Climate change

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Rep. Michele Bachmann's Tea Party rally cost taxpayers $14,000.
  • Speaking of Bachmann, she and Rep. Steve King are so in sync that they are now sharing a press secretary.
  • Niger Innin and Harry Jackson are taking their bogus "war on the poor" effort to the Tea Party crowd.
  • FRC's Peter Sprigg blasts Census officials for telling gay couples to report themselves as married .
  • It is "unlikely" that Tommy Thompson will challenge Sen. Russ Feingold.
  • Mike Huckabee has now registered to vote in Florida.
  • Behold an upcoming FRC event: "How a Climate Change Treaty Threatens You, Your Nation and Your Church." Not "How a Climate Change Threatens You, Your Nation and Your Church," but "How a Climate Change Treaty Threatens You, Your Nation and Your Church."
  • Finally, quote of the day from David Brooks: "First, let’s all stop paying attention to Sarah Palin for a little while ... She is in 2010 what Jerry Falwell was from the mid-1990s until his death — a conservative cartoon inflated by media. Evangelicals used to say that Falwell had three main constituency groups — ABC, CBS and NBC."

Liberty vs Reality

Yesterday, we posted this AFP video report on what passes for science education at Liberty University, so I guess it is not a surprise that when Liberty U Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. promised students a special guest for convocation, it turned out to be infamous climate change-denier Christopher Monckton.

You really have to admire Liberty's interpretation of the visit.

First, read this Lynchburg News and Advance article entitled "Global-warming skeptic speaks at Liberty University":

British climate-change skeptic Lord Christopher Monckton took on the United Nations, Al Gore and the mainstream media during a talk at Liberty University’s student convocation Wednesday, in which he questioned the science behind climate-change research and called for an end to the “global warming panic" ... Monckton praised the late Rev. Jerry Falwell for his outspoken criticism of global warming and mocked Al Gore’s documentary film “An Inconvenient Truth,” calling it a “mawkish, science fiction, comedy horror movie.”

...

Jerry Falwell Jr. said inviting Monckton to speak at Liberty was a way to expose students to both sides of the climate-change debate.

“A lot of our students come from public schools where the truth of global warming and the science of global warming is not always known,“ Falwell said after convocation.

Christians have a calling by God to protect the environment, Falwell added, and therefore should have a complete view of the global-warming debate.

“Many Christian young people are susceptible to the claims of the vast majority of environmentalists today who use pseudo-science to promote political agendas in the name of protecting the environment when their real goals are destroying freedom and destroying the economies of the western world,” he said later by e-mail. “Lord Monckton illustrated for our students in great detail how the hard left is doing just that around the world.”

...

Monckton is transparent about his lack of a science background.

“I have no scientific credentials whatsoever except a rather profitable knowledge of mathematics,” he said, adding that mathematics is the language of science.

Monckton said the “global warming panic” was responsible for countless deaths from starvation in Third World countries when Western nations shifted their priorities from growing food to growing biofuels.

“This is an outrage and a scandal that everyone at this university should oppose,” Monckton said.

Now compare that to this Liberty University article that provides a rather different account of the visit in a piece entitled "British royalty speaks on climate change":

On Wednesday, Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr., promised students an unusual convocation and that is what they got. Lord Christopher Monckton, the first member of British royalty to speak at convocation, presented issues with the current climate change scare driven by prominent figures within the scientific and political communities.

Monckton, Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, is chief policy advisor to the Science and Public Policy Institute. He has held various prestigious titles — businessman, policy advisor, newspaper editor, writer, classical architect and puzzle inventor.

Monckton served as an advisor to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s policy unit and is a renowned advocate of Euro skepticism.

After first hearing Monckton on the Neal Boortz radio program a couple of years ago, Falwell said he knew he had to have him come and share with the students.

“He was so brilliant, so articulate and he was so politically incorrect on the issue of climate change,” Falwell said.

In introducing Monckton on Wednesday, Falwell encouraged students to consider the issues surrounding this false fear of climate change.

...

Students found the presentation both eye-opening and entertaining, as it called them to once again challenge majority opinion, media content and so-called scientific facts.

Monckton ended his appearance with a quote from former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, “‘The university should be a place of light, of liberty and of learning,’ and you are a place of light and of liberty and of learning.” He then participated in a question-and-answer session with students regarding global climate change.

The More Moderate, Less Heated Religious Right?

There are certain articles that seem to pop up on a semi-regular basis that I just can never understand. The first are the obligatory "The Religious Right is Dead" articles that get written every time the GOP loses an election ... and they are inevitable followed a few years later by articles marveling at the Right's miraculous resurrection.

The other articles I don't understand are more recent, beginning back when Mike Huckabee was running for president, in which it is asserted that the Religious Right is getting toning down its rhetoric and somehow broadening its agenda.

Articles like this:

Fire and brimstone evangelicalism has simmered down into a broader movement of cooler approaches.

Yet much of what has been said about the expanded political agenda and softer tone of evangelical Christians has missed the point, say observers of the Christian right.

"Every time a Democrat gets elected they say: 'That's the end of the Christian conservatives. They're gone,' " said D.C.-based Ethics and Public Policy Center vice president Michael Cromartie. "But they're not. Broadening their agenda doesn't mean they are suddenly liberal Democrats."

And evangelicals, Cromartie said, are not abandoning their core issues: traditional marriage and sanctity of life. "Climate change does not trump pro-life issues."

Although the rhetoric is gentler, the politics are the same. The money is going to lobby for the same things. The basic voting structure was largely unchanged in 2008, pollsters say.

"We want to be relevant to a new generation, but we plan to stay strong on the pillars Dr. James Dobson built at Focus on the Family," said Tom Minnery, the ministry's senior vice president of government and public policy.

...

Jim Daly, the 48-year-old head of Focus on the Family media ministry, is seen inside the conservative Christian organization as less authoritarian and more approachable than his predecessor, the 73-year- old Dobson.

Outside the organization, Cromartie said, Daly is seen as more affable and willing to seek common ground.

"As (Focus on the Family) tries to reach the next generation of young families, we're trying to use words that work," Minnery said.

What evidence is there that "fire and brimstone evangelicalism has simmered down"?  The article provides none.  

Have they even been paying attention to anything the Religious Right has been saying lately

As for the idea that Focus on the Family is moderating its tone, that remains to be seen.  James Dobson is still, for all intents and purposes, the voice of the organization and will remain so until he finally leaves next month.  If the organization does become more willing to seek common ground and less confrontational under Daly, that will certainly be newsworthy, but for now it is impossible to say.

If journalists want to declare that the Religious Right is moderating its tone and broadening its agenda, they ought to at least provide some evidence, because I haven't seen any.  If anything, the Right is getting more radical and its language more strident under Obama than it has ever been in recent years.

Porter Calls for Prayer and Fasting to Stop Health Care Reform, Brownback Vows to "String This Thing Out"

Janet Porter was not involved in the Right Wing "prayercast" earlier this week, so she is issuing her own call to prayer and fasting to stop health care reform because "we are literally in a battle for our lives and our freedom":

Faith2Action, founded by Janet (Folger) Porter, is today issuing a national call to prayer, fasting and action until Christmas Day.

The two reasons for this urgent call, one week before Christmas, are (1) the pending cloture vote in the U.S. Senate on government-run healthcare, and (2) the last-minute attempts to reach a global agreement as the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference comes to an end.

“Even though Christmas is less than a week away, we are literally in a battle for our lives and our freedom," states Faith2Action President Janet Porter. "If the Senate votes to put the Government in control of our life-saving treatment options, we are all in grave danger. This lethal legislation includes abortion funding and the denial of treatment needed to save our lives. We are also in danger of surrendering our Sovereignty to global governance," added Porter. "Please pray that God will intervene to block a treaty from being signed in Copenhagen that would sign away U.S. sovereignty and issue unprecedented taxes and control over our lives and businesses.

"Please join us for a time of prayer, fasting, and action all the way to Christmas--calling on our Senators to vote against Cloture on the government takeover of health care," Porter added. "Please also pray that Senator Ben Nelson will continue to stand strong against forced funding of abortion on demand and vote against cloture which would bring the government-run healthcare bill to the floor for a vote. If he doesn't, Americans would be forced to violate their consciences in funding abortions through their tax dollars for the first time in 30 years.

"All I want for Christmas is my life and my freedom. But it's going to take prayer, fasting, and action to achieve that." Porter emphasized.

And for good measure Sen. Sam Brownback, who was a featured participant in the "prayercast," appeared on Porter's radio program yesterday to discuss the Republican effort to stop health care reform, promising that they would do everything possible to "string this thing out" and make sure that this "monstrosity" does not pass and agreed with Porter when she declared that "our very lives are on the line":

Monckton's Got Nothing On Huckabee

Last week, Media Matters ran this piece exposing the views of Lord Christopher Monckton:

Media Matters Action Network, our partner organization, has unearthed a 1987 American Spectator article in which Lord Christopher Monckton -- one of the right's favorite global warming deniers -- advocates requiring the entire population to undergo monthly HIV tests and forcibly quarantining "for life" those who test positive.

You would think that such views would have made Monckton a marginal figure. But apparently there are no views too extreme for the right-wing media.

On October 23, for instance, Glenn Beck said on his Fox News show that Monckton is "one of the world's foremost authorities on what the global warming hoax is really all about and what they are about to sign over in Copenhagen."

Monckton appeared as a guest throughout Beck's October 30 Fox show. Beck introduced Monckton by saying: "With me now, Lord Christopher Monckton, former adviser to British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher and climate change expert."

On October 19, Rush Limbaugh described Monckton as "a voice of sanity," saying, "The hysteria on the left on virtually everything is all over the place. So you got to hear a voice of sanity in this. Last Wednesday, St. Paul, Minnesota, during a presentation at Bethel University, a portion of remarks made by Lord Christopher Monckton regarding the United Nations' climate change treaty."

Allow me to just remind everyone that Mike Huckabee said more or less the same thing ... in 1992, which was five years after Monckton wrote his piece and four years after the federal government had distributed a pamphlet penned by then Surgeon General C. Everett Koop entitled “Understanding AIDS” which explained that the disease could not be contracted through everyday contact:

"It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population," he said. "This deadly disease, for which there is no cure, is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents.

"If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague."

Huckabee is currently a leading contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, a highly sought-after speaker, and host of a television program on Fox News.

Considering that such views didn't turn Huckabee into a marginal figure, it shouldn't come as much of a shock to see someone like Monckton hailed as a "voice of sanity" because, as Media Matters notes, there simply are "no views too extreme for the right-wing media."

UPDATE: Over at Open Left, Nick Berning points out that Monckton is not actully a "lord," nor is he a "Nobel Laureate."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Interesting info: Mass Resistance started up in 1993 in Cardinal Bernard Law's residence with a bunch of people from around the state. It was mostly clergy and other related people who wanted to talk about issues having to do with the culture wars and after a series of months, Mr. Camenker was elected to run the group in late 1993. In 1994, they named themselves the "Interfaith Coalition." Later, after same sex marriage became law in the state, a blogger in the group set a up a site called "Mass Resistance," and the group changed the name. Right before that, they were known as the "Parent's Rights Coalition."
  • You know what the White House needs?  Someone with "Divine Integrity."
  • For some reason, the Washington Post thought it was a good use of space to let Sarah Palin write an op-ed about Copenhagen and climate change.
  • Anti-immigration hero and Hazleton mayor Lou Barletta is mounting yet another challenge to Rep. Paul Kanjorski.
  • It looks like Gov. Mark Sanford will escape impeachment.
  • Business Insider: Health insurance industry trade groups opposed to President Obama's health care reform bill are paying Facebook users fake money -- called "virtual currency" -- to send letters to Congress protesting the bill
  • Have you always want to see Sen. Orrin Hatch sing about Hanukkah. Well, here you go.
  • Finally, Chico The Car Guard is just like the shepherds to whom the angles announced the birth of Christ!

Sen. Johanns Follows "Conspiracy Kook" On Porter's Radio Program

Have you ever seen the movie "They Live," starring professional wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper who, thanks to a special pair of sunglasses, is the only one able to realize that aliens are using subliminal messages to control humanity? 

Well, then have I got a website for you: Boxofsunglasses.com, otherwise known as THEorYofLIVEvolution.com:

Please take a few moments to read this before entering; it may save you some time. The home page is definitely aimed at 'shock value'. This "conspiracy theorist" has already awoken to the "conspiracy". Have no doubt, ultimately IT IS US. I've 'kicked the tires' endlessly here not unlike the Apostle Thomas. Call it conceit or condescension or whatever but I can see 'THEM' a mile away. And so can you, if you care to. Although a minority, I'm certainly not the only one. For example, Rush Limbaugh, a cheerleader for the less than disappointing Republican Party, has received bitter rebuke from "the One" and his minions in Congress for speaking out against our new Messiah. Why? If he's so bad let him shoot his trap. Of course there's an ulterior motive: it's called the Fairness Doctrine (look it up). "We the people" elected this guy; he's only the latest in a long line of "disappointing" leaders. How about corporate jet buying CEO's everyone is so worked up over? Again anyone can see this sham a mile away; if they care to. It is absolutely reprehensible for people to act this way especially in today's economic downturn. However, it should be their right. But it's no longer because it's 'taxpayer money' (a sham in and of itself you can see if you decide to enter the web site). This is classic class warfare brought to us courtesy "our" government. Think about it. They know it's absolutely illegal for the government to 'loan' companies money and this is for a reason: when they loan you they own you. Today everybody is lambasting the CEOs; tomorrow we're going to be lambasting each other when one company gets "more" from Uncle Sam and our Uncle decides how much the bank teller should be paid. In other words, our old Uncle will be all too willing to step and decide what's 'fair' after all 'he' loaned us the money. Of course "The Messiah" and friends will be the ones who decide what 'fair' is and what our 'rights' will be.

Now, this sort of right-wing conspiracy theory insanity is not the sort of thing we generally tend to cover here at RWW ... but we are making an exception in this case because Janet Porter decided to have Rob Roselli, the man responsible for this website, on her radio program yesterday to discuss "Copenhagen and the lies from junk climate science."

Apparently, Roselli considers himself something of an expert on the topic and so Porter decided to have him on the program to enlighten her audience.  Guess how it went?

So there you go:  climate change is really part of a massive conspiracy cooked up by "globalist clowns who hate mankind" and "genocidal maniacs" who are out to destroy humanity while the current political leadership is engaged in simply repackaging Nazi eugenics in an effort to implement it on a massive scale.

Amazingly, Porter's interview with Roselli was followed, on the very same program, by an interview with United States Senator Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska).

If that doesn't sum up the current state of the Republican Party and the right-wing movement, I don't know what does.

Right Wing Round-Up

The Right's New Manhattan Project

It seems that Chuck Colson has gathered together a group of right-wing activists and clergy for something called the "Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience" in order to create a unified front in fighting the culture war

The manifesto, to be released on Friday at the National Press Club in Washington, is an effort to rejuvenate the political alliance of conservative Catholics and evangelicals that dominated the religious debate during the administration of President George W. Bush. The signers include nine Roman Catholic archbishops and the primate of the Orthodox Church in America.

They want to signal to the Obama administration and to Congress that they are still a formidable force that will not compromise on abortion, stem-cell research or gay marriage. They hope to influence current debates over health care reform, the same-sex marriage bill in Washington, D.C., and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

They say they also want to speak to younger Christians who have become engaged in issues like climate change and global poverty, and who are more accepting of homosexuality than their elders. They say they want to remind them that abortion, homosexuality and religious freedom are still paramount issues.

For some reason, the headline of the New York Times article is "Christian Leaders Unite on Political Issues" instead of "Right Wing Activists Unite On Political Issues," which would have been far more accurate considering that a significant number of those who signed on to this declaration are standard Religious Right political activists:

Chuck Colson Founder, the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview

Jim Daly President and CEO, Focus on the Family (Colorado Springs, CO)

Marjorie Dannenfelser President, Susan B. Anthony List (Arlington, VA)

Dr. James Dobson Founder, Focus on the Family (Colorado Springs, CO)

Dr. William Donohue President, Catholic League (New York, NY)

Dinesh D’Souza Writer & Speaker (Rancho Santa Fe, CA)

Rev. Jonathan Falwell Senior Pastor, Thomas Road Baptist Church (Lynchburg, VA)

Maggie Gallagher President, Institute for Marriage and Public Policy and a co-author of The Case for Marriage (Manassas, VA)

Dr. Robert P. George McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)

Rev. Ken Hutcherson Pastor, Antioch Bible Church (Kirkland, WA)

Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr. Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church (Beltsville, MD)

Dr. Richard Land President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC (Washington, DC)

Rev. Herb Lusk Pastor, Greater Exodus Baptist Church (Philadelphia, PA)

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY)

Tony Perkins President, Family Research Council (Washington, D.C.)

Alan Sears President, CEO, & General Counsel, Alliance Defense Fund (Scottsdale, AZ)

Mark Tooley President, Institute for Religion and Democracy (Washington, D.C.)

The Declaration can be found here:

While the whole scope of Christian moral concern, including a special concern for the poor and vulnerable, claims our attention, we are especially troubled that in our nation today the lives of the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly are severely threatened; that the institution of marriage, already buffeted by promiscuity, infidelity and divorce, is in jeopardy of being redefined to accommodate fashionable ideologies; that freedom of religion and the rights of conscience are gravely jeopardized by those who would use the instruments of coercion to compel persons of faith to compromise their deepest convictions.

Because the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as a union of husband and wife, and the freedom of conscience and religion are foundational principles of justice and the common good, we are compelled by our Christian faith to speak and act in their defense. In this declaration we affirm: 1) the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every human being as a creature fashioned in the very image of God, possessing inherent rights of equal dignity and life; 2) marriage as a conjugal union of man and woman, ordained by God from the creation, and historically understood by believers and non-believers alike, to be the most basic institution in society and; 3) religious liberty, which is grounded in the character of God, the example of Christ, and the inherent freedom and dignity of human beings created in the divine image.

We are Christians who have joined together across historic lines of ecclesial differences to affirm our right—and, more importantly, to embrace our obligation—to speak and act in defense of these truths. We pledge to each other, and to our fellow believers, that no power on earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence. It is our duty to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in its fullness, both in season and out of season. May God help us not to fail in that duty.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Is Sarah Palin demanding $100,000 to speak to conservatives in Iowa?  Her spokesperson denies it.
  • Dirty tricks in the NY-23 election.
  • The Hill: Bonner & Associates "knew several days ahead of a critical House climate change vote that letters it sent to members claiming local nonprofit groups opposed the bill were fake."
  • Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition gets active in Virginia.
  • FRC goes after Gingrich: Newt’s Big Tent Seems to Attract A Lot of Clowns.
  • Finally, from the Buffalo News: "Political observers across New York are asking today whether Erie County Executive Chris Collins has irreparably damaged his prospects for statewide office after he compared Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to Adolf Hitler and an Antichrist during a Saturday speech in Buffalo."

Christian Coalition: The New Environmentalists

A few months ago we noted that the Christian Coalition, after firing its incoming president, Joel Hunter, for trying to get the group to expand its agenda to include things like climate change, had suddenly changed its tune and begun working with the National Wildlife Federation.

It seems as if this change is the real deal, because the two groups recently ran a joint ad in Politico calling on Senators to "work together to move forward with a clean energy plan for America":

America's economic growth, national security and the health of our environment are all intertwined with our country's energy policies - and we need a better plan.

We can better ensure our national security, strengthen our economy and protect our environment at the same time by developing American energy resources and investing in clean, renewable energy technologies that create American jobs.

In other words we need a comprehensive, all-American approach to our energy needs. A solution that allows for the development of American resources to lower our gas prices, but also recognizes we must work towards a much more diversified energy future.

* We believe that America is addicted to foreign oil. America currently sends over 700 billion dollars every year to foreign countries - in many cases, making countries that hate us very rich.

* We believe that an over-reliance on foreign sources of energy is harmful to our country's national security and puts our economy at risk.

* We need a comprehensive approach to deal with our country's energy needs and provide stable sources of energy to run our economy and provide for our families

* We need solutions that include proven American technology and resources, as well as the development of new "renewable" energy technologies. By building on current technologies, such as nuclear and natural gas, and developing new technologies, America can provide for its future energy independence and build its economy.

* We call for the launch of an American energy independence program focused on developing American energy resources, providing tax credits to spur development of new technology and alternative energy production, and offering incentives for energy efficiencies.

As conservatives, we stand up for our country's national security and the health of our economy. And, as Christians, we recognize the Biblical mandate to care for God's creation and protect our children's future.

You can see a PDF of the ad here.

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • It looks like, after just one event, Rep. Eric Cantor's National Council for a New America has already flamed out.
  • Operation Rescue has launched a petition aimed at stopping LeRoy Carhart from opening a new facility in Kansas.
  • The Alliance Defense Fund has announced that September 27 will be its second "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" in which churches and pastors are urged to challenge tax rules barring them from endorsing political candidates [PDF].
  • A principal overseeing a high school in which church-state violations were reportedly rampant now faces possible jail time for violating a court order to cease such practices.
  • Finally, Ralph Reed declares that "values voters" will resuscitate the GOP:

    The bottom line is that voters primarily motivated by their values will not go away. They are a persistent bunch. They have now gained a place at the table, have been seasoned by the experience of building (and now losing) a governing majority, and they are going to speak to a broad range of issues, from the economy to climate change to health care. They will likely be at the center of any GOP revival of fortunes. No amount of name-calling or intimidation will make them go away.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • David Weigel discovers the source of the Birthers' forged Kenyan birth certificate.
  • Linda Harvey did not like Joe.My.God's take on her statement on the shooting in Tel Aviv, but JMG insists that her "words spoke for themselves and I stand by my original post."
  • Christy Hardin Smith asks if the NRA is backtracking on its opposition to Sonia Sotomayor by saying it doesn't know how heavily it will weigh the vote on her nomination in its scorecard.
  • Good As You: Concerned Women for America says gays are no different than thieves and alcoholics.
  • Talking Points Memo: Bonner and Associates was working on behalf of the coal industry when it sent forged letters -- purporting to come from local Hispanic and black groups -- to a member of Congress, urging him to oppose the recent climate change bill. Also, Rep. Ed Markey wants some answers from the company.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Our latest Right Wing Watch In Focus is now available: "To Hell with Health Care Reform: Religious Right Leaders Attack Obama, Spout GOP Dogma about 'Socialism' While Fanning Flames on Abortion."
  • D.C. lobbying firm Bonner and Associates has been busted sending forged letters opposing climate change legislation to members of Congress and blames it on a "temp" who has been fired, though they seem to have a history of pulling these sorts of astroturf stunts.
  • Dick Armey explains why he doesn't believe in global warming: "[T]he lord God almighty made the heavens and the Earth, and he made them to his satisfaction and it is quite pretentious of we little weaklings here on earth to think that, that we are going to destroy God’s creation."
  • Matthew Yglesias: Just When You Thought the “Beer Summit” Story Couldn’t Get Any More Ridiculous…
  • Jim Burroway takes an in-depth look at NARTH's new "peer reviewed" study proving that sexual orientation can be changed.
  • Finally, Steve Benen takes a look at the fascinating new Daily Kos poll showing who does and who does not believe that President Obama was born in the United States.

An Environmentally-Friendly Christian Coalition?

Back in 2006, the Christian Coalition made news when its new president, Joel Hunter, resigned before even official taking office due to the organization's unwillingness to consider broadening its agenda beyond gays and abortion to include things like poverty and climate change:

The Central Florida pastor recently tapped to lead the Christian Coalition of America resigned his position in a dispute about conservative philosophy -- more than a month before he was to fully assume his post, he said Wednesday.

The Rev. Joel Hunter, of Longwood's Northland, A Church Distributed, said he quit as president-elect of the group founded by evangelist Pat Robertson because he realized he would be unable to broaden the organization's agenda beyond opposing abortion and gay marriage.

He hoped to include issues such as easing poverty and saving the environment.

"These are issues that Jesus would want us to care about," Hunter said.

The resignation took place Tuesday during an organization board meeting. Hunter said he was not asked to leave.

"They pretty much said, 'These issues are fine, but they're not our issues; that's not our base,' " Hunter said of his conversation with the group's leadership.

A statement issued by the coalition said Hunter resigned because of "differences in philosophy and vision." The board accepted his decision "unanimously," it states.

As Hunter explained at the time, his "attempt to broaden the agenda just didn't work. I thought maybe it would. They said they wanted to go into some of these other issues, but when it came time to do it, they were afraid of alienating their base."

Which makes this recent development all the more confusing:

To environmentalists, it must have seemed a sight as rare as an ivory-billed woodpecker nesting in a chainsaw factory: Roberta Combs addressing the annual gathering of the National Wildlife Federation?

Let's rephrase that: The president of the Christian Coalition, a staunch ally of right-wing Republicans, has befriended one of the country's most venerable environmental groups.

In a later phone interview with Pittsburgh City Paper, Combs confirmed it was her first public talk ever to an environmental group. And it happened right here in Pittsburgh, the latest development in a burgeoning partnership between Combs and NWF President Larry Schweiger.

"I feel at home here, with you guys, the National Wildlife Federation," Combs told some 250 staffers and volunteers from across the nation, at their May 1 gathering at Downtown's Omni William Penn.

Schweiger, a Pittsburgh native, told the audience that he and Combs have been quietly working Washington, D.C., together for some time. As a result, he said, "We're getting into places we've never gotten into before" -- like the offices of some Republican politicians.

The NWF has more than 4 million members and supporters. The Christian Coalition claims some 2 million supporters, a substantial pool of potential new allies in the fight against global warming and other ills.

For Combs, the chief motivator is energy policy. She said the alliance with the NWF dovetails with the Coalition's own America's Path to Progress initiative, which calls for ending our reliance on foreign oil to improve national security as well as to combat climate change. The urgency of those goals helped her see past a longstanding partisan divide.

"This is not a Republican issue. This is not a Democratic issue," said Combs, standing at the podium with her grandson Logan. "This is a family-values issue."

Energy efficiency and renewable energy, she added, are "the kind of progress that upholds our Christian values."

For the last several years, the Christian Coalition has been rather irrelevant, having all but lost every bit of the influence it once wielded within the Religious Right political power-structure.  And I suspect that this sort of heretical behavior will only serve to further lessen what little relevance it might still have had within the movement. 

After all, the Religious Right does not look kindly on those in its camp who try to make climate change part of the agenda, regardless of their motivation.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Texas Gov. Rick Perry continues his efforts to woo the Religious Right ahead of his primary battle with Kay Bailey Hutchison, agreeing to speak at this year's Values Voter Summit.
  • Politico profiles anti-immigration activist Chris Simcox who is planning his own primary challenge against Sen. John McCain.
  • Sarah Palin's standing within the GOP seems to be dropping by the day.
  • SunTrust Banks Inc. is suing Pat Robertson for more than $3.6 million from Robertson stemming from a failed business venture back in the 1990s.
  • Rob Schenck kicked off the 20th annual U. S. Capitol Bible Reading Marathon on Sunday night and it is set to continue to 90 consecutive hours.
  • Finally, the Cornwall Alliance has hired Shannon Royce to fight the efforts by Christians to make climate change an issue for grassroots activists:
  • Royce, who formerly worked on Capitol Hill for the Southern Baptist Convention's public policy arm and was founding executive director of the Arlington Group, a coalition of "pro-family" organizations, said environmentalism began making inroads into evangelical Christianity a number of years ago "with some on the left deliberately courting and engaging some of our Christian friends and brothers on issues like this, and unfortunately I think at times co-opting them, with their concerns."

    "I don't question the motives of those who have gotten engaged on that, but I think unfortunately the science just doesn't support this," she said.

Is Richard Cizik Trying to Get Fired?

It is no secret that Religious Right leaders have had it out for Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals for some time now, starting back in 2007 when they tried to get him fired for branching out into the global warming debate because they feared it was undermining the focus on their traditional anti-choice, anti-gay agenda. 

He certainly didn’t make any friends before the election when he blasted John McCain for selling out to the Religious Right … and now he has even fewer friends among the old-guard right-wing leaders thanks to this recent interview with Terry Gross on NPR’s “Fresh Air” where he all but admitted that he voted for Barack Obama, said that Dick Armey had good reasons for calling people like James Dobson bullies and thugs, predicted that climate change is going to become an issue on which evangelicals become increasingly active, pledged to work with the Obama administration to find ways to reduce unwanted pregnancies in this country, and admitted that his opposition to marriage equality is “shifting

GROSS: Let me ask you; you say that you really identify with the concerns and priorities of younger evangelical voters and one of those priorities is uh—it’s more of an acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage. A couple of years ago when you were on our show I asked you if you were changing your mind on that and two years ago you said that you were still opposed to gay marriage. But now as you identify more and more with the younger voters and their priorities, have you changed on gay marriage?  

CIZIK:  I’m shifting; I have to admit. In other words, I would be willing to say I believe in civil unions. I don’t officially support redefining marriage, from its traditional definition, I don’t think. WE have this tension going on in our movement between what is church-building and what is nation-building, and I lean in this spectrum at times, maybe we should concentrate on building our values in our own movement. WE have become so absorbed in the question of gay rights and the rest, we fail to understand the challenges and threats to marriage itself—heterosexual marriage. Maybe we need to re-evaluate this and look at it a little differently.

Not surprisingly, his statements have generated controversy in evangelical circles, forcing the NAE’s president to assure its board that the organization’s priorities remain the same:

The president of the National Association of Evangelicals reassured the organization’s Board of Directors as well as media outlets this past week that the group remains fully committed to its long-held stance on abortion, marriage and other biblical values after several controversial statements were made by the group’s vice president.

In a letter to the NAE’s Board of Directors, the Rev. Leith Anderson said that the wording of the Rev. Richard Cizik, NAE’s vice president for governmental affairs, during a recent interview with NPR (National Public Radio) “did not appropriately reflect the positions of the National Association of Evangelicals and its constituents.”

“Our NAE stand on marriage, abortion and other biblical values is long, clear and unchanged,” Anderson wrote in the letter to the directors, a portion of which he forwarded to several news agencies including The Christian Post, on Saturday.

He added, “Richard has strongly assured to me of his own support and agreement with our NAE values and positions. This was not understood by listeners from what he said.”

Tony Perkins, for one, isn’t buying it, saying that Cizik “left the reservation a long time ago” and wanting to know why he is still employed by the NAE:

How else can you explain enthusiastic support for what will probably be the nation's most pro-abortion, anti-family president in our nation's 232 year history?

The question, however, remains. If Cizik does not speak for the NAE, as the Rev. Anderson has said, why is he on Capitol Hill representing NAE and claiming to speak for Evangelicals? Is it possible for a human being to come with a disclaimer?

The Institute on Religion and Democracy wants to know the same thing:

"Is Richard Cizik representing typical members of the Assemblies of God, the Salvation Army, or the Presbyterian Church in America, along with millions of other evangelicals, when he suggests, even momentarily, support for liberal issues like civil unions? If not, then why is he NAE's chief spokesman? Should not that spokesman consistently espouse traditional evangelical beliefs?"

As do representatives of Concerned Women for America:

Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America, said, “Mr. Cizik claimed that his views are five years ahead of his constituency, but these views are not anywhere close to Biblical orthodoxy, traditional Christian theology nor the bulk of Evangelicals who ground their faith in the Bible. Perhaps this is why he espouses them in forums to which most of his supposed 'constituency' do not listen.”

Janice Shaw Crouse, Director and Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute, said, “The NAE consists of 45,000 churches, 50 denominations and 30 million constituents. I cannot believe that they are happy to have a spokesperson, who supposedly represents them, expressing views that are contrary to Biblical authority and contradict theological orthodoxy. I think, perhaps, my dear friend Rich has been inside the Beltway for too long and has swallowed too much of the NPR and Vogue Magazine Kool-Aid.”

One has to wonder just how many more times Cizik can get away with repudiating and alienating the traditional Religious Right movement and its agenda before the powers-that-be at the NAE finally succumb to the pressure and fire him.

Richard Land: Historian and Scientist

It seems that Richard Land is not just some Religious Right leader and pundit, he's also something of a renaissance man with expertise in a wide variety of area - such as predicting the course of history where, in the future, George W. Bush will be hailed as one of our greatest president:

A prominent Southern Baptist leader has compared George W. Bush to Harry Truman, another president whose approval ratings dropped to the 20s in his final months in office but is now considered one of the greatest American presidents of the 20th century.

"Just remember that you heard it here from me," Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said Dec. 6 on his weekly radio program. "He will be the Harry Truman of our time."

Commenting on reports of a debate about whether Bush would go down as one of the worst presidents in the last 50 years, Land predicted that, like Truman's, Bush's legacy will be vindicated by the long scope of history.

That includes the president's least popular decision, the 2003 invasion of Iraq. While acknowledging the entry into war was handled poorly, Land said, the 2007 troop surge has placed the U.S.-led coalition on the cusp of victory of Iraq.

In addition to making America safer, Land applauded Bush for blunting "the metastasizing of abortion" by opposing late-term abortions and research using embryonic stem cells.

But Land isn't stopping there and is likewise demonstrating a heretofore unknown scientific expertise as he explains that climate change is a total hoax:

Richard Land, head of the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, called global warming a "hoax" and a "scam" on his weekly radio program Nov. 22.

Land attributed fluctuations in global temperature to "cycles of nature that God has allowed in the cosmos" and labeled human activity "a minor contribution to global warming."

"The sunspots have faded, the solar cycle has peaked, the sun is going into a quiescent period and everybody but [former Vice President and anti-global warming activist] Al Gore is cooling off," Land said.

Of course, it is not as if Land has a particularly good track record of making predictions regarding the issues he actually does know something about, as displayed by his repeated proclamations just over a year ago that Fred Thompson was a "Southern-fried Reagan” and that "to see Fred work a crowd must be what it was like to watch Rembrandt paint,” so it is probably best to take his current declarations with a grain or two of salt.

FRC Works To Ensure Every Child Has an Opportunity to Be Poor and Get Sick

One of the things I find most entertaining about the Religious Right is their vehement opposition to any effort to broaden the so-called “evangelical agenda” to include anything beyond the Right’s core anti-gay, anti-abortion agenda and their constant attempts to justify their rigidly narrow focus.  

Starting back in 2006 after the GOP got thumped in the mid-term elections and the media stopped talking about “values voters” and began to write about the emergence of a “new evangelical” movement, right-wing leaders were telling anyone who would listen that religious efforts to help the poor or protect the environment were all well and good but were just way less important than opposing gays and abortion:

"It's not a question of the poor not being important or that meeting their needs is not important," said Paul Hetrick, a spokesman for Focus on the Family, Dobson's influential, Colorado-based Christian organization. "But whether or not a baby is killed in the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy, that is less important than help for the poor? We would respectfully disagree with that."

When Rev. Joel Hunter was tapped to take over the Christian Coalition, he ended up leaving his position before he even began because they wanted to have

nothing to do

with his efforts to broaden the Religious Right’s agenda and then, in 2007, when the National Association of Evangelicals’ Richard Cizik stared working on issue of climate change, right-wing leaders including James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Don Wildmon, Gary Bauer, and Rick Scarborough demanded that he be

fired and his efforts shut down

because they were afraid that it would end up undermining their old-school agenda:

More importantly, we have observed that Cizik and others are using the global warming controversy to shift the emphasis away from the great moral issues of our time, notably the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage and the teaching of sexual abstinence and morality to our children.

But what angers the Right even more than that is Democratic efforts to reach out to religious communities and voters.  The Religious Right has always hated and attacked such efforts, regularly accusing Democrats of “hijacking” faith to promote an ungodly agenda because, you guessed it, it takes away from their own efforts to use religion to bolster their own narrow agenda:

Tom McClusky, vice president of government affairs for the Family Research Council, an influential conservative lobbying group, said he objects to the Democrats' approach. He said it is morally problematic to equate poverty issues, as serious as they are, with abortion.

"It's not that, as Christians or as people, we shouldn't be helping out those who need it," he said. "But when it comes right down to it, if you're never born, you're not going to be poor. If you're not born, you're not going to be afflicted with illnesses. They're trying to say there's some sort of equivalency when it comes to these issues. I personally think that's wrong."

Can’t argue with that, I guess.  You can’t be poor or sick if you were never born, and so FRC is committed to making sure that you are born so that you can then be poor and get sick, at which point … well, you are on your own because those aren’t thing that they really care about.

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Climate change Posts Archive

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