Monday, November 15, 2010

Christian Beliefs Disqualify Congressman on Global Warming

Today we find yet another example of why scientists, moderate theists, humanists and atheists should all join together to fight the scourge of religious ignorance. It's good for us to respect the beliefs of others, but there are limits. When religion threatens our welfare, when it threatens to damage the entire Earth, it's time to put a stop to it.

United States Congressional Representative John Shimkus (R-IL) is trying to become the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee. Here's what Shimkus has to say about global warming:
"I believe [the Bible] is the infallible word of God, and that's the way it is going to be for his creation. ... The earth will end only when God declares its time to be over. Man will not destroy this earth. This earth will not be destroyed by a flood."
To make his point, Shimkus cites Genesis, the part where God promised Noah that once was enough:
Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. – Genesis 8:21
So Rep. Shumkus thinks we can be as evil as we like, and God will make sure that the Earth isn't destroyed. And that makes Shimkus qualified to decide that global warming is a liberal hoax.

Even here in the United States, the land of religious tolerance, we put limits on religious freedom. We don't let children die because their parents are religious zealots who don't believe in medicine. We ban animal sacrifices. We don't allow illegal drugs to be used in religious ceremonies except in a few very narrowly defined cases. We allow religious freedom but draw the line when beliefs threaten the life or health of others.

This is why Rep. Shimkus should be disqualified to serve on the House Energy and Commerce division. Shimkus' beliefs are dangerous. If he wins the chair of the committee, he will be setting policies and controlling legislation for the second-largest carbon producing country in the world, the same country that should be leading the effort to control carbon emissions.

There is room for scientific debate on any scientific question, including the question of anthropogenic global warming. But religion has no place in the debate. It is not a matter of faith, and it is not a question on which the Bible has any authority. Faith is the antithesis of science, and scriptural authority is the opposite of rational thought.

And this is not just for atheists. Most of America's major religions, including the Roman Catholic Church, Methodists and many Protestant denominations, support science. They recognized long ago that the Genesis account of creation was meant to be mythological, and that humankind is supposed to use our minds to discover the wonders – and dangers – of the universe. We need to all band together to ensure that our national policy is based on good science, not ancient beliefs.

We don't allow children to die because their parents believe God will intervene. And we shouldn't allow John Shimkus to help destroy the Earth just because he believes God will intervene to protect us. It's just plain foolishness, and we shouldn't be afraid to say so.


  1. If you were serious about doing something you would provide actions for your readers that would produce results.

    Emails to senators who vote, however the process works, the people should be able to involve themselves somehow.

  2. Umm here in the US we *DO* allow parents to kill their children and get off on religious grounds.

  3. I don't know anything about Lutherans, but John seems to be ignorant of his own faith. as it says in Matthew 24:6 "You will hear of wars and reports of wars; see that you are not alarmed, for these things must happen, but it will not yet be the end." this quote is not limited to just wars, as famines and earthquakes are referred to right after. so, in other words, we can still cause (or prevent) massive amounts of unnecessary death, poverty, and unpleasant living; and John thinks he can just stand back and do nothing, thinking that God will pick up the tab for us. God helps those who help themselves

  4. un believable in what way...that the author claims that scriptural authority is the opposite of rational thought? Or that this rep thinks the Bible is grounds for saying global warming will have no fatal effects. Both seem wild to me

  5. Can someone please explain to me why "good science" can't prove without a shadow of doubt that evolution actually took place and yet "good science" is happy to say with conviction that a supreme God can't have created the amazing world we live in?? I don't understand this 'logic'...yet, everyone is happy to buy into it.

    Let's not be so narrow minded as to disqualify someone else's beliefs that could actually be true just because of one's own bias.

  6. Anon - You've swallowed the religion lie hook, line and sinker. The simple fact is that evolution has been proved, over and over again, in so many ways its hard to count.

    Here's a whole blog on the topic: Darwin's Evolution Science: The Best-Proved Theory in History.

    If you want the evidence itself, start with Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True. AFTER you've read it, try to find even one credible scientist who can refute what Coyne has to say. You can't, because evolution IS true, and has been proved true.

    The real question is: why do so many people still think otherwise? The emperor's clothes seem to be missing.


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