John Bloom's picture
05.27.2008 | Comments(29)

Pollution Helps the Poor

My eyes are starting to glaze over from the Christian manifestos and position papers and wonk statements that are being pasted up all over Washington lately. First we had the “Evangelical Manifesto,” which seemed to be some kind of attempt to cast off the right wing, spearheaded by Richard Mouw of Fuller Theological Seminary and David Neff of Christianity Today. Since nobody read the document except people who had to for their jobs, it was mostly just a lightning rod for people like Richard Land and James Dobson to explain why they refused to sign it (too inclusive) and people like Jim Wallis to explain why he did sign it (inclusive). Then last Thursday Land, Dobson and company struck back with a D.C. news conference announcing their “We Get It!” campaign, calling for–I’m not making this up–less spending on alternative energy. Despite thirty years of scientific research, after which 98 percent of the scientific community says global warming is a) real and b) man-caused, the “We Get It!” initiative is an attempt to get a million signatures on a petition that would purport to defend the interests of the world’s poor by keeping the cost of energy low–hence, more oil, more nuclear, but less “green” stuff. (This position might be a surprise to the residents of Kivalina, Alaska, whose village is about to vanish entirely because of global warming.) Green EvangelicalsIf you had trouble following the reporting on this, it could be because you tried to puzzle through the article in the Christian Post. Rather than simply report on what was announced at the press conference, reporter Michelle A. Vu led off with five paragraphs from the opposing viewpoint, that of the Rev. Richard Cizik, head of the Office of Governmental Affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals. Why put forth his “green evangelical movement” at the beginning of the article, before revealing that a news conference by the black-gold evangelical movement took place? It could have something to do with Cizik’s role as a “Senior Editorial Advisor” to the Christian Post itself. Tomorrow The Door will issue its own manifesto: “Jesus don’t lie. Men do.” I think it’s the shortest Christian document in the history of the world.

Baby-Snatchers Circle the Wagons

Polygamist Retreat

After the Third Court of Appeals told the Texas child welfare department to stop seizing children without evidence, there was a scramble to see who could grab the mike and justify their actions first–the law enforcement authorities of Eldorado, Texas, the state Child Protective Services agency, or the various professional “ex-cult-members” who have been giving periodic interviews to the press. Evidence that children were abused at the ranch: zero! About all they could produce in the filings to overturn the ruling was, “This one girl said Uncle Merrill decides on the marriages.” No last name. Have these people ever watched an episode of Forensic Files? Have they ever heard of reasonable cause? Has an entire state gone insane?

So Many Wives, So Little Time

Tony Alamo

A few weeks back I was writing about how Tony Alamo had apparently gone completely bonkers over the past decade (“Tony, Should I Be Worried?”), and that assessment is now backed up by Maria Luisa Tucker of the Village Voice, who has been monitoring Alamo’s daily radio rants, defending the sanctity of polygamy from his pulpit in Fort Smith, Arkansas, which is where the trouble with all his child-sex-abuse prosecutions started all those many years ago, and where he may be living with as many as eight wives himself. More recently Tony has been sued by Posturepedic–I hope someone is doing a book-length version of this stuff–for hijacking and reselling mattresses that were meant for Katrina victims. It’s just the latest in what several ex-members have identified as moneymaking scams of a shockingly vast level for a 73-year-old man whose ability to draw a crowd is pathetically low. The most amusing nugget in Tucker’s expose was Alamo’s implied threats against Nancy Grace, CNN’s self-appointed defender of polygamy victims and perhaps the only person on television who is even more self-righteous than Tony himself. Please keep the two of them separated or there will be blood on Third Avenue.

Mugged by Mugabe

Mugabe

As Robert Mugabe descends into madness, becoming a monstrous caricature of an African dictator, he’s been able to use thuggish gangs to exert control over all but two of Zimbabwe’s institutions–the court system and the Anglican church. The courts are hanging in there–they recently released a New York Times reporter from jail in spite of Mugabe’s exertions–but now church services in Harare are being invaded by riot police who bang on the pews with batons, terrorize the congregants, and beat those who refuse to leave. It’s an attempt to close down all churches that don’t follow the lead of Mugabe crony Nolbert Kunonga, a former bishop who left the Anglican communion over the homosexuality issue (he says) but then was given a farm and a house and the prospect of all the church lands if he agreed to, in essence, execute a clerical coup d’etat against the real bishop, Sebastian Bakare. Kunonga still walks, talks, acts and dresses as though he were an Anglican bishop, although the Archbishop of Canterbury first made it clear that he was stripped of his office, then, when that didn’t work, excommunicated him. Up to now the churches–which remained neutral in all elections--were the only sanctuaries from violence and political thuggery, but that seems to be over, and soon a puppet bishop will dangle a puppet Christ in front of the priests, some of whom will worship the puppet in order to save their lives, but most of whom will hope that jail is the worse that happens. Do you know just how crazy heretical you have to be to get excommunicated by the Anglicans?

Comments(29)

Focus100 | 10:56 am on 5/28/2008

John, John ... where in the world do you get this crap?
Despite thirty years of scientific research, after which 98 percent of the scientific community says global warming is a) real and b) man-caused

Talk about brainwashed by the media. Do some basic research!

Anonymous | 11:40 am on 5/28/2008

Let's see, "Conservative" Christians drive gas guzzlers (hmm, hmm) so that they can save the poor and needy. Perhaps Detroit can join the campaign.."for each Hummer we sell, we'll donate $100 to Save the Children".

that calvinist doug | 01:10 pm on 5/28/2008

Damn. Seriously, if I have to hear about global warming ad nauseum for the rest of my f'ing life, I wish it would just go ahead and incinerate the planet. I'd rather roast on the floor of a newly made desert while being eaten by a half-drowned polar bear who's choking on the tailpipe of my pickup truck than hear this new religion.

budda | 04:40 pm on 5/28/2008

Wouldn't want to distract you from The Old Time Gospel Hour with all this hokey "new religion" stuff, doug, but I'm afraid it's here to stay.

You will just have to get used to this new generation taking the earth seriously and not treating it like a temporary home 'cause Jesus is coming back any second. Crazy kids. They want to act like the earth is special and not just a cheap hotel room on our way to glory.

that calvinist doug | 08:03 am on 5/29/2008

Budda, I'm not really THAT old (41)!

Besides, I don't know anyone (I didn't say they didn't exist, I just don't know any) who adopts the view you outlined regarding stewardship of the planet. I'm just not of the opinion that the situation regarding climate change is anywhere near as dire as its proponents claim. Even if the planet is warming, how do we really know we're causing it? People surely didn't cause the last ice age. And how do we really know how much it will warm, how quickly, or what the consequences will truly be? There are just way too many questions which science hasn't adequately answered for me to get my proverbial panties in a knot about it.

Should we do what we reasonably can to take care of the planet? Absolutely. But I don't think we all need to live like we're in a third world country in order to preserve the way of life of third world countries. That's idiotic logic.

budda | 08:18 pm on 5/29/2008

Dammit, doug, I'm only 4 years younger than you, but I don't want to think about 40. Now I feel old. I wasn't referring to our generation as much as my vegetarian, recycling, hybrid enthusiast, environmentalist kids.

I was also responding a little bit to the posts on the Christian Post article on the We Get It campaign. They were saying that we should stop wasting time on the environment and energy and spend all our time, money and effort to get more people saved.

Even if G. Warming is only a 50% possibility (I personally would put it at 85-90%) don't you think it's worth doing something about, given the consequences if we don't. I'm sure you want your energy costs to go down, and it is all connected. We are running out of oil, no main stream scientists dispute that. More drilling in Alaska ain't gonna solve the lack of oil. So we have to invest in renewables now. And by the way, if the oil companies do get to drill in Alaska, that oil isn't coming to the USA. It will go to the global market and you will pay the same for a gallon of UAS/Alaskan oil as you will for Saudi oil.

I also don't understand how using more energy efficient products and taking better care of the environment makes our standard of living any less.

JoshH | 08:40 pm on 5/29/2008

I guess you don't know any people who watch "The 700 Club" for their news like I do. I won't make too many guesses as to what pocket of the demographic locker rack you sit in, but I can't help but squint at the idea that you don't know very many followers of the dreck-peddlers that the 'Door so rightfully mocks.

I'm just shy of 2/3 your age, Doug and it amazes me that you don't know any such people. Then again, I was raised among many different Evangelical strains (including Pentecostals) in the mountains of Southwest Virginia.

I don't think that "we're" causing all of it, but I do think that it's like walking barefoot with a scab a the bottom of your big toe in a parking lot full of gravel and broken beer bottles. You know you're going to scratch off that scab and possibly get that cut infected. And since it's on your foot, you can't exactly run screaming to your mother because it hurts. It's not about staying away from the ice cream truck at the other side of the parking lot, it's about at least wearing some damn flip-flops. Besides that, we can buy a cool pair of Chuck Taylors that we can draw all sorts of cool designs on. By that, I mean that the response shouldn't be holding back, it should be throwing some serious cash from many different corners into investment (including government) for cleaner and--by way of getting out of the fossil fuel tar pit--CHEAPER energy.

that calvinist doug | 07:40 am on 5/30/2008

Budda and Josh,

I don't think we're as far apart on this issue as you may think. I agree that we need to look ahead and realize that we need a sustainable replacement for fossil fuel. I agree that drilling for more oil is not the long-term answer, but I do think it is the best short-term answer. My proposal would be that we drill for as much as we can find, meanwhile imposing a 10% "tithe" on the oil companies for all new resulting proceeds (revenue, not profit, as profit is too easy to hide) that would go 100% toward a "contest" for the best new rechargeable car technology, much like Boeing and Lockheed compete to design the new jet fighter. Where there is a profit motive, industry reacts favorably. Just the reality of the world.

Bear in mind that electricity to charge those batteries has got to come from somewhere, so even if you rule out oil, it's presently going to have to be generated from coal (pollution), nuclear (3-mile Island), hydro (wanna dam your local river?), or oil. Wind, solar, and other technologies, while attractive in theory, are so far from being feasible on a large scale, they're almost not worth mentioning. Worth research, perhaps, but not a place at the table of reality in our lifetimes.

My point is, unless you're prepared to live without electricity or any form of motorized transport, like a third-world country, don't be so quick to denounce how we live in the west. I don't know too many people wanting to live, work, or raise children the same way people in Africa, rural Asia, and so many other places, have to do. Therefore, if you want your western lifestyle, it requires A LOT of natural resources. There's just no getting around that.

Lastly, if I do know anyone who thinks how we treat the earth is totally irrelevant, they haven't espoused those views in my presence.

There, I have spoken. Let the underlings work out my noble plan. I'm going to play golf.

budda | 11:10 am on 5/30/2008

I love the tax and the competition, doug. That is a great idea. I would just skip the new drilling and go straight to the tax, like before 5:00 today. But only if their was a leader in washington who could direct the project in a focused and responsible way and wasn't big oil's bitch.

When President Kennedy announced we were going to the moon we had almost no technology by todays standards. My $1.52 calculator has more computing power than any machine even on the drawing boards at the time. It still took us less than ten years from that presidential announcement to Armstrong's famous words and 1st steps on the moon. We didn't have the technology then, but we did have leadership, and the technology followed.

We could accomplish the same thing with renewables if we had a leader with some vision and some balls. I don't think our standard of living would go down at all, look at all the goodies we got from the space program. Deist could still drive his trucks. Everyone wins. Except big oil. Good.

PeteAtomic | 08:26 am on 6/09/2008

Great post, and well said.

I don't know what's worse: a lack of imagination, or a preponderance of greed. I guess the 'invisible hand' of free market forces is busy playing with itself, for the moment.

Stop Simplistic Thinking | 01:26 pm on 5/30/2008

Doug, you must be a graduate of the Donald Rumsfeld school of "ask yourself questions and give yourself answers" rhetoric. "Should we take reasonable precautions? Of course" (makes a person sound all reasonable). "Should we all have to live like we're in a third world country..........That's idiotic logic". (makes a person sound all reasonable AND opposed to those un-named thousands who are planning to force everyone to live in poverty....you know who they are.........those people.............them.) Folks, this is an incredibly useful form of rhetoric for you in your daily life. Let's try it out:
"Should we all wipe our asses after defecating? Sure we should. Does that mean we have to do it with steel wool and sulfuric acid? That's idiotic logic." Try it at home, you'll find that you can use this combination in thousands of ways to make yourself sound totally reasonable and a defender of common sense- while making no useful point at all. For more tips on ways to do this, tune in to C-SPAN.

that calvinist doug | 02:31 pm on 5/30/2008

Should SST bite my ass? Of course!

Prophet Lopi | 02:09 pm on 5/28/2008

Possibly the reason for the "REAL GLOBAL WARMING" has evaded the expertise of the Elite Directors of Discent of the Wittenburg Closed Door.

JoshH | 03:06 pm on 5/28/2008

One point on the Anglican church:
There are nutjob churches here in the states that are joining churches like Zimbabwe's Anglican church to leave ECUSA over "them there queers." The fact that they don't give a damn about people like Mugabe, but shriek in fear of Eugene Robinson definitely says something.

I mean, honestly...Robinson's an almost Mister Rogers-like grandfather and some of these people are more afraid of him being a bishop than people who've basically participated in genocide being bishops in other countries.

PeteAtomic | 08:43 am on 6/09/2008

Good points (and very sad).

Hatred is a powerful motivator.

The Ringo Kid | 06:29 pm on 5/28/2008

Uh Joe Bob;Sorry To Interrupt Your"The FLDS Ranch Folks are Victims of Religious Persecution"Complex;But I Beleive That forcing Adolescent Girls To Suddenly Become The Fourth;Fifth;Sixth;ad nasueam Wife-or wives-Of some Middle Aged Pervert Is Child Abuse!!
What Is It With You Far Right Nut Jobs and sleazy Cult Leaders/Self Styled'Ministers'???!!!
Sorry,But All You"CPS=KGB"Types are Barking Up the Wrong tree!!!
David Koresh;Like warren Jeffs;are-or Were in the Case of The Late Mr.Koresh-Nothing But sleazy Adulterer Pedophiles Who Are About as Much"Ministers of the Gospel"as My Coffee Mug!!!
Know Something??Turn Off The Talk Radio and TV Preachers and Think For Yourselves!!!

southpaw | 09:21 pm on 5/28/2008

Focus100, unreal eh? If it was 100% of the scientific community and 100 years of research supporting global warming, these "head in the sand christians" would STILL say it ain't so...

Focus100 | 05:44 pm on 6/04/2008

Southpaw - Not anywhere near "100% of the scientific community" (or 98% as John said) support global warming and the so-called "research" on GW is so skewed it's unbelievable. How come the latest numbers show a slight decrease in temps over the past few years? How come throughout the 70's we were told by the scientists that we were "absolutely headed for an ice age"? I'll tell you why - these guys are herd-followers.

Stop drinking the media's Kool-Aid. I'm an environmental supporter in a big way. As Christians I believe we are called to take care of the planet. But this GW nonsense is just the latest stupid media craze and it absolutely has an agenda behind it.

Droslovinia | 11:59 am on 5/29/2008

"I don't think we all need to live like we're in a third world country in order to preserve the way of life of third world countries." - That just about says it all.

Most of the "anti-warming" crowd are either in the pay of a big energy company or its pet politicians, or they're so caught up in making sure that they get to live anyway they like that they conveniently overlook that their choices affect others.

Make that "head in the tar sands" Christians, since they apparently still think that God put the earth here for them to personally exploit at the expense of others, and they're just now getting around to the sand.

And as I said before, as much as I love The Door, a bunch of pregnant teenagers in the same spot is abundant proof that the law has been violated. It's not legal to have sex with kids! If pregnancy is not proof that this has occurred, what does it take to convince you?

Stop Simplistic Thinking | 01:59 pm on 5/30/2008

Dros,

Ok, your daughter gets pregnant. Proof that the law has been violated, as you wrote!! Since there is no due process, the police should raid your house, take away all your kids and put them in foster care, lock you and your wife in jail because obviously the law has been broken, the proof is your pregnant daughter, and since she lives in your house shouldn't you and the wife be the chief suspects? Plus we heard some bad rumors about you from some neighbors that don't like you, they don't like the way you hug your daughter when she comes home from school. Now that all your children are safe from you, and you and your wife are in custody and the "crime scene" (your house) is locked down, we can take our time to look for evidence that you and/or your wife were actually responsible for your daughter being pregnant. We might even do some blood tests, but what's the rush? After all, even if its not you, it might be one of your friends, so we'll need to have a list of all of them and bring them all in for testing. Without warrants or just cause, of course. Just knowing that they know your daughter is enough cause for us, after all, we have proof that a crime was committed.
Who needs due process when you could have this?

that calvinist doug | 02:37 pm on 5/30/2008

So, let me get this straight, SST...I'm not allowed to ask and answer my own question to make a point, but you're allowed to manufacture all manner of hypothetical questions and scenarios in order to...what? Create delusional fear of a police-state? If I went to Rumsfeld's school, I'm guessing you went to Clinton's, where one can learn the fine art of avoiding hard questions by making the questionner out to be an attacker. Nice.

PeteAtomic | 08:45 am on 6/09/2008

"If I went to Rumsfeld's school, I'm guessing you went to Clinton's, where one can learn the fine art of avoiding hard questions by making the questionner out to be an attacker. Nice.'

it all depends on what the definition of 'is' is. :)

Stop Simplistic Thinking | 02:59 pm on 6/11/2008

Doug,

"Delusional fear of a police state". Take a moment to read this account of what happened in Wenatchee WA http://www.simonsays.com/content/book.cfm?tab=1&pid=415782&agid=2

There are hundreds of cases of dishonest prosecutorial behavior. A recent case that received lots of media attention was the Duke LaCrosse alleged rape case. John Bloom's point in his article is that Texas authorities were not following due process. Droslovinia's post contended that pregnancy was proof of crime, so haul them all in for questioning. My post is my attempt to communicate that due process protects every single American, and that without it prosecutors and police can and do cause irreparable harm to innocent people. Mostly through cop shows on TV, Americans have been conditioned to think that due process just gets in the way, that it is always used successfully by evil-doers to get off the hook by some "technicality", when in fact it is one of the most important protections we have as citizens.

live_life | 12:09 pm on 5/29/2008

As far as I am concerned the youngest pregnant women were 18, so they werent kids. But the whole story is pretty strange...

http://www.thefaithdebate.com

SRebbe | 04:33 pm on 5/29/2008

in my home state, age of consent is 16... now to get MARRIED, then you had to have a signed note from mommy and daddy.

budda | 08:21 pm on 5/29/2008

In rural southern Michigan they have billboards that literally say "Remember, If she's under 16, then she ain't legal".

PeteAtomic | 08:46 am on 6/09/2008

OMG.

Anonymous | 01:58 pm on 5/30/2008

I can see this website is meant to be humorous and do not mean to add a somber note, but Alamo does more than just trick big corporations into donating to his "church," and have many "wives." He rapes little girls as young as 8 and starves and badly beats, or has beaten all the children including babies who are under his contol.
If you are interested, you can read more about his atrocities on tonyalamonews.com
We appreciate your writing about him.
Thank you.

Anonymous | 01:59 pm on 5/30/2008

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