishing enviro creds will help with moderate repubs. Their house is fracturing; so they are jumping from one broken frame to another which they think they can sit on for a couple months.

by Splash on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 12:46:28 AM EST

Pat Robertson, for example peeled off a few months ago, and the same sort of arguments you've just made were offered then to discount the significance of Robertson's change of heart.

Now, the Bush Administration appears to be on the verge of a major repositioning.

There is an aggregate PR effect of these moves that serves to radically undercut antienvironmentalist ideology.

by Bruce Wilson on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 01:15:08 AM EST

Farah's lies are best countered by constantly making it known why the pro-enviromentalist evangelicals have become interested in the issue. It's not because of a "global, pagan, socialistic" conspiracy, but because the NAE spoke to Sir John Houghton, a very distinguished British climate scientist and himself an evangelical. I wrote about it here.

by Richard Bartholomew on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 05:34:57 AM EST

Perhaps evangelical leaders are acknowledging global warming because they realize the evidence is so strong.  Wedge issues are only wedge issues if they are debatable!

What will the IRD do?  Perhaps they will pull a Rush Limbaugh and say "We never said that," or maybe they'll ignore the issue completely and move on to another wedge issue.  If they choose the latter, my bet is that the issue they choose will have something to do with sex.


by Steven D. Martin on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 07:59:18 AM EST

But, that position will not be lightly abandoned.

by Bruce Wilson on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 12:17:03 AM EST

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