Saturday, February 19, 2011

Astroturf "Religious" Organizations Deny Global Warming and Denigrate Christians

This anti-religious poster from the Khrushchev era proclaims "There is no God!" Supposedly, there is no God because the Soviet cosmonauts went into space and did not see Him.

I am an expert on Soviet persecution and manipulation of religion. The Soviet regime tried to destroy religion and substitute so-called "scientific" Marxism-Leninism.

Still, the regime fully appreciated the power of religion; so they sometimes found it useful to coopt religion---even as they persecuted Christians---to advance the regime's political agenda. For example, when Hitler attacked Russia, Stalin put the Patriarch of the much-persecuted Russian Orthodox Church on the radio; and the Patriarch called on the people to fight for Russia.

These days, pseudo-scientific global warming denialists denigrate Christians who accept the science of man-made global warming. The denialists also create fake "religious" organizations that depict global warming as a scientific hoax.

The denialists' tactics in the service of pseudo-scientific global warming denialism remind me a lot of how the communist regime denigrated Christians and tried to replace Christian beliefs with so-called "scientific" Marxism-Leninism.

Here is a fake religious site called “Real Catholic TV” that tries to make it appear that “real Catholics” don’t believe in global warming, although the Vatican says officially that there is global warming.

The "Real Catholic" site is nothing to do with the Vatican and even confuses people with a big logo that says CIA at the top. The site exploits the Central Intelligence Agency acronym by calling themselves the Catholic Investigative Agency (CIA), though they have a tiny disclaimer at the bottom saying they aren’t the real CIA.

They aren’t the real Catholics, either.

The Vatican says there is global warming. Children and college students learn about global warming in Catholic schools. Global warming is viewed as a social justice issue that needs to be addressed by real science, not swept under the rug by energy industry propaganda. The Vatican supports the UN report on climate change, so that's the real Catholic position.

Here is another fake organization that claims to be made of Evangelicals—the Cornwall Alliance. The stupidities of the British religious bigot and global warming denialist Lord Christopher Monckton, who disparaged the University of St. Thomas as an ignorant “Bible college" are posted on this so-called "Evangelical" site.

One of the religious leaders of the Cornwall Alliance, Dr. James Tonkowich, also denigrates Christians who believe in global warming when he makes this bigoted, anti-religious allegation:

"Global warming is the central tenet of this new belief system in much the same way that the Resurrection is the central tenet of Christianity. Al Gore has taken a role corresponding to that of St Paul in proselytizing the new faith .... My skepticism about [anthropogenic global warming] arises from the fact that as a physicist who has worked in closely related areas, I know how poor the underlying science is. In effect the scientific method has been abandoned in this field.”

If you only read the home page, it seems that Dr. Tonkowich is claiming that he said these words and that he is a trained physicist, but if you click on the link, Dr. Tonkowich is actually quoting another person: "So wrote Atmospheric Physicist Dr. John Reid, quoted in a new report on more than a thousand scientists who dissent over the claims about man-made global warming."

That seems a very deceptive to me. Also, these one thousand scientists do not represent the scientific consensus. Almost all climate scientists say there is global warming. The National Academy of Science says that global warming is happening.

It is hard to believe that this dishonest clergyman was once a leader of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. Dr. Kent Hill, who led the IRD in the 1980s, would never have misrepresented himself like Dr. Tonkowich does.

Christians who believe in global warming are not cultists who have embraced a "new belief system;" rather, many Christians are educated people who read what our scientists and our religious leaders are learning about global warming. Educated Christians follow the discoveries of modern science and don't swallow the stupid lies of the denialist "scientific" and "religious" organizations.
We know they are often just the mouthpieces of the fossil-fuel industry.

In my opinion, the Cornwall Alliance is really a bigoted, anti-religious site that shamelessly disparages Christians who are concerned about global warming by comparing them to the members of a cult who have replaced the central tenet of Christianity with the belief in global warming.

Characterizing Christians as extremist members of a cult is a tactic the communists used to denigrate and persecute Christians. Since Dr. James Tonkowich used to work at the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), he should know that. It is hard to understand how this Dr. Tonkowich was able to work for an organization that used to defend Soviet and East European Christians from religious bigotry.

It should be obvious that if religious organizations were really against global warming, the denialists would not need to make up FAKE religious organizations that deny global warming.

These denialist organizations that masquerade as religious organizations slander both scientists and Christians. They seem to have forgotten what the Ten Commandments says about bearing false witness.

Plenty of religious people look to religion for moral guidance while also maintaining a scientific outlook. Global warming is a moral issue, and educated Christians look to great scientists for guidance about how to solve this problem. I don't think that the great scientists who are researching global warming are trying to "trick" people. I think that the fossil fuel industry, politicians who take their money, and the Russian petrostate are trying to trick people.

Here is what the Vatican says about global warming:

God created our world with wisdom and love and when he had finished his great work of creation, God saw that it was good.

Today however the world is confronted with a serious ecological crisis. The earth is suffering from global warming as a result of our excessive consumption of energy. The extent of forested area on our planet has diminished by 50% over the last 40 years while the deserts are spreading ever faster. Three quarters of ocean life has already disappeared. Every day more than 100 living species die out and this loss of biodiversity is a serious menace for humanity itself. With the apostle Paul we can affirm: creation has been delivered into the power of destruction, it groans as in the pains of childbirth.

We cannot deny that human beings bear a heavy responsibility for environmental destruction. Their unbridled greed casts the shadow of death on the whole of creation.

Together Christians must do their utmost to save creation. Before the immensity of this task, they must unite their efforts. It is only together that they can protect the work of the creator. It is impossible not to notice the central place which natural elements occupy in the parables and teaching of Jesus. Christ shows great respect even for the smallest of all the seeds. With the biblical vision of creation as affirmation, Christians can contribute with one voice to the present reflection on the future of our planet.

Prayer

God our Creator, the world was created by your Word and you saw that it was good. But today we are spreading death and destroying our environment. Grant that we may repent of our greed; help us to care for all that you have made. Together, we desire to protect your creation. Amen.

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