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The standard fundamentalist attack on the environmental movement is that it exalts the creation over the creator.  But now one of the leading fundie critics of environmentalism is taking a new, and if possible even loonier argument.  

Many of us remember the Dr. Seuss book and movie The Lorax.  It's being adapted into a computer-animated feature film that's due to come out next month.  The EPA is helping promote the film--something that doesn't sit too well with Cal Beisner, head of the Cornwall Alliance, a fundie-oriented climate change denial outfit.  He claims that the EPA's sponsorship of this movie amounts to--wait for it--government endorsement of religion.

"What you've got there is the mixing of taxpayer dollars into the promotion of a clear ideology that has a particular religious flavor to it," the Cornwall Alliance spokesman concludes. "And frankly, I think that this is a violation of the separation of church and state."
So let's see if we're getting this right.  Teaching kids to take care of the planet is somehow promoting religion?  Downright comical.  Apparently it hasn't occurred to Beisner that maybe, just maybe having dominion over the earth carries a responsibility to take care of it.

Beisner's hand-wringing over The Lorax sounds pretty disingenuous when you consider that the Cornwall Alliance has strong ties to the oil and gas industry.  Think Progress peered into the Cornwall Alliance's guts two years ago.  Apparently its founder, Chris Rogers, has collaborated for some time with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, a climate-change denial group heavily funded by money from Chevron, ExxonMobil and the Scaife family.  In fact, Beisner is a member of the CFACT board.

Sounds like Beisner is more concerned about the threat to the guys pulling his strings than any First Amendment issues.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yes It's Been a Teaching of Catholic Authorities (2+ / 0-)

    since forever that atheism too is a religion. Even our normally rational progressive talker Thom Hartmann insists this. It's as if defending yourself from an invader makes you an invader too, since both of you are fighting.

    It's routine for the right to mislabel anything rational or scientific as "opinion" and "religion" because that gives them traction in the media.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 06:00:35 AM PST

    •  Atheism has functioned as a religion and does so (0+ / 0-)

      for some people.
      I personally believe in uncertainty.
      I believe if God exists he made us doubters who question his existence, (for some reason).
      Other people just don't believe in God. That's atheism as opposed to Atheism, where they insist on the certainty that God doesn't exist.
      Everything that an individual asserts is an opinion. Whether that is backed up by credible information or not is another matter.

      You're right about the right. They project their insecurity back on to their opponents, "Luntzian" style.
      As the diary notes, the oil and coal industries have co-opted evangelical religion to protect their interests.
      Unfortunately, there's lots of evangelicals who are environmentalists, conservationists, etc.
      Like the contraception issue, this is where the right finds itself in the middle of a great deal of internal conflict, independent of "the left" and an inescapable fact is the heavy hand of powerful forces trying to coerce the individual conscience, which is something that "true conservatives" are supposed to be inherently opposed to.

      •  Describing atheism as a religion... (0+ / 0-)

        is like calling baldness a hair style.

        Hartmann is unfortunately too close to religion to see the forest. Otherwise, pretty good.

        I'm just not sure about the uncertainty.

        •  Ever listened to the atheist radio show? (0+ / 0-)

          One day I was hunting around on the net for something to listen to (it was the weekend, so all the radio stns have odd schedules) and I blundered into the atheist radio show.

          It was a total hoot.  The hosts sounded EXACTLY like crazy JeezizNazis as they breathlessly gushed over how "more and more people come over to OUR side EVERY DAY"

          The more I listened, the more it sounded just like xians witnessing for Jeeziz....

          "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

          by leftykook on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 08:39:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Atheism was the state religion of the Soviet Union (0+ / 0-)

          In our society, it's really generally impossible to discuss religion. It's always really about politics.
          I believe there is such a thing as "spirituality". It is for me not necessarily a "supernatural" understanding. It may very well be strictly "psychological".

          I think a fundamental fact of human life is that we exist on the threshold between the known and the unknown.

          I define spirituality as those questions that we all have as individuals about who we are, why we're here, etc.  
          Even though these questions are the province of the individual mind, they're something we all share, so spirtiuality is a unifying force.

          I define religion as the answers some people have to those questions. Those answers tend to get bundled up into dogma which we must "believe" in order to identify with a certain group, or tribe. They tend to separate "us" from "them". That's how "Atheism" gets identified as a "religion", in my mind.

          For someone to say that they don't believe that God exists because there's no evidence that he does, I can't argue with that. If God exists it's obvious that he doesn't want us to be certain of that fact. It's obvious he's not superstitious. I don't see any reason "He" would want us to be. If he does exist, we have to add all of that that we know to be true, as a result of scientific investigation, to be part or a "creation" of "Him" ("Her" if you prefer). DNA, evolution of species, galaxies, black holes, the scientific method, sex is a good thing, etc.

          The Bible is the story of the evolving relationship between Man and God. Science is part of that evolution. Christianity has been constantly evolving since it began, especially so in the last 50  years.

          Atheists, Buddhists, Muslims and non-fascist Christians all have common cause in opposing the religious right. It's a mistake to lump all Christians together.
          There are many atheists commenting on this site who cannot control their hatred for any and all Christians. I think that's a mistake.

        •  If there's anything I'm sure of, it's uncertainty. (0+ / 0-)
    •  Atheism is no more a religion (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RockyMtnLib, Margd, Apost8, dallasdunlap, quill

      Than the lack of paint on a surface is a color of paint.

      People who try to convince others that "atheism is a religion" are so fucking screwed up in their brains that they evidently can't conceive of people who have no --zero -- need to bring the supernatural into their lives.

    •  As a Hartmann listener, (0+ / 0-)

      it drives me up the wall when he does that.

      liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

      by RockyMtnLib on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 06:58:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  listen to fundamentalists because everything (6+ / 0-)

    that displeases them is a religion.  Evolution is a religion and Freud is a religion.  Communism is a religion as is atheism and so on ad nauseum.  My response to this silliness is the same as it is to those who find socialists and commies under every bed.  Please define your term or do we accept that the NFL is the true religion of the US and all others are secondary?

    Never have found one yet who can prove the NFL is not a religion if one of their hobby horses is  one too  

  •  Of course.... (2+ / 0-)

    ...anything that seeks to preserve the Earth and its inhabitants is a "religion"!!

    Because these Abrahamic schismatics are heavily invested in their vision of a coming apocalypse in which they will get to harvest our souls for their final scorecard, anything that delays or prevents the end-of-game accounting is by definition a competing religion.

    Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

    by WarrenS on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 06:15:56 AM PST

  •  They always project. every time. (0+ / 0-)
  •  I've encountered this in Web debates for years. (4+ / 0-)

    This is a widespread method of attack against climate science, spread by rightwing writers & talkers, and is of course a sterling example of conservative psychological projection.

    Everything they claim as evidence that climate science is a system of belief instead applies perfectly to their own system of belief that human industry must not be limited in any way.

    The thing is, science is complex and hard to understand completely.  The avg. person is not in a position to fully investigate climate change, but is instead reliant on scientists to tell us what's up.  This requires Faith in our scientists & academic institutions.  It is this Faith--in people who are doing a job where integrity is a key aspect--that is twisted by the right into their vision of what it must be: scientists = priests, science = religion, and this is a Christian nation, so wake up & fight the enemy religion, all good Christians!!!1!  Fight the religion of the high priest Al Gore!

    It's hard to lose debates with these people, but don't expect them to concede defeat.  All one can hope for is to make the point publicly so the public will outvote the loons.

    Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

    by Leftcandid on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 06:30:31 AM PST

    •  Correct: (0+ / 0-)
      The thing is, science is complex and hard to understand completely.  The avg. person is not in a position to fully investigate climate change, but is instead reliant on scientists to tell us what's up.  This requires Faith in our scientists & academic institutions.  
      It's a faith built on experience and analysis, on learning and reason. It's not a blind or arbitrary belief, which is the hallmark of authoritarian followers.  

      "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

      by CFAmick on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 10:29:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Makes total sense. (0+ / 0-)

    God gave man the right to trash the earth.  So, if the earth is to be honored and protected, it's a new religion.
    Well, not entirely.  Native Americans organized their values system along those lines.  But, they had many spirits--diverse, not unified.
    Unity and uniformity is an important aspect of the one true religion.

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 06:45:27 AM PST

  •  Fundies hate Dr. Suess too (3+ / 0-)

    Of course they do.  They hate everything.  The earth, society, reason, humanity.

    Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

    by yet another liberal on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 07:10:32 AM PST

  •  Dear Fundies (0+ / 0-)

    If you lived in outer space, you wouldn't last 2 fucking seconds.

    First, there would no air to breathe.  Do you know what air is?  That's good.  Are you sure you know what air is?  We'll come back to that.

    Now, air to breathe is your first problem.  But you have other immediate dangers due to the lack of air pressure.

    See, when you go live in outer space (you already do in your mind), there is no air pressure and your eyes will bug out and all your cells will expand you will simply evaporate into the cold of empty space.

    Fundies, love the fucking earth or STFU you morons.

    Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

    by yet another liberal on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 07:14:26 AM PST

  •  Actually (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreenPA, RunawayRose, quill
    The standard fundamentalist attack on the environmental movement is that it exalts the creation over the creator.  But now one of the leading fundie critics of environmentalism is taking a new, and if possible even loonier argument.  
    That argument is nothing new. They've been saying that for years. They can't deal with the issues honestly so they project, assuming that because they take things on faith regardless of evidence, we do too.

    Or they take the stance that because not all "scientists" accept global warming, then those who do are just being dogmatic about it - hence, acceptance of global warming is a religion.

    Same thing with biological evolution.

    liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

    by RockyMtnLib on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 07:24:15 AM PST

  •  If they really believe that... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    imsodizzy

    ...environmetalism is a religion (I don't), then why are they messing with my Constitutionally protected Right to practice it?

  •  If environmentalism ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    imsodizzy

    ... is a religion, can I start protecting my religious beliefs from people who violate them?  Outlaw jetskis and require clotheslines and make polluters pay all the cost of cleaning up after them?

    Grab all the joy you can. (exmearden 8/10/09)

    by Land of Enchantment on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 04:46:32 PM PST

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