U.S. conservative Christians sound “cap and trade” alarms

June 29, 2009

America’s social and religious conservatives are turning up the heat as they galvanize heartland opposition against the latest example of President Barack Obama-inspired “socialism” — a climate change bill that aims to reduce fossil fuel emissions, which most scientists have linked to climate change.  

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The Democratic Party-led House of Representatives passed the bill on Friday. It would require large companies, including utilities and manufacturers, to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases associated with global warming by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050, from 2005 levels. It must still go through the U.S. Senate, where its ultimate fate remains uncertain despite the Democratic majority there.

Conservative Christians, a key base – if not THE base — for the out-of-power Republican Party, are among the biggest skeptics of human-induced global warming. In the eyes of many environmentalists, they were part of an “unholy alliance” with the energy industry that enjoyed its zenith under former president George W. Bush, who pulled America out of the Kyoto Protocol aimed at cutting emissions in the developed world. The Bush administration was widely seen as hostile to any attempt to cap emissions as well as the science behind it.

Conservative Christians are sounding the alarm bells about the climate bill, which represents Obama’s first major legislative victory and which Republicans see as a major opportunity to gain political ground ahead of the 2010 congressional elections. You can see our coverage of this issue here.

Republicans are calling it a “job killer” while the Cornwall Alliance – a conservative Christian coalition – has described its cap and trade provisions, which allow companies that pollute less than their limit to sell some of their permits to others struggling to meet such green requirements, ”as the largest tax hike in history.” Analysts have said such arguments may appeal to voters especially against the backdrop of the current recession.

Conservative Christians are distributing an online petition called We Get It! which reads in part: “Our stewardship of creation must be based on Biblical principles and factual evidence. We face important environmental challenges, but must be cautious of claims that our planet is in peril from speculative dangers like man-made global warming.”

Taking aim at other religious groups that have lobbied for emissions-cap measures on the grounds that the poor will suffer most from climate change, the Cornwall Alliance says the poor will be ill-served by cap and trade and its impact on the economy. In its “Talking Points” on cap and trade it says it is “a regressive tax … . Because the poor spend a higher proportion of their monthly income on energy than do others, they pay more of their disposable income for the increase in energy costs.”

It also puts its faith in such matters in the hands of a higher power.

Cap and trade rests on an unbiblical world view. It assumes that a minuscule change in atmospheric
chemistry (carbon dioxide rising from about 3 in every 10,000 to about 5 in every 10,000 molecules in the atmosphere) could cause catastrophic climate change, putting human and other life at risk. That belief is contrary to the Biblical teaching that a wise Creator made the Earth (Genesis 1–2) and on observing it saw that it was ‘very good’ (Genesis 1:31
).”

Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and a leading figure in the social conservative movement, devoted much of his nationally syndicated radio show on Saturday to the topic, calling cap and trade a “regressive tax to the max.” Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, said in his blog last week that it “would increase an already staggering national debt by 26 percent by 2035” — a figure taken directly from the Cornwall Alliance’s estimates.

Some evangelical Christians also have said that the social upheaval that analysts have linked to climate change may be signs of the second coming of Christ. Perkins has outlined such a scenario in his recent book “Personal Faith, Public Policy.”

One thing is clear: this issue has the potential to really stir up the Republican Party base. But will it stir it enough to have an impact when the Senate considers the climate bill or when Americans go to the polls in 2010?

(Photo: A demonstrator for clean energy holds up a sign during a rally on Capitol Hill in Washington March 2, 2009. Moves to cap greenhouse gas emissions and promote green energy have some conservative Christians seeing red. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

12 comments

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If we really want to free ourselves from foreign oil then start using our own resources. We can work on viable alternative “clean” sources of energy while using some of that 100+ years of coal we have ,not a CAP & TRADE TAX. Is this CAP & TRADE TAX going to apply to countries who are worse polluters than we are? Or is their CO2 going stay in thier country?All that ethanol from corn is going to do is drive us to the poorhouse. This present Congress thinks they’re going to tax us into prosperity.I say start taking names and remember them in the next election and the election after that.

Posted by Dennis | Report as abusive

I greatly support Pres.Obama’s bill for it will not only reduce the prevalence of global warming, it will also reduce consumption of energy that is already becoming very scarce.

Why would anyone take this seriously? Being a conservative Christian doesn’t make one an expert on global warming or issues of tax and cap and trade.Are conservative Christians so constrained by their faith that they cannot think of an issue – which is really more akin to an argument over whether the heat in the chapel is getting too high or the air quality is slowly growing muggy or toxic, without trying to drag God into the janitorial and budget processes of the entire planet. How long will it be before we hear about Sufi’s for global carbon trading or Hassidim for Hydrogen power? How about Hindu’s for Hydro?This story just convinced my that there is no point to attending a conservative denomination. Someone is programming the membership to advance for yet another less than spiritual issue and trying to pass it off as high mindedness and theology. Or just using any pawns available?I can still remember born again and gone tomorrow preachers of the 80′s and 90′s selling the line that God (Jesus) wants you to be rich. It’s good for the collection plate. Guess where so much of the wind inflating home prices was coming from?Isn’t it hard to reconcile that TV evangelical line with certain New Testament statements – especially the later lines where the dead line approaches for concise comments by the purported author, to the effect that – followers should leave all and follow him. That seemed to include the house, the kids and the cars. The problem of atmospheric gases would very well go with them as well. Somehow I don’t think we will be hearing popular sermons to that effect.

Posted by Paul Rosa | Report as abusive

Paul,As a conservative Christian myself, I agree with you that some church leaders have gone too far in advancing an agenda which is not spiritual in nature. However, the personalities you see on TV (i.e.- TV “evangelists”) do NOT represent either the views of the majority of churches or Christian believers.I also share your opinion that Christians need to use their God-given minds and think for themselves, rather than blindly follow ANY leader in the church. For that reason, I have left the organized Christian church and now meet with other believers in our homes. We meet to share our lives together, encourage and pray for one another, and to grow together. It’s a wonderful experience. Perhaps you could find other like-minded believers and give this a try?Blessings,Toddo

Posted by Toddo | Report as abusive

The short term goals in this legislation are inadequate. The bulk of the reduction and cost is put off to future generations. (“Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?”). In the mean time air quality will degrade and asthma and other health issues will become more prevalent driving up the cost of health care into the foreseeable future.Anyone who has traveled the country and is at least 50 years of age has seen how dramatically the climate has changed over the past several decades. Enough said.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

Its probably a money matter, for going green they will need to make some sacrifices. Those religious conservatives want the world to become green but not at their expense.

Cheers for Toddo! I wish I knew more conservative Christians like yourself. Independent minded people like yourself are a tribute to your creed.Conservatism is a great thing in my mind. It keeps change from happening too quickly and makes us think about what we would be giving up if we change things. Conservatives are part of an essential balance that keeps us on a path of progress and not a path of anarchy.While I probably have differing views on most things I appreciate that there are conservative Christians out there who are willing to think for themselves. They should speak up more often and take their faith back form those who would use it for political or financial gain. All we see through the media are the extremists who make for great (albeit somewhat terrifying) entertainment.Thanks again Toddo and I wish you and your congregation the best.

Posted by Swart | Report as abusive

Well, the US Congress has passed it, and of course the larger battle looms in the Senate, but what will this legislation mean for the US economy? Is it the beginning of a new era of prosperity, or the beginning of the end? Check out this story on newsy.comhttp://www.newsy.com/videos/cli mate_bill_heats_up_congress

Posted by storycipher | Report as abusive

i am i conservative christian and i use gods word to mould my thinking,i do not think outside of scripture.the rainbow is a sign that god will not flood the world again,sorry if this is at odds with al gore then so be it.as st paul said if we are wrong then we are the biggest fools in history but this is our path,this is our choice and i have yet to see any of the enlightened liberals with their drugs and their therapy to have me for one minute to look over my should.as st paul said in the meantime i press no to complete the task that is the journey placed before me.god bless.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

No one sees to be talking much about the deep, deep lies that underlie the entire Cap and Trade justification.Human nature says that once you let a lie pass, even as you continue to combat it, you can never call it a lie again, for to do so exposes a weakness in your own powers of observation, analytical skills, or backbone is standing up against fraud.The GOP has let the rather obvious lie of man-made global warming fester for over a decade so all they can do now is carp about the price the victims (us) have to pay for letting it go.Higher taxes, and all that goes with it are the punishments we suffer. They are not the crimes. The crimes were always the lies.While we must do all we can to defeat this bill (and universal health care just in order to save the American experiment)the failure of our elected representatives can’t go unnoticed.Vassar Bushmillshttp://vbushmills.blogtownhall. com/2009/06/27/why_we_cant_send_cowards_ to_do_our_business_in_congress_any_more. thtml

Man made global warming is a hoax. New Zealand killed their Cap and Trade. In April Poland issued a scathing rebuttal to CO2 “Science”. Australia has fallen out of line, and put off Cap and Trade. Canada is relooking at the science. 1000 scientists issued a letter to Obama in dissent of the “science”. The Gore hockey stick chart has been removed even from the UN IPCC proposals because the data doesn’t support it. There has been no global warming since 2001, despite increasing CO2 levels during the same period. Satellite thermography images have disproved the global warming premise of a “fingerprint” of temps at higher altitudes. Kilamanjaro lack of snow cap is due to de-forestation and thus humidity in the region from lack of forest – not temperataure. 2008 temps reversed 40 years of warming. The midevil warming period was warmer than now, markedly, without high levels of CO2. The ice-core record shows radically higer levels of CO2 during colder periods. Greenland was named green-land because it was once green…it has melted before, the vikings came through the (thawed) northwest passage and their hisotry suggest they grew crops there. The ice-shelfs quoted in media, are not in the core of the continent…they are in a peninsula which jets far out into the ocean. Gore’s own professor who turned him onto this idea has recanted and said it needs DECADES more study. Shall I go on??? The THEORY just isn’t true. This legislation will shift US jobs abroad to under-developed nations who according to UN plan get free CO2 credits. It will increase our energy costs significantly about $3,100 per family, it will redistribute income as those for example family of 4 earning less than $53,000 (2.5x the poverty level for family of 4) will get direct deposit from Uncle Sam funds to compensate them for the increase. EVERY SINGLE GOOD AND SERVICE produced here which uses enegery as an input (is that not everything???) will see a price increase. Check your check register…see what you have paid for electricity and/or heating gas/oil…now add 20%. That’s what it costs Europe. Then figure in a 10% increase in cost for every other item you buy…GET IT NOW??? You must call your senators now, and you must get 5 others to do the same. TODAY…

Posted by Michelle | Report as abusive

The Cap and Trade bill shows the US as being weak. Other nations will benefit from our mistake. The passage of this bill will drive much needed US jobs overseas thus resulting in higher unemployment. During this time of economic instability, the passage of this bill will result in turmoil for generations to come. Businesses will migrate to other countries where there are no cap and trade restrictions and where their products can be manufactured at a lower cost. This energy bill is no more than a disguise for an energy tax. American citizens will bear the tremendous burden of this bill. Let your Senators know how you truly feel at http://tinyurl.com/ .

Posted by Debbie Lance | Report as abusive