Lobbyist Dick Armeys Gospel of Pollution (GOP): ˜As an article of Faith, it is ˜pretentious to believe in global warming

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"Lobbyist Dick Armeys Gospel of Pollution (GOP): ˜As an article of Faith, it is ˜pretentious to believe in global warming"

In April, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) said he knows with 100% certainty that humans can’t cause devastating sea level rise because God said in the Bible he would “never again” devastate humans with a flood again (see Rep. Shimkus: “Man will not destroy this Earth. This Earth will not be destroyed by a flood.” Rep. Barton: “I wish I had another dozen John Shimkuses on the committee.”).

Now, as ThinkProgress’s Lee Fang reports, Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) has extended that doctrine.  Armey told GOP members of Congress on Capitol Hill yesterday that because “the lord God almighty made the heavens and the Earth … to his satisfaction … it is quite pretentious of we little weaklings here on earth to think that, that we are going to destroy God’s creation.”

Under Armey’s Gospel of Pollution (GOP), God made his creation invulnerable to all human action — not counting all the species we have wiped out, of course.  For some reason, God made them vulnerable.  Same for the forests we cut down.  And, of course, all the humans killed by human-generated toxins and pollution.  That’s why it’s a Gospel — you have to take it on faith.

And this guy was House Majority leader once!  Here’s the video in which Armey lays out his GOP to the GOP:

Lee Fang has the transcript and the story behind Armey’s “testimony”:

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) appeared as a witness for the Republican bicameral hearing on climate change legislation yesterday on Capitol Hill. Along with a cadre of polluter CEOs and Chamber of Commerce officials, Armey played his part leveling an array of attacks on any effort to transition to a clean energy economy.

As the hearing progressed, most of the witnesses spent their time recycling months-old debunked studies. But Armey distinguished himself by invoking a religious argument to back up his smears against what he called “environmental hypochondriacs” filled with “eco-evangelical hysteria.” Armey claimed that in his world view, because God created the heavens and the Earth, it would be “quite pretentious” for people to believe God would permit global warming to even occur:

DICK ARMEY: What I’m suggesting is we have a sort of an eco-evangelical hysteria going on and it leads me to almost wonder if we are becoming a nation of environmental hypochondriacs that are willing to use the power of the state to impose enormous restrictions on the rights and the comforts of, and incomes of individuals who serve essentially a paranoia, a phobia, that has very little fact evidence in fact. Now these are observations that are popular to make because right now its almost taken as an article of faith that this crisis is real. Let me say I take it as an article of faith if the lord God almighty made the heavens and the Earth, and he made them to his satisfaction and it is quite pretentious of we little weaklings here on earth to think that, that we are going to destroy God’s creation. […]

SEN. ORRIN HATCH: Mr. Armey it’s great to have you here. Great to see you again and we appreciate all you’ve done throughout the years and your work on Capitol Hill. Great job.

Despite Armey’s claims, global warming is very real and has already caused great damage to creation. Indeed, though Armey would like to create a false dichotomy between people who want to stop global warming and people who believe in God, no such gap exists. A Faith and Public Life poll found 63% of Catholics and 50% of white evangelicals want the federal government to do more to address climate change. Pope Benedict XVI has called for a greater focus on the environment, saying “if you want to promote peace, safeguard creation.”

Armey’s use of faith to demonize clean energy reform should come as no surprise. After promoting a polluter agenda for many years in Congress, Armey became a lobbyist for the firm DLA Piper, which represents many interests with a stake against curbing greenhouse gas emissions:

– DLA Piper represents Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE, on energy related issues such as maintaining the U.S.-UAE relationship where “U.S companies have played major roles in the development of UAE energy resources, which represent about 10 percent of global oil reserves.” [US Department of Justice, accessed 7/30/09]

– DLA Piper recently signed on Colonial Oil as a new client. [Senate Lobbying Disclosures, accessed 7/30/09]

– DLA Piper represents Irving Oil, lobbying directly on clean energy reform legislation. [Senate Lobbying Disclosures, accessed 7/30/09]

After leaving Congress, Armey became the head of Citizens for a Sound Economy, a right-wing front group funded largely by oil companies like ExxonMobil. CSE later morphed into the astroturf organization known as FreedomWorks, which Armey has used to orchestrate the vicious anti-Obama tea party rallies. And, as ThinkProgress has documented, though FreedomWorks purports to fight on behalf of a purely free market ideology, Armey has used FreedomWorks to whip up “grassroots” support for the clients he represents.

Looks like I’ve got another acronym for the glossary:  GOP (Gospel of Pollution).

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28 Responses to Lobbyist Dick Armeys Gospel of Pollution (GOP): ˜As an article of Faith, it is ˜pretentious to believe in global warming

  1. Stefan Min says:

    Invoking one’s ideas about god in politics makes for poor politics and extremely poor theology.

  2. Brett Jason says:

    Once again the deniers are cherry-picking. This time from their own Bible, which has to be a new low, even for them. Let me slip out of science mode for a moment and talk in the same religious frame of reference:

    The faith-based deniers are conveniently ignoring that, according to their own Bible, man destroyed the idyllic environment of the Garden of Eden and God “allowed” him to do it. They are ignoring that their scriptures say that God gave man free will to act in any way he wants (and the responsibility of suffering the consequences of his actions if he acts badly). They are ignoring that their Bible says God gave man “dominion” over life on this planet and expects man to be a “good shepherd” of that life. They are ignoring that the Great Flood they are referencing was, in itself, sent by God to punish man for consistently and willfully behaving badly.

    By claiming their God will “not allow man to destroy his creation” they are ignoring scripture precedents and the idea that God may well prevent man from destroying his creation by simply allowing man to destroy himself. They ignore the Biblical lessons of Sodom and Gomorrah and the Tower of Babel, where man offended God sufficiently for God to utterly destroy those places.

    They are pretending that the only danger from global warming is flooding, ignoring the fact that the greatest danger of global warming is heat (fire) not flood. Any flooding of coastal areas will be incidental to the real destruct mechanism of increased heat. In the Bible, God never said he wouldn’t use Fire to destroy man the next time man got out of line.

    Pretending they believe “God” will prevent catastrophic global warming is their weakest argument yet. This is how desperate they are. They’ve seen the polls that say 75% of the country is in favor of regulating CO2 emissions.

  3. Jeff Huggins says:

    Have They Read The Pope’s Latest Encyclical?

    Of course, realizing that there are many religions in the world, and realizing also that there are different Christian religions (and others that believe in God) . . .

    The comments from these folks make me wonder, have any of them even bothered to read The Pope’s latest Encyclical Letter? Released just recently, it can be found easily on-line.

    If these folks are going to draw their views and arguments regarding climate change, and whether we have a human and spiritual obligation to face and address such matters, from the Bible, they really ought to read the entire Encyclical, or AT LEAST Chapter Four, which is titled “The Development of People; Rights and Duties; The Environment”.

    Indeed, one of the best ways to counter such arguments (as are made by some of those politicians) is to point out that the arguments they make based (presumably) on spiritual and religious grounds are CONTRADICTORY to the clear messages from people like the Pope, the Dalai Lama, and others.

    So, what do ya make of that?

    And here again, we come back to the responsibility of the media: How is it that people can make arguments presumably on “scientific” grounds when those arguments contradict the views of the VAST majority of bona fide scientific organizations?

    How is it that people can make arguments (to avoid addressing global warming) presumably on spiritual or religious grounds when those arguments contradict those of The Pope, The Dalai Lama, and other key religious or spiritual leaders?

    And how is it that people can make arguments based presumably on “free-market economics” (to the degree that the market will solve all ills) and, at the same time, argue against a price for carbon, when such reasoning is contradictory to a basic understanding of economics and markets?

    The answer is threefold:

    First, the media let these silly arguments stand. They let people get away with such contradictory nonsense. Indeed, quite often, I doubt whether many of the particular writers and reporters understand the topics well enough, or care about them enough, to know a silly argument from a sound one?

    Second, and unfortunately, experts and authorities in these fields stay FAR TOO SILENT. They don’t speak up enough to correct these mistaken arguments. That includes most economists, many scientists, and many religious/spiritual leaders.

    Third, it must say something about the average intelligence of the public, or about what these folks THINK about the average public intelligence, that these people continue to make such silly arguments. We need to improve our education system, dramatically.

    I’d suggest this: Ask these folks (the ones referring to the Bible) if they’ve read the Encyclical. If so, how do they reconcile their views with the Pope’s? OR, How do they reconcile their views with The Dalai Lama’s? And etc.

    Sigh!

    Be Well,

    Jeff

  4. Petro says:

    Creationists have managed to pollute the scientific minds of the Americans so deeply, that the global warming too is considered to be against God’s creation. It would be interesting to study how many of the denialists are creationists and vice versa.

    It is sad that the fruitcakes like Mr. Armey have so much political power.

  5. AlexJ says:

    I second #2.

    Free will, harm, and wanton destruction are probably valid concepts to these people when it comes to individuals and societies, but entire ecosystems or the biosphere itself? Nah! Nothing we can do in the relentless pursuit of profit and luxury can touch those. I’d also like to know how Armey defines “destroy God’s creation”. Isn’t it enough to royally screw it up, and actively condemn generations of people to suffering, a lower standard of living, and/or premature death?

  6. Rev. Douglas Hunt says:

    Mr. Armey confuses himself with God in these remarks. Even if you take what he has quoted from Judeo-Christian scripture literally (and one never should)the promise was only from God…. says nothing about our being fools enough to do it ourselves…. as we surely are

    We must do this hard thing …. we must stop making the planet inhospitable for humans and many forms of life …. the alternative is unthinkable ….

  7. “it is quite pretentious of we”

    strictly between you and I, Armey doesn’t know any more about grammar than he knows about global warming.

  8. DavidCOG says:

    I see this argument from deniers quite regularly: we’re arrogant /pretentious / conceited to believe that we, lowly humans could effect the climate of the entire planet. They don’t usually mention a god, but I always assume that’s the driver for this particular ‘argument’.

    Perhaps entirely coincidental, but the rejection of ACC in the US has similar numbers to the rejection of evolution and both are equally at odds with the rest of the developed world:

    1. http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Guardian/documents/2009/07/29/World_public_opinion_30-07-09.pdf
    2. http://prometheusongebonde.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/public-acceptance-of-evolution1.jpg

  9. Brian Dodge says:

    FOXNEWS.COM HOME > POLITICS
    Armey Supports President; Democrats Glum Tuesday, October 08, 2002

    “Earlier Monday, House Majority Leader Dick Armey, after weeks of fence-sitting, endorsed giving Bush the authority to go to war against Iraq…”

    “Armey, R-Texas, said his decision came after “a careful, exhaustive review of the facts and evidence against Saddam Hussein,” including numerous briefings by administration officials about the dangers posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.”

    No doubt Mr. Armey has done a “careful, exhaustive review” of climate science and through a combination of pride, wishful thinking, and willful ignorance has once again convinced himself that he’s right and all the scientists are wrong.

    I wonder if Mr. Armey is aware that spreading lies is the devil’s work, that the lies he spread in 2002 resulted in the deaths of thousands of US soldiers and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraquis, and that his belief in his OWN infallibility, not God’s, is leading him to do the devils work AGAIN.

  10. Sable says:

    This idea that we are too insignificant to affect our environment in a major way is LAUGHABLE!

    Aside from species wiped out, or left with relict populations – by both direct and indirect means, we have already forever altered ecosystems the world over. These are forever changed by OUR actions. In most cases the change has meant impoverishment of resources. The marine environment is one glaring example. Another, in North America is the fact that vast areas that most people would take as “natural” have been permanently damaged by invasive alien species and other consequences of our activities.

    To be charitable, Mr. Armey’s statements reflect a deep ignorance which results from NEVER looking at nature and asking questions. I don’t think it’s only a fundamentalist Christian attitude reflected here. There is a deeply rooted selfishness and materialism also at work. His puppet masters must really believe that somehow they’ll survive what’s coming, and it’s just the rest of us peons who’ll pay. I cannot qualify such action except to call it evil.

  11. Gail says:

    “The chemical known as ozone may be making a much more significant contribution to global warming than scientists had previously thought, according to a new study published in the journal Nature.

    “Ozone could be twice as important as we previously thought as a driver of climate change,” said study co-author Peter Cox.

    Ozone occurs naturally in the upper atmosphere, but is produced in the lower atmosphere when sunlight strikes industrial pollutants such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen oxides.

    “Scientists have long known that ozone is a greenhouse gas, trapping radiation within the atmosphere and leading to rising global temperatures. But the new study suggests that ozone may have a much more significant climate impact by adversely affecting plants’ ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

    According to the researchers, high concentrations of ozone and carbon dioxide damage plants’ ability to engage in photosynthesis. This weakens the plants, causing their stomata (pores in the leaves) to close. In turn, this reduces that amount of carbon dioxide or ozone that the plants are able to absorb.”

    from http://membrane.com/global_warming/notes/ozone_chokes.html

    Dick Armey needs to open his eyes and look around. It’s official. Ozone is quite literally killing vegetation – lots of it, if not all of it, and incredibly fast.

    What is God going to give us to eat when the crops fail, Mr. Armey? Will it rain loaves of bread? What will God do when the trees are gone – send us peaches and pecans via FedEx? Where is the oxygen for us to breathe going to be produced, when the oceans are dead and the plants are too? God, blowing in the wind?

    Please tell me so I can reassure my children they are not going to starve and suffocate.

  12. Bob Wright says:

    Sometimes this isn’t presented as only pretentious, but even worse as sacreligious or heresy. A disrespect of God, earning His wrath. Like astronomy, geology, acheology and evolution, human caused global warming bucks beliefs in creation and the coming armageddon that have been constructed from “literal interpretation” of bits and pieces of scripture. Finally, there is arrogance of many evangelicals that their faith is the only true faith, and other paradigms are evil. These people might not ever get it, and will remain open to exploitation by demogougery.

  13. In the late 1700s a religious sect called the Shakers grew to over 70,000 followers. However a fanatical adherence to celibacy made multigenerational survival difficult. Despite adoptions and conversions there may only be a handful of Shakers left.

    Modern fanatical carbon consumption is now religious based – but instead of slowly dying out – it imperils us all.

    Even if grouped together, the stupid will die out. Now the stupid actions of many is forcing all humanity into a dead-end street.

  14. David B. Benson says:

    He (along with other politicos and ex-politcos I could name) belongs on the funny farm, not in the senate.

    Or else back in grammar school…

  15. Charles says:

    It is frightening to see how such ignorant people can have so much power.

  16. James Thomson the fourth says:

    How does a country with such a high standard of knowledge and education allow religeous fruitcakes political airtime? Dick Armey would be laughed out of court if he stood up in the UK House of Commons and spouted this stuff.

    It’s not that we don’t respect the right of people to hold religeous beliefs – we just don’t expect people to mix them with the serious business of governing the country.

  17. lizardo says:

    Wow: check out the link at comment 12 by Mark B (thanks Mark!!!) from talking points memo muckraker site.

    [Lobby group sends faked NGO letter(s??) to Congressman opposing climate bill.]

    Personally I think this is the tip of the iceberg. Armey appearing at a hearing is sort of the magicians assistant distracting the audience…

  18. John Hollenberg says:

    I think Mr. Armey is a little late with his denials. There is a lot of evidence that we may be at the beginning of “The Sixth Extinction”:

    http://www.aspousa.org/index.php/2009/07/the-sixth-extinction/

    –John

  19. Gail says:

    Wow, John Hollenberg, you have knocked my socks off.

  20. paulm says:

    #18:
    Desperate dan-iers.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desperate_Dan

    Why do they go to this length to obfuscate the truth. Just plain crazy.

    At least there are some serious stirrings by the religious circle…
    Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs fight global warming
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1248277895933&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    …all pledged to build climate change plans for their adherents. Jewish leaders have also promised to build a seven-year climate change plan.

  21. Leland Palmer says:

    Hi all-

    I’ve posted before on this blog about the Fermi Paradox, but not recently.

    I’ve been wondering about the Fermi Paradox, and about how our planet appears to be booby trapped, lately.

    The Fermi paradox is the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and the lack of evidence for, or contact with, such civilizations.

    The extreme age of the universe and its vast number of stars suggest that if the Earth is typical, extraterrestrial life should be common.[1] In an informal discussion in 1950, the physicist Enrico Fermi questioned why, if a multitude of advanced extraterrestrial civilizations exist in the Milky Way galaxy, evidence such as spacecraft or probes are not seen. A more detailed examination of the implications of the topic began with a paper by Michael H. Hart in 1975, and it is sometimes referred to as the Fermi-Hart paradox.[2] Another closely related question is the Great Silence[3]—even if travel is hard, if life is common, why don’t we detect their radio transmissions?

    It may be that planets are inherently booby trapped, for technological civilizations. It may be that technological civilizations tend to destroy their biospheres, before they understand that their biospheres do not have infinite resistance to meddling and abuse.

    So, it’s a lot like global warming is an intelligence test. If we get past this threat, we will be out among the planets within a couple of centuries at the outside, and will not have all of our eggs within this one seemingly very fragile basket.

    Are we an intelligent species, or not?

    Listening to Dick Armey, it sounds very much like we are not.

  22. Baerbel says:

    Greg Craven posted a video on his YouTube-channel (wonderingmind42) entitiled “God’s Will” in October 2007 which explains his take on this subject:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOjCcL1PN_Y

    At the end, Greg says “….we may not all share the same faith but we definitely share the same planet”. Wise words IMHO

    Any chance that Armey and others would be willing to spend 5 minutes watching this and then try to actually understand it?

  23. john says:

    And Thor will get mad and trhow thunderbotls at us … the tooth fairy will stop leaving gifts under the pillow and the easter bunny will stop hiding colred eggs.

    Please, leave your religious dogma at the doorstep before you step into reality land. Francis Bacon resolved the apparnet disparity between an epistemological framework centered on relgion, and one centered on science with his New Organon — a work done 400 years ago.

    Let’s deal in facts, not Richard Armey’s self-serving perception of a God.

  24. paulm says:

    Rick, we confess our sin.

  25. Sable says:

    Hey Rick,

    What is this? “My carbon footprint is smaller than yours”? Had any vaccinations in your lifetime? Ever used a car, train, or plane? Got electricity? If you don’t own your own computer you have access to one…right back at ‘ya buddy.

    The difference is awareness, and willingness to change.

    Peace

  26. Sable says:

    John, the chances of converting Armey or anyone who shares his outlook are vanishingly small. I think many here are just pointing out that if Armey wants to use his take on Christianity to advance his nonsense, there is ample material from that tradition which contradicts his position.

    My mother-in-law has a strong environmental stance which she comes to through her devout faith. Although I respect her, I don’t share that faith. Whatever works.

  27. 22 Leland Palmer: I agree with you this time!