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 8:21So 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.