Bryan Fischer Reports: “Greens” Are Hurting God’s Feelings
On Thursday, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association met with Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation to further explore the Christian Dominionist basis for America’s energy policy; that goes something like this: Planet Earth, as we know it is full of strange and wonderful resources—like oil, coal and gas—to make human life on Earth as close to edenic as possible; all we have to do is find ‘em and use ‘em. Think of it as God’s perpetual Easter Egg Hunt. And when humans are reluctant to join in the frackalicious fun and Drill, Baby! Drill! well, it’s just rude after God went to all the trouble to kick off that Carboniferous Period just so we’d have lots of fossil fuel.
Some godless folks call this “protecting the environment.” “As if,” say the Dominionists. That’s God’s job—plus, He gave Noah his Word that he wouldn’t destroy the Earth again. That makes “Greens” pagan nature worshippers who think they know more than God; and the Environmental Protection Agency is their temple to Babylon, the ancient god of weather. ExxonMobil, the Scaife Family Foundations and the Kochs, of course, tend to agree.
This might seem like just another wacky communique from Planet Xanax but the growing symbiosis between the Republican Party, their corporate sponsors and radical Christian Dominionist theology makes the Climate Change Denial Consortium a force to be reckoned with.
For example, over the last decade, a movement took shape, among Christian Evangelicals known as “Creation Care.” Creation Care was a faith-based activism that concerned itself with conservation and grassroots actions to diminish global climate change. These folks ascribed to the notion that part of their responsibility as good Christians and global citizens was responsible stewardship of the environment and the Evangelical Climate Initiative was born.
This set off Code Red alarms in corporate America and the Republican Party who needed to squelch this Christian tendency to do good but knew that a frontal attack probably wouldn’t work out best. Only fellow Christians could have the moral authority to rein the Christian tree-huggers in before they destroyed the free market. A Christian Evangelical schism was in order. ExxonMobil graciously agreed to sponsor the effort which was dubbed the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance which mobilized quickly to peddle false and misleading information labeling climate change a myth.
In 2007, the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance renamed itself the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. The Cornwall Alliance touts itself as a network of theologians, pastors, other ministry leaders, scientists, economists, other scholars, and policy experts committed to applying biblical principles to the twin challenges of economic development for the very poor around the world and wise Earth stewardship.
And that’s where Mr Calvin Beisner (video above) comes in. Beisner, with a Ph.D. in Scottish History, has styled himself as a theologically-inclined environmental policy maven who testified as an “expert witness” on the theology, ethics, science, and economics of climate change policy before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Beisner has also briefed the White House Council on Environmental Policy, the Heritage Foundation, the Family Research Council and appeared as a guest on Fox News Channel’s Glenn Beck hour-long special program discussing how the Green movement is infiltrating churches and targeting youth, and on MSNBC discussing evangelicals and the environment. [I guess Scottish History in the nineteenth century focused a lot on the environment?]
Looking at Cornwall’s slick website and video stock one might wonder how a poor, theological crusader out of nowhere got so organized and “uptown” so quickly. It turns out Beisner has the right connections and I’m not talking about the religious community.
For years there has been a lot of speculation about who might be fronting the Cornwall Alliance, which is nothing short of adept at covering its tracks. But all of that changed earlier this year when internal documents of the Heartland Institute were leaked to the public. The Heartland Institute is an American conservative and libertarian public policy think tank based in Chicago, which advocates free market policies. The leak detailed Heartland’s funders and strategies for attacking climate science. Corporate funders stampeded for the exits.
One of the insights that emerged from analyses of the Heartland Institute document leak had to do with the funding behind conservative fake experts, junk scientists and policy “influencers” who are leading the charge of climate change deniers.
As reported on polluterwatch.com:
. . . [a] report, written by a silicon Valley scientist turned public interest watchdog John Mashey, is titled “Fakexperts,” and details how right-wing foundations associated with the Koch brothers, Richard Mellon Scaife, the Bradley family, and others have been using a secret finance network to support extremist right-wing groups. Most of these groups are associated with the State Policy Network, a band of corporate apologists who have made careers denying everything from the dangers of smoking cigarettes to the existence of climate change.
In total over $311 million has been put through twin organizations known as Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund which share an address in Alexandria, Virginia. The people running these organizations are close to the Kochs and have numerous ties to the groups that the DONORS network funds, such as the Koch-founded Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Independent Women’s Forum and the Manhattan Institute. The Kochs have a little-known foundation that only donates to these “DONORS” groups called the Knowledge & Progress Fund, according to the report detailing this network.
The twin DONORS organizations are advertised as a way for very wealthy people and corporations to remain hidden when “funding sensitive or controversial issues groups,” which creates a lack of accountability that is troubling.
Some of the sketchy groups that had received big chunks of their 2010 budgets through Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, including top climate change science deniers:
Americans For Prosperity Foundation got $7.6 million from DONORS groups in 2010, 43% of its budget. AFP Foundation is chaired by David Koch and has received millions in direct funding from Koch foundations since the Koch brothers founded it.
Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) got $1.3 million from DONORS in 2010, 45% of its budget.
Cornwall Alliance (through the James Partnership) got $339,500 from DONORS in 2010, 75% of its budget.
Heartland Institute got $1.6 million from DONORS in 2010, 27% of it’s budget, which came from Chicago billionaire Barre Seid.
State Policy Network got 36% of its 2010 budget ($4.8 million) from DONORS. SPN members include just about every climate-denying organization and every conservative think tank in the country, including AFP and Heartland.
And there is our friend, Cal Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance receiving 75% of his 2010 budget from DONORS. Who would have guessed?
If you’re inclined to dig deeper, PBS did a great Frontline documentary, Climate of Doubt, that takes a look “inside the groups who shifted the climate change debate.”