Corporate evangelical leaders cloak opposition to climate policy behind concern for poor
Those of you following Grist’s news feed (if you’re not, you should) are aware that last week a group of conservative evangelicals launched the "We Get It!" campaign, arguing against action on global warming.
We’ve written a great deal on Grist about the split in the evangelical leadership between those who recognize the danger of global warming and those who don’t. The former includes lots of younger churchgoers who want to broaden the church’s mandate beyond abortion and homosexuality, taking on poverty and environmental issues and asserting the church’s independence from the Republican party.
The latter group, the old guard, is filled with people who have become extremely rich and politically powerful through their association with the Republican party, and are keen to preserve the status quo. Their role is to keep the religious wing of the Republican base in line by stoking (but never resolving) the culture war, providing ground troops and votes for an agenda that ultimately serves the party’s corporate backers.
In this context, it’s particularly galling to see the We Get It manifesto focus not only on old-fashioned flat-earth skepticism — that’s to be expected — but also on a purported concern for the world’s poor. After years of supporting and mobilizing votes behind an agenda that exacerbates inequality and diminishes America’s already tattered social safety net, these guys — James Dobson, Sens. James Inhofe and Tom Coburn, Richard Land — are now beside themselves with concern that a cap-and-trade program might hurt the poor. "With billions suffering in poverty, environmental policies must not further oppress the world’s poor by denying them basic needs."
(For the record, Coburn and Inhofe were among the 23 Senators who voted Nay on the Biden-Lugar amendment to restore $4.1 billion to the International Affairs Budget, to fund crucial international programs to fight poverty.)
The cynicism is something to behold. You gotta squint pretty hard to see what God’s got to do with it.