Thursday, April 19, 2012

'Resisting the Green Dragon': The Far Right's Holy War Against Environmentalism

by Sunnyjane

Detail of Right Wing Watch original image
[Preachers] dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight...Thomas Jefferson

Far-Right Christians (FRCs) are waging war against so many issues these days that crib notes are required to keep up with them.  So it is that the battle against environmental science is currently on their regressive agenda.  The FRC leaders get their jollies by commanding their zealous followers to Onward Christian Soldiers, Marching as to War, even when it is detrimental to their very existence to do so.  And naturally, the Tea Party members of the House and Senate have marched to their drummer with the cross of Jesus going on before.  Well, you get the picture.  But with International Mother Earth Day upon us, this is the perfect time to call them out.

In The Beginning, There Was Light...

Oh yes, dear readers, once upon a time there were leaders and lawmakers in Washington who actually believed that many human activities were harmful to the environment and should be curbed by -- dirty-word alert! -- regulations.  In the fall of 2009, The New Republic reported that George W. Bush had [in an early 2008 speech] originally planned to endorse cap-and-trade before being talked out of it by a "small but merry band of conservatives in the White House."  Shedding more light on this same speech, The Hill gives the following account from a book by Bush-insider Matthew Latimer:  At one point, the words "cap and trade" were put into the climate change speech, with the president expressing his support for the policy. Then somehow this leaked to the conservative press. Republicans on the outside of the White House sent furious objections, and the words were removed. 

During the 2008 presidential campaign, John McCain came out full force in his support of a cap-and-trade policy.  Sarah Palin, who McCain touted as knowing more about energy than anyone in the United States (no snorting, chortling, or guffawing allowed; this is serious bullshit business, folks) told Katie Couric, [McCain’s] got a good cap-and-trade policy that he supports.  

And Then Darkness Fell Upon The Earth

In a 21st Century redux of the Marriage at Cana, the Greedy groom promised to get some anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-education, anti-everything-progressive butts in the Congress if the Evangelical bride promised to fight the environmentalists and deliver the far-right Christian vote in favor of Big Oil.  (No mention of a water-into-wine miracle thingy taking place at the reception.  However, if somebody comes along who can change water into oil, you've got yourself a real religion!) 

And so it came to pass that with this unholy union between Big Oil and the Christianistas, a giant step to the far right followed and ideological extremism became The Policy.  By 2009, McCain was in a fiercely petulant mood and blubbered, I will not and cannot align myself with a government slush fund that will further burden our businesses and consumers.… and by 2010 Palin had finally caught the meme (yes, it takes her a while) and was disdainfully calling the President's policy cap-and-tax.  

The President's recent response: "Cap-and-trade was originally proposed by conservatives and Republicans as a market-based solution to solving environmental problems,” Obama said during a fiery speech at a luncheon hosted by The Associated Press.  "The first president to talk about cap-and-trade was George H.W. Bush. Now you've got the other party essentially saying we shouldn't even be thinking about environmental protection. ‘Let's gut the EPA.’ ”    

(It does no good whatsoever to remind skeptics how successful cap-and-trade was in reducing acid rain.)

Once Republicans got serious about kicking Barack Obama out of office, most of the wannabe-the-nominee clowns had something -- mostly outrageous -- to say about climate change:

Pope Santorum the Sanctimonious told Rush Limbaugh that global warming was junk science, and later informed Glenn Beck that There is no such thing as global warming; drill everywhere.   This is the same interview in which Beck wanted to kiss Ricky on the mouth.   (A huge Ewwww! is perfectly acceptable here.)

Michele Bachmann wanted her supporters in Minnesota armed and dangerous on the issue.

Newt Gingrich was for it before he was against it.

Herman Cain said it was nothing more than a tax scheme.  (Please remember 9-9-9 at this point.)

Rick Perry...well, he couldn't remember if he was for it or against it.  Oops!

And of course, there's flip-flopping Mitt Romney, who back in June of 2011 saidI believe the world's getting warmer. I can't prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that.  But after he got his ears boxed on that little pronouncement, he changed his tune.  By October, he had done a hard one-eighty and was saying,  My view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet.    (I know, it's hard to keep up with Mitt.)

Big Oil had kept its part of the marriage vow:  we all know that Congress is where pro-American bills go to die.

Science Sucks: The Environment Is God's Responsibility 

So how does a group of cream-colored fanatical Fundamentalist leaders get a bunch of uninformed and under-educated authoritarian puppets (who don't know cap-and-trade from cap-and-gown) to enlist in the battle against environmentalists?   Simple: just scare the crap out of them and let them know that scientists are nothing but heretics trying to usurp God's holy duties, as made perfectly clear in the Bible!  (Could someone provide me with the Biblical chapter and verses in which God says: Hey, don’t worry about all that contamination, greenhouse gas, toxic waste, smog, and cancer-producing fumes stuff; I’ll take care of that for you.   I couldn’t seem to find a reference to it.  Thanks.)   

Cue Resisting the Green Dragon, a 4-CD set available from for only $40, not including shipping and handling, of course.   (Hey, spreading ignorance ain't cheap, but the good news is: I understand that availability is not limited.)  Even though I am including some of the available text, it's important to click on the three-minute video sales pitch to really appreciate how, um, appealing it is.   

When Two Or Three Are Gathered In His Name, LOOK OUT!

All the usual far-right religious wingnuts make an appearance in this dandy piece of garbage work, and the fraudulent rhetoric, illogicality, fear-mongering, and blatant hypocrisy are overwhelming.    Janet Parshall, a  deceptively reasonable-sounding mouthpiece on a Christian-based radio station, gives the introduction:  (All following bold emphasis added.)

In what has become one of the greatest deceptions of our day, radical environmentalism is striving to put America and the world under its destructive control.  This so-called ‘Green Dragon’ is seducing your children in our classrooms and popular culture.  Its lust for political power now extends to the highest global levels.  And its twisted view of the world elevates nature above the needs of people of even the poorest and the most helpless.  With millions falling prey to its spiritual deception, the time is now to stand and resist.  Around the world, environmentalism has become a radical movement, something we call the Green Dragon, and it is deadly.  Deadly to human prosperity, deadly to human life, deadly to human freedom and deadly to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Make no mistake about it, environmentalism is no longer your friend, it is your enemy.  And the battle is not primarily political or material, it is spiritual.  (Deadly?  Keeping our air and water clean is deadly?)

Bryan Fischer, American Family Association:  As a former pastor, I’m always on the alert to threats to the Christian faith.  And make no mistake about it, environmentalism is exactly that.  It is its own religion.  And later, Mr. Fisher says: Exaggeration, myths and outright lies are commonplace in the environmental movement.  (Sounds like a bit of pot-calling-the-kettle-black, if you ask me.)

Dr. E. Calvin Beisner, Founder, Cornwall Alliance:  The environmental movement has actually become what I call the Cult of the Green Dragon, and we need to be prepared as Christians to rescue people from that cult.  (Doctor, heal thyself first, please.)

Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council:  Increasingly, I believe Bible-believing Christians are becoming aware and as a result, more concerned about the underlying philosophy of the radical environmental agenda and how it’s pointing people away from God and into humanism.  (Gasp!  How dare humans act...human!) 

Dr.Richard Land,President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention:  Environmentalists have a long history of believing and promoting exaggerations and myths.  (That is such obvious projection that it's mind-numbing.)

David Barton, Founder, WallBuilders:  Environmental science simply does not have a good track record, not at all.  Their false assertions are based more on their own morbid pessimistic fears, not on any good science.  (Liar, liar, pants on fire!)

Wendy Wright, President, Concerned Women for America:  The policies that environmental groups and even these evangelical groups got behind were ones that would consign the poorest of people around the world to grinding poverty, to disease, to premature death.  (There is enough unadulterated hypocrisy in that statement to make your hair bleed.) 

Sick of them already?   Yes, me too, but it's important to understand their mindset and their tactics.

End Note:  Let's Get Serious

Call it global warming or climate change, it is dangerous to Earth, and human activities contribute to it.   Those who have chosen a bury-your-head-in-the-sand approach to the problem will find that particular exercise much easier when half the planet turns to desert.   In order to avoid that disaster, a two-pronged line of attack may be useful.  

The GOP, the Tea Party, and Big Oil must take ownership of the failure to pass important legislation that would curb out-of-control environmental pollution.  We must hang it around their necks like the Ancient Mariner's albatross and make them bear forever the stench of their treachery and the dishonor of their corruption:  
                 Ah! well a-day! What evil looks had I from old and young!  
                Instead of the cross, the Albatross about my neck was hung.   

As for the Fundamentalist who prey upon their followers' ignorance, we have to acknowledge the psychological ploy they use: the greater the fear, the larger the spider.  By using this same tactic (education will not work in this instance), perhaps some may be turned away from their fear of the Green Dragon.  The meme must be touted that ‘God’ detests rich, arrogant despoilers and polluters and that He has instilled in His human children – to whom He granted wise stewardship over His created Earth – the intelligence by which they can and must keep this planet clean and healthy.  To do less than that which God expects -- nay, demands -- of us, we go against his Holy Word and will be forever damned to Hell.  (This is the only language they understand.) 


Many, many thanks to ProChoiceGrandma for not only proposing this post to me, but for providing numerous references, links, and text that were invaluable.  This is a very important topic to PCG, one she's been thinking about for a long time.  I appreciate her entrusting it to me, and I hope I have done it justice.   

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