I also don't think Representative Shimkus has the right to condemn us (and the rest of the world) to inaction on climate change on account of it.
Yet we live in a nation that recently elected a coterie of Teapublican nabobs intent on forcing their corporate-financed, Fox-mediated nattering nonsense on us all. They are intent on reversing energy, justice, tax, and social policies that contradict their literal interpretation of the Christian Bible .
Despite the state of Oklahoma's overwhelming vote a week ago to ban the use of Sharia law in the governance of their communities, there doesn't seem to be much difference when it comes to intent: these nabobs are simply relying on one sacred text instead of another. That Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) boisterously represents those fundamentalist interests and is also famously an opponent of climate change legislation ("no greater scam has ever been perpetrated") should not be surprising. When they don't have the facts, both Coburn and Shimkus present religious superstition as a trump card.
A caveat : I do not claim to know the mind nor the will of God. Nor do I know for sure that climate change will be the one thing that destroys the earth. Could be Armageddon. Could be a widespread virus against which we have no defense. Could be nuclear war. Could be a giant burst of energy or a dark star colliding with the blue planet. So no, I don't know how things will end. I am, if anything, just an average citizen concerned about the future who reads widely and isn't shy about applying what we know to solve real problems. I do believe that climate change is a real problem.
And I don't believe the whole solution is to read the Christian Bible . If anything, the God that is referenced in that book seems to have done quite a bit to ensure that humans--after that flood, fable or fact, and after the life of Christ--were put in charge of our own destinies while we are still here on earth. If you are a Christian, you should first believe in that.
You may also believe that after our time here is done, the state of our soul is what will count among the angels and for the Lord. Fine. Believe that. Live for it. Whether I do or not is none of your business. Nor is the state of your soul any interest of mine. But what we do share is this planet. Which, if anything, should make all of us allies against the likes of Coburn and Shimkus.
Here's why: If you believe in the Bible , you know that we are given dominion over the earth as caretakers, not as destroyers. Perhaps Coburn and Shimkus haven't done a proper Bible study class, or else why wouldn't they know that and act accordingly?
Here's the reason why they don't: They aren't really interested in the teachings of the Bible when it comes to climate change legislation. They are only interested in money. In the money it takes to remain in power. And they know they have to satisfy those oil, coal, and gas corporations who support them.
For Senator Coburn the record is clear: on every bill from the failed Kyoto Accord to more recent (and largely failed) attempts to pass energy legislation that would cut into big oil, even when it would have helped the average taxpayer , he has been firmly against it. Shimkus adds dirty coal to big oil in the roundup of his friends. Read the record. Learn the facts. This wouldn't be the first time a self-proclaimed Christian fell from grace on account of filthy lucre or was lured by the promise of power to do Satan's handiwork.
See where I am going with this narrative?
The power of narrative is also the power not only to use narratives to inspire others, but also to open up narratives and talk critically about what we find there. What I believe is that we are--right here, right now, today, this minute--seeing what happens when we Progressives allow "the last taboo"--the failure to ask those questions--to reign over reason as well as over what is actually written in those sacred texts and what has been credibly commented upon by scholars of religion. I do not believe we can afford to be silent about the discrepancies between reason and faith, or about knowledge of sacred texts within faith traditions, any longer.
It is time to bury the last taboo.
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