Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Friday, March 18, 2011

Big Business Uses the Religious Right as its Messengers--EthicsDaily.Com

The Cornwall Alliance is a Big Oil funded greenwashing group connected to many right-wing religious groups, and they are using religion to manipulate people. They are trying to convince gullible people that environmentalism, of all things, is evil and nasty and threatening American’s belief in Jesus. Does that make any sense? Of course it doesn’t.
Reverend James L. Evans writing for Ethicsdaily.com makes the case for why we should care for the environment and the misuse of the poor as political pawns by the religious right and corporate America. The coal ash bill currently moving through the Alabama legislature is a prime example of this nefarious agenda in our opinions, because it will disproportionately affect Alabama's poorer communities. But it must be "good legislation" because 'self-professed upright, Christian lawmakers' in the legislature are pushing for it right? Not!

The Psalmist declares, "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof."

However, a group of evangelicals known as the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation seems to take issue with that notion. According to Alliance spokesman, E. Calvin Beisner, "God put humans in charge of nature."

The Cornwall Alliance is cosponsor of a recently released DVD series titled "Cult of the Green Dragon."

The message in the DVD series is basically that efforts to save the environment and to curb global warming and pollution are the direct result of "a cult" that worships the creation rather than God.

"Around the world," argues Christian radio talk show personality Janet Parshall, "environmentalism has become a radical movement."

In a promotional video for the DVD series, Parshall expands her criticism. "It's something we call the 'Green Dragon.' And it is deadly to human prosperity, deadly to human life, deadly to human freedom. And deadly to the gospel of Jesus Christ."

I must pause here and ask every serious reader of the New Testament if they really believe that human prosperity was one of Jesus' chief concerns. If I recall, one of the most prosperous individuals Jesus ever encountered was encouraged to take his wealth and give it to the poor, and then become a disciple.

But, I digress.

The Cornwall Alliance, walking in lockstep with conservative political ideology, questions the danger of global warming.

Alliance members, not surprisingly, oppose legislation that would tax carbon use, fearing that such measures will drive up the price of energy, hurting the poor most of all.

Don't you love it when conservatives suddenly begin to care about the poor, especially when it dovetails with efforts to protect corporate polluters?

G. Dodd Galbreath, executive director of Lipscomb University's Institute for Sustainable Practice, has some issues with the logic of the producers of "The Green Dragon."

His view is that the world's poor stand to get hurt most by pollution because they're more likely to work and live around it.

"God expects us to have faith in Him to deliver what we think we are losing when we do the right thing," said Galbreath in an interview with HTRnews.com. "I don't see fear as having anything to do with faith."

Galbreath went on to downplay the notion that environmentalism is a radical movement.

"We've seen this phenomenon when Jesus was introduced," he told HTRnews.com. "He was called radical. Christianity is supposed to grow. It's not a static faith."

The effort of some in the Christian community to demonize the environmental movement is unconscionable.

The image of the "Green Dragon" is an intentional effort to link the environmental movement to images of Satan in the Bible. Alliance director Beisner points to images of the serpent in the Garden of Eden and the dragon of the Book of Revelation as inspiration for the imagery.

While there is certainly room for honest disagreement and debate on the impact of human activity on the environment, there is no room for casting that debate in terms of a contest between the forces of good and evil.

Common sense alone would suggest that the level of industry, coal burning and fossil fuel emissions, along with the introduction of vast urban areas covered with concrete and asphalt, cannot help but impact the environment in some ways.

Calling those concerns demonic, however, contributes nothing positive to the conversation.

James L. Evans is pastor of Auburn First Baptist Church in Auburn, Alabama

**NY Times "Delay in Coal Pollution Rules Took Toll in Lives"
For clean air advocates, the release of the rules is a milestone. But for some they will have come too late.
“This could have been done 20 years ago,” Mr. Bachmann said. “These delays, as they’ve mounted up, have had a cost in people dying sooner. And it’s not trivial.”
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  1. What's equally troubling is the stance of Alabama's Supreme Court and the district courts who have gone from tort friendly to big business protectors. No in-between, just one extreme to the other.

    This problem occurs on a national level too:

    "Senator Whitehouse called on all Americans to remember that the Constitution provides not just basic rights, but a mechanism to make sure that those rights cannot be trampled by wealthy and powerful interests:

    The jury serves as our last sanctuary, as Americans, when the forces of society may be arrayed against us: when the governor’s mansion has been bought by special interests; when lobbyists have the legislature tied in knots; when the newspaper owners have steered public opinion against you – the hard square corners of the jury box stand firm against the influence and money of special interests.

    If an egregious act of exposure occurs to a community or citizen in this state, they are first limited by a restrictive time frame to bring legal action. Then further disadvantaged by supreme court justices who are where they are courtesy of corporate influence.

    The same can be said for most members of the legislature.

    All of this makes for an insidious soup of corruption that is designed to oppress the economically disadvantaged.

    Adding religious influences that are also co-opted by corporate puppet masters ensures that Alabama's poor are almost no better off than they were one hundred years ago.

    Reverend Evans article should be required reading far and wide.

    Hats off to you sir. You get it.

  2. Reverend Evans hits all the right notes with a compelling article.
    How did we get to the place of walking all over the poor and a clean environment in the name of Jesus?
    Jesus, I so agree, has nothing to do with this!
    Corporate corruption and influence has re-written the bible in their favor and anyone who goes along with this charade is exposed for the charlatan that they are.
    It is simply impossible to claim to be a faithful believer and not stand up for the less fortunate over corporations. Jobs and compliance are never worth a life, that argument is fundamentally flawed.
    I might also add that these organizations fail to take into account that many people whom teeter on the edge of distrust for organized religion are further driven away by this deception on a throne.
    BarT, you're argument is solid, as usual and I stand in total agreement with you.

  3. No Quarry in VincentMarch 18, 2011 at 10:37 AM

    And let us not forget Mr. Galbreath's wise insights regarding "The Green Dragon" nor his astute comment that the poor are the ones most directly hurt by environmental pollution.

    Lipscomb University is a Christian college in the South. It is encouraging to see its faculty display an honest understanding of the faith community's responsibility toward protecting the environment.

  4. I'm a proud member of the Alabama Tea Party and the states rights platform has been a strong draw for me to get involved in politics and change.
    But I am also an average Joe, not well off by any means, and the father of four small children.
    Two of my youngest have asthma that has progressively gotten worse in the last year. It's hard to watch your child struggling to breath and my wife and I are becoming frequent Doctor's office visitors.
    Ten miles away from us is one of the power plants and smoke pours out of the place constantly. When we go on out of state vacations the kids seem better.
    I think there is a connection and we are looking for another house further away from the plant.
    I say all of this because I am also a believer, and what the Reverend wrote is making me think maybe I have been on the wrong side of this issue and need to consider it more than I have.
    My kids are my life and I want what's best for them above anything else. Most of all, I just want them better.
    If states rights means that power plants like the one close to us don't have to do all they can to keep the pollution down, then I can't say it's something I can support anymore.

  5. Big Mule religion seems to be all that matters anymore in Alabama.

  6. You know why they do this don't you, the religious groups I mean?
    In the south, they are a large voting block and it's a way to get the female vote on board too.
    Donate some money for a cause the church wants, sit on the pews every Sunday and give that good impression, be from a "good family" and you're the cats in the Christian view.
    So what if you do a few questionable things, at least you're in church on Sundays.
    All is forgiven.

  7. I have noticed that the Eagle Forum has been deathly quiet on this issue. Despite the fact that their website is up-to-the-minute on current Alabama bills, they have absolutely nothing on this coal ash bill. Are they so afraid to take a position on it that they'll just pretend it doesn't exist? Reminds me of Edmund Burke's quote, "All it takes for evil to succeed is that good men(and women) do nothing."

  8. Much evil and hypocrisy has been perpetrated under the umbrella of religion.
    The south has it's own particular brand of perversion rooted in racism and an intolerance for the less fortunate that goes back decades.
    Reverend Evans has probably struck some I'd rather you didn't know that nerves with his editorial. And damn good for him!

  9. What is it about the religion and the south that reminds of the haves and have nots?
    Maybe everything.

  10. So much for "brother's keeper" and "money is the root of all evil" eh?
    These groups have become laughable in their hypocrisy!

  11. As a former member of the republican party I can unequivocally say I have been weaned off the lock-step group think and buzz phrases that I used to think were good and decent.
    Honestly, today, I find little decent about a political party that has chosen to align itself with corporate agenda. Every time I hear them say we're for the people I just cringe, because I know that is nothing more than a PR phrase dreamed up by a corporate lobbyist and fed to the entire party to repeat over and over.
    Mr. Evans has revealed yet another chink in their armor, that I have yet to hear any of them explain sensibly, or at all for that matter.
    My personal thoughts are that they have wrapped themselves in the cloak of holier than thou for the same selfish purposes as states rights has become.
    And they're wrong on all fronts.

  12. Religion and big business and robber baron mentality go hand in hand.The pulpit,what better way to influence a voting block.Propaganda tilted with biblical reference,they are well versed and masters of it.


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