Since coming out in support of climate legislation in October, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has faced a lot of vitriol from groups on the right, including Tea Party activists in Charleston. This criticism culminated in a formal censure from Charleston County that lambasted Graham for subverting “Republican leadership and party solidarity for his own benefit” and defiling “the ideals of freedom, rule of law, and fiscal conservatism.”

But one unlikely group is coming to Graham’s defense: the Christian Coalition. The group released a radio ad last week defending the senator’s actions.

The ad begins with an audio clip of President George W. Bush lamenting America’s addiction to oil as a “serious problem.” (You can listen to it here.) It continues with narration from Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition:

President Bush was right: our addiction to foreign oil threatens our national security and economic prosperity. America spends almost a billion dollars a day on foreign oil and a lot of that goes to countries that do not like us and harbor terrorists. Washington’s failure to act puts our national security at risk, and drains our economy. I’ve heard from so many Christian Coalition supporters that energy is one of the most important issues we face today. America is a can-do country. We’ve got to take the lead to explore energy alternatives and protect our national security. We have to make our country safer by creating jobs with the made-in-America energy plan. I would like to ask you to call Sen. Lindsey Graham and encourage him to continue fighting for our families.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Could the Christian Coalition give fledgling climate legislation the leg up it needs?  The organization boasts 2.5 million supporters, largely conservative Republicans; if they embraced the cause, they could give a big boost to efforts to build a bipartisan coalition for a clean-energy and climate bill. 

Meanwhile, dozens of South Carolina veterans are also saluting Graham for his climate activism in an ad [PDF] running in local South Carolina newspapers, funded by the Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate:

As U.S. military veterans, we share Senator Lindsey Graham’s strong belief that our national security depends on more than troops and arms. America must also reduce its dangerous dependence on foreign oil and develop its own alternative energy sources.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!