God's Politics

God's Politics


Jim Wallis: Dobson and Friends, Outside the Mainstream, Get Personal on Global Warming

posted by gp_intern

Once again, the hard-core Religious Right has gone on the attack, orchestrating a new campaign to advance their Far Right political views. In a letter to the chairman of the National Evangelical Association Board, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer, and their cohorts claim that “The existence of global warming and its implications for mankind is a subject of heated controversy throughout the world.” And even more bizarre, there was another report this morning that in his sermon last Sunday, Jerry Falwell claimed the debate over global warming is a tool of Satan being used to distract churches from their primary focus of preaching the gospel. Falwell, Dobson, and their friends are wrong, and this time their attack shows just how far outside the evangelical mainstream the Religious Right’s views have become.

The truth, which almost everyone except them acknowledges, is there is little reasonable doubt left about the threat posed to the earth by climate change. There is an international consensus among scientists, religious leaders, business leaders, and economists that we must act, and act now, to preserve a world for our children. Just a month ago, the leading international network of climate change scientists, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, concluded for the first time that global warming is “unequivocal” and that it is with 90% certainty due to human activity. The New York Times called the report “a bleak and powerful assessment of the future of the planet….” You can read the full report.

But the Religious Right is also now personally targeting the NAE’s vice president for governmental affairs, Rich Cizik. They claim that Cizik is “dividing and demoralizing the NAE” by orchestrating a “relentless campaign” opposing global warming. And they end by suggesting that “he be encouraged to resign his position with the NAE.”

Cizik, far from dividing evangelicals, is part of a broad evangelical consensus on global warming. He is a respected evangelical leader who is bringing Christians together to address the growing danger of climate change, and is literally a hero to a new generation of evangelical students and pastors. That new generation has made “creation care” a mainstream evangelical issue. A statement last year by the Evangelical Climate Initiative, signed by 86 national evangelical leaders, including 39 Christian college presidents, noted that “we are convinced that evangelicals must engage this issue without any further lingering over the basic reality of the problem or humanity’s responsibility to address it.” The statement added: “Love of God, love of neighbor, and the demands of stewardship are more than enough reason for evangelical Christians to respond to the climate change problem with moral passion and concrete action.”

Sen. John McCain, in an op-ed with Sen. Joe Lieberman, recently declared: “The debate has ended over whether global warming is a problem caused by human activity. … There is now a broad consensus in this country, and indeed in the world, that global warming is happening, that it is a serious problem, and that humans are causing it.” In a powerful commentary in this morning’s Washington Post, “The Climate Change Precipice“, David Ignatius wrote, “The scientific debate about whether there is a global warming problem is pretty much over. … Skeptical researchers will continue to question the data, but this isn’t a ‘call both sides for comment’ issue anymore. For mainstream science, it’s settled.”

But the Religious Right is so used to being able to veto debates by their proclamations that when they see they are losing, they go on the attack. So if they think the debate is not over, let’s have a debate. We will respond; stay tuned next week.



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jurisnaturalist

posted March 2, 2007 at 9:32 pm


For mainstream science, evolution is settled as well. For mainstream science, there never was a Flood. For mainstream science, the resurrection and virgin birth are false. Mainstream science is staffed by intellectuals dedicated to maintaining the power and prestige of the state. Any time they can devise an issue with the result that the state needs to do something they will.I will not say that there does not exist evidence for climate change. I do not know. The evidence has not been plainly delivered to the public. Rhetoric has. Rhetoric which has almost always been paired with a government empowering solution.



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Eric

posted March 2, 2007 at 9:40 pm


I share some of the concerns of the signers of that letter. Particularly that Cizik is acting as if he speaks for all evangelicals. While I believe that climate change is taking place, what should be done about it, I believe, lies outside the realm of religous leaders. It’s essentially a scientific and political decision. As Christians we should work to protect God’s creation, but we should also think about the ramifications of the “solutions” to climate change we support. The Interfaith Stewardship Alliance makes some good points about this. In addition, I do worry that issues like climate change can distract Christians from other missions such as evangelism. For example, look at all the type spent on this subject on this blog.



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Don

posted March 2, 2007 at 10:07 pm


Jim: Let Dobson, Bauer, and Falwell argue themselves into irrelevance, if that is their desire. It’s sad to hear their assertions that the NEA is being divisive; the reality is that it is they who are perpetuating division here by insisting that we ignore this issue. If Christians refrain and refuse to speak out on this issue, we will become irrelevant also. Yes, missions and evangelism are vital, but since the scriptures speak to every area of life, we have an obligation to work in other areas as well. I for one refuse to be silenced on this issue, and I’m glad you won’t be either. I’ll be interested in reading what you have to say next week! “Mainstream science is staffed by intellectuals dedicated to maintaining the power and prestige of the state.” This is a blatantly false statement and betrays ignorance of how science operates. Mainstream science is staffed by scientists who are dedicated to doing the best science they can do. They are no more political than any other profession. The postings by Squeaky on the earlier global warming thread do a good job of revealing how scientists approach their work. Thanks, Jim, for posting this. It gives me another reason to continue praying for our Chirstian leaders. Peace,



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kevin s.

posted March 2, 2007 at 10:08 pm


“There is an international consensus among scientists, religious leaders, business leaders, and economists that we must act, and act now, to preserve a world for our children.” This is not the consensus view at all. The consensus is that global warming is real. The writers of the letter concede this fact, and acknowledge that people can draw different conclusions about the implications of global warming, and what we must do.You then shoehorn a much more extreme Jerry Falwell comment into your commentary, and pretend that his statements are materially the same. You know what your doing, here, Jim.So yes Jim. Let’s have a debate, an honest and fair one. What do you think should be done? What scientific consensus is there that this is the correct path? Why don’t you put forth your plan, being a self-proclaimed prophet and all?After all, your so critical of Mr. Perkins etc… That surely you must have it figured out.



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted March 2, 2007 at 10:09 pm


“Jerry Falwell claimed the debate over global warming is a tool of Satan being used to distract churches from their primary focus of preaching the gospel.” Jerry Falsewell/Foulwell is a known liar and hatemonger. Why should anything that procedes out of his mouth be believed? “Jerry Falwell, James Dobson and their friends are wrong, and this time, their attack shows just how far outside the evangelical mainstream the religious right has become.” THIS TIME?????????



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted March 2, 2007 at 10:12 pm


“Let’s have a debate, an honest and fair one.” Pardon me while I choke and snicker, kevin. I have YET to see any evidence that you are interested in such an “honest” or “fair” “debate”. It is called “faith” for a reason. Science NEVER enters into it.



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Don

posted March 2, 2007 at 10:17 pm


“While I believe that climate change is taking place, what should be done about it, I believe, lies outside the realm of religous leaders.” So let’s leave everything up to secularists, Eric? Don’t religious leaders have an obligation to speak prophetically to our nation’s leaders, politicians, and policymakers? Maybe we’re not all in agreement about what should be done aobut climate change, but maybe we should be informing the debate. Too often in the past, religious leaders have been silent about crises; maybe we need them to speak out now and again.



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Will H.

posted March 2, 2007 at 10:41 pm


Kevin’s grasping for straws on this one. Man, you just have to oppose Wallis on everything don’t you. Maybe a good first step Kevin would be for the Church to stand up for stewardship.



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jurisnaturalist

posted March 2, 2007 at 10:44 pm


“No more political than any other profession.” Hmm… My mechanic is political. He believes in the second ammendment. The bumper sticker on his truck says so. But, he’s not paid by the government. Who pays scientists? Sometimes corporations do. Sometimes students at research universities do. But an awful lot of money supporting scientific discovery is paid for by the government. People are always hesitant to bite the hand that feeds them, and are often inclined to make their bosses look good. They always like to have their respective budgets expanded, as well. To claim science is completely objective is shortsighted.



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Payshun

posted March 2, 2007 at 10:48 pm


Agreed science is seldom unbiased but that doesn’t make it unnecessary or irrelevant. p



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kevin s.

posted March 2, 2007 at 11:35 pm


“Kevin’s grasping for straws on this one. Man, you just have to oppose Wallis on everything don’t you. Maybe a good first step Kevin would be for the Church to stand up for stewardship.” Couldn’t one fairly say to Wallis that he just has to oppose Dobson on everything?At any rate, he has taken words out of context in order to malign Christian men who are making a point that isn’t really even about global warming.



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neuro_nurse

posted March 2, 2007 at 11:48 pm


I believe there is a lot of confusion among the general population about what science is. An essential component to the scientific method is publishing the methodology and results of an experiment. This allows other investigators to review the study for errors and repeat the experiment. A sound study with sound conclusions can be replicated by independent investigators. Scientific integrity is a serious ethical issue, but the peer-review process weeds out unsound methodology and bias. Reading about a study in the popular press is not a sufficient basis for a claim about the validity of the study. You need to read the original study and/or read comments about the study that are published in peer-reviewed science journals. I suspect few of the people who post here have actually read articles about global warming in peer-reviewed science journals. You re entitled to an opinion on the subject, but please don t try to convince me that you have an informed opinion on the subject unless you can reference criticism of the work on global warming from peer-reviewed science publications. Peace!



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HASH(0x1227e4c0)

posted March 2, 2007 at 11:48 pm


juristnaturist: I didn’t say scientists were unbiased. Nobody is unbiased. I only said they were on the whole no more political than other professions. They are not collectively dedicated to maintaining “the power and prestige of the state,” which is what you said, whatever you meant by that. There is no grand, secret scientific conspiracy to use science as a prop for expanding state power. Most research scientists, which is what we are talking about here, are dedicated first and foremost to the research they are doing, regardless of the funding source for their work. They publish their findings in journals whose article submissions are scrutinized by other scientists to make sure the science in the article is sound before the decision to publish it is made. This is called peer review. Spend some time in a lab and/or talking with some scientists about what they do. Learn how scientists do their work before making blanket statements about what they are dedicating themselves to. Peace,



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Don

posted March 2, 2007 at 11:49 pm


Oops! My last post was signed “anonymous” again. Sorry. Don



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kevin s.

posted March 2, 2007 at 11:51 pm


“You re entitled to an opinion on the subject, but please don t try to convince me that you have an informed opinion on the subject unless you can reference criticism of the work on global warming from peer-reviewed science publications.” If I grant you that global warming is occurring, and that humans are contributing to it, is there anything else the peer-reviewed science journals would reveal about this issue (e.g. what measures we could take, and what the projected outcome would be?). That is the question that speaks to the content of this letter.



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Alicia

posted March 3, 2007 at 12:11 am


Seems clear to me that part of the reason Dobson, Falwell and Co. are upset is that they don’t “own” the global warming issue.As new leadership emerges in the evangalical community, and young evangelicals embrace issues other than those traditionally promoted by Dobson, Falwell, etc. these gentlemen are losing control of many of the constituents they once controlled, and they see their share of power diminishing.Frankly, this reminds me of Roman Catholic Bishops valuing their power more than the protection of children from pedophile priests. That’s why Lord Acton made his famous statement: “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”



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Unsympathetic reader

posted March 3, 2007 at 12:45 am


Anonymous writes to juristnaturist: “I didn’t say scientists were unbiased. Nobody is unbiased. I only said they were on the whole no more political than other professions. They are not collectively dedicated to maintaining “the power and prestige of the state,” which is what you said, whatever you meant by that.” Just try getting scientists to line up to maintain “the power and prestige of the state”. It would be like trying to herd cats. If you want to get scientists to agree, show them good science. As for the notion that scientists will follow the money and the political winds of their benefactors… Well, assuming that’s true and given the current administration’s *clear* message about where they’d hoped global warming research would point, I would have thought scientists would have gone the other way. jurisnaturalist wrote: “For mainstream science, evolution is settled as well. For mainstream science, there never was a Flood.” Well, with those examples, I’d say that mainstream science did pretty well.



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butch

posted March 3, 2007 at 12:51 am


Interesting listening to non-scientist talking about scientist in such a un-scientific way.



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Ytufacistatambien

posted March 3, 2007 at 1:50 am


Kevin S: “So yes Jim. Let’s have a debate, an honest and fair one. What do you think should be done? What scientific consensus is there that this is the correct path? Why don’t you put forth your plan, being a self-proclaimed prophet and all?” Translation= Jim, I don’t like what you’re saying because it does not fit my troll, Bush lackey, religious right paradigm so say it my way or I’ll accuse you of being disingenuous (which in fact I am).



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moderatelad

posted March 3, 2007 at 2:00 am


Just a thought but – I think that the people that are supporting “Global Warming” and they are now using the term “Climate Change” might be hedging a bit incase a few years down the road we find out that they are ‘wrong’ about their theory on global warming and then they can say that we were talking about ‘climate change’. Kinda fits the change over the years of those that were ‘pro-abortion’ to ‘pro-choice’ and now it is reproductive rights. Just a thought – later .



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Don

posted March 3, 2007 at 2:16 am


butch: “Any who interfere with a careful assessment of this question are dangerous and irresponsible.” And I, among others, have been trying to persuade Kevin and other similarly-minded readers to begin just such a careful assessment of the question. I can’t imaging how calling him a “Repbubli-Nazi” and now the devil will encourage him to do that, in my opinion. I sense that Kevin has actually begun modifying his thinking just through participating in this debate. Just a tiny little bit, perhaps, but baby steps are important here. Maybe you don’t want to play nice, but if we’re going to have any chance to influence the thinking of those who are still in denial on this issue, I think we need to play nice, at least for a while yet. Or to put it biblically, I think we’re called to be wise as serpents but innocent as doves. If the stakes are as high as you claim, and I’m inclined to think they are, we need as many people convinced as possible. Just a thought,



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Unsympathetic reader

posted March 3, 2007 at 2:30 am


I wouldn’t view using the term “climate change” as a means of hedging about “global warming”. The world *is* warming. Climates *are* changing and a component behind that change is definitely global warming. But as other have noted, the fact that the average surface temperatures of the Earth are rising doesn’t mean that some areas won’t get cooler, or wetter, or drier & etc. as a result.



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Don

posted March 3, 2007 at 2:40 am


moderatelad: “Climate change” is simply a more accurate term to describe the situation than “global warming” is. It has nothing to do with hedging. The climates of the earth are changing as a result of atmospheric warming. But the warming will not be evenly distributed throughout the earth. Already, arctic regions have been warming at a much faster rate than the mid-latitude regions. Hope that clarifies a bit,



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kevin s.

posted March 3, 2007 at 3:22 am


“And I, among others, have been trying to persuade Kevin and other similarly-minded readers to begin just such a careful assessment of the question.” Don, this is a bit condescending. I’ve given a careful assessment to the situation. I went to a school in Michigan that was heavily invested in the environmental movement, where I was taught that climate change would result in the next dust bowl by 2012. I even wrote a rap song entitled “2012” where global warming would be the end of us (I was 9). I live as close as I can afford to live to my job, and drive as efficient of a car as I can afford. My wife and I are on the diligent end of the recycling scale. I am just wary of the power of government to solve this problem, and I am aware that scientists DO have a tendency to get swept up in hysteria (remember Monkey Pox?). That doesn’t means scientists are dumb, or that I don’t care about global warming. I just want to move with caution when it comes to changes that will have drastic economic effects (e.g. $2/gallon gas taxes).



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Mike Hayes

posted March 3, 2007 at 3:48 am


I’m encouraged by the “comments” on this topic. Perhaps we’ve moved beyond (endless) debate to discussion… sharing ideas, not to “win”, but to communicate… If this trend continues, I think this blog will begin to offer something of value… In my view…



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Mike Hayes

posted March 3, 2007 at 4:08 am


This is in response to attacks that occurred many posts prior to this. My recollection is that Dobsen (spelling?), Falwell, and Robertson were the ones who first “shot John”. Jim Wallis responded to their unopposed influence on voters as they considered the options for voting for candidates and for contacts with elected officials. “Change the wind” was a reaction to the narrow “values” that were being promoted by those three, unopposed by any other nationally recognized religious leaders. Jim Wallis and Sojourners filled a gap… provided balance…



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Squeaky

posted March 3, 2007 at 5:12 am


Kevin S writes: “I am just wary of the power of government to solve this problem, and I am aware that scientists DO have a tendency to get swept up in hysteria….That doesn’t means scientists are dumb, or that I don’t care about global warming. I just want to move with caution when it comes to changes that will have drastic economic effects (e.g. $2/gallon gas taxes).” I agree in part to some of your reasoning. Government isn’t really the answer. I say this because government changes every two years with the election cycles. The answer really starts with each one of us–grassroots, and all that. If we want change, it has to start with each of us, how we live our lives, where and what we purchase, who we vote for, and the demands we make of our elected officials. So, if government can’t do it, then it IS up to us, and hence, the green movement among evangelicals is not only warranted, it is vital. As for economics–you need to remember that gas prices are completely and artificailly low. They haven’t risen with inflation, for example. For another thing, we have the technology to get much higher gas mileage, and if gas prices go up, so do sales of fuel efficient vehicles. If Detroit starts seeing consumers go for Toyotas and Hondas, they will follow suit and start increasing gas mileage. BUT as we have seen time and time again, this only will happen if gas prices are HIGH. This last fall, gas prices were high, and sales on fuel efficient vehicles were very high, and for the first time in a long time, I heard fuel efficiency advertised on car ads. Then gas prices dipped again, and sales of SUV’s were up. The American consumer is fickle–mostly because we don’t know anything about energy. We prefer big and powerful to small and efficient. The gas mileage in our vehicles is significantly lower than it was in the late 70’s and 80’s, after the US responded to OPEC’s oil embargo. We DO have it in us to conserve and use our resources wisely, but we don’t do it, because, well, it’s human nature to be gluttons. (This is why I don’t get Dobson and others who are so out to preserve our lifestyle in this nation–our lifestyle is one of waste, gluttony, selfishness and greed, and our entire economy is based on those principles. Dobson et al, are all about morality, but they are selective in the morality they choose to focus on. The ironic thing is that a high percentage of marriages that end in divorce do so because of money issues (this according to Dr. Phil–I do my research =)). ) But let’s look at two approaches: Carter put on a sweater and gave us a fire-side chat asking us to conserve. And we DID. Reagan and Cheney/Bush thought/think it is unseemly of America to have to save and to be careful with our resources–we’re the most powerful nation in the world, afterall. Why should we worry? Thus began the 80’s “me” generation. So, I guess this gets back to the question of whether the government can help–well, it can, with the right leadership putting faith in us as a nation and asking this of us. Economics again–there certainly ARE ways around the global climate problem, and there are economic solutions, but as long as oil and coal remain artificially cheap, it will be hard to realize those solutions. If the true cost of oil and coal were factored in, as I said on a previous blog, alternatives would suddenly be cheaper, which would encourage innovation and competition in the renewables market, and that would create jobs and stimulate the economy. Oil and coal do not want to see this, and they paid big money to get a president in the white house who sees things there way. Don’t be naive about their influence on this nation’s energy policies. Oh–and here’s a non-global climate change reason to get away from oil and develop renewables. We’re running out of the stuff. Google Hubbert Curve, and that should tell you a lot. Oh, and one more reason to get away from oil–we don’t have enough of it in the US, so we are completely dependent on the Middle East. They have a lot of power, and it is only going to get worse for us because they are the only region in the world that has huge oil reserves. No one else comes even close.



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Joseph T

posted March 3, 2007 at 5:13 am


As for answers and appropriate means of achieving those answers within the efficiencies a capitalist frameworkcombined with good public policy, I would like to highly recommend “Natural Capitalism”, by Paul Hawken and Amory and Hunter Lovins(Rocky Mountain Institute).These people are brilliant, successful business people who have shown the market power of quality and good design. The book is all about incentivizing environmentally friendly capitalism using existing technology and promoting ever cleaner and more efficient technology and design.The succeses they describe are amazingly business like,life friendly, people friendly, and they provide an amazing array of examples of ingenuity and system engineering at it’s best. The core idea is simple. There is no “away” for our industrial and consumer waste. The whole planet is downstream. We must learn to live sustainably with the abundant natural budget of light, air, water, soil, biological growth and wisdom.Conservation, reordering market incentives to reflect true environmental costs, and incentives for efficiency, waste prevention and eco innovation are the first frontiers. The biggest failure of traditional economics is that it fails to recognize values that are not quantifiable financially like the health of pollinators, soil, wetlands, glaciers, snowpack, etc. The earth is a complex system in which every part plays a role and the health of the whole requires respect for that truth . It is ike the Pauls comparison of the body and its members to the community of God’s love and its members. God gave us a gardenand tasked us to care for it, And as Neil Young asks, “What will people do after the Garden is gone? Another good book dealing with broader topics food, supply water, population pressures is “Plan B 2.0 ” by Lester Brown. There are many more.



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Joseph T

posted March 3, 2007 at 5:26 am


Really a great collection of thoughts on this topic. I really like what squeaky had to say about the answers. Away from empire. Toward informed grass roots democracy. Right now we are acting like kindergartners fighting over tha sand box. If we can just learn to share , we may get into God’s first grade class.



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Squeaky

posted March 3, 2007 at 5:31 am


Joseph T–good post! I will look into those book suggestions. I finished up Erik Reece’s “Lost Mountain” last week, which is about mountain top mining (every page made me angry-you all should read it. In fact, you all NEED to read it). In the last chapter, he talks about what you are saying above–we have moved into this mechanized world in which we are so far removed from the earth, and we no longer understand our connection to it, or the interconnectedness of systems within the earth and how our actions affect those balances. And a lot of this comes from our western concept of rugged individualism. We think only of ourselves, and we forget that our actions have consequences for other people, some of whom can’t defend themselves. If we realize that we are connected to each other and that we are all part of community, we would be more focused on each other than ourselves, and we would be more focused on building sustainable communities. But in our mindset, we aren’t connected. This is a western construct, and one that I think has dramatic repercussions on our society, and even our fellowship as believers…



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Squeaky

posted March 3, 2007 at 5:37 am


I did want to address Butch–Butch, I frequent a science blog run by a very outspoken atheist (I’ve learned a lot about atheists), and so often the rhetoric over there turns nasty and snarky. Nasty, snarky, name-calling comments may be fine for that blog (although, I have argued time and time again for more respectful rhetoric over there), but it has no place in a discussion between Christians or in comments made by Christians. My hypothesis as to why it is so easy to move into stereotyping each other is that the internet has made us all faceless. Remember–there are actual people posting here, and they all have value in the eyes of the Lord, even if you don’t agree with what they believe. You can disagree, but you can also be respectful. It is NOT difficult. It really isn’t.



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butch

posted March 3, 2007 at 6:07 am


Squeaky If the issues weren’t so large I would agree but great harm can come from this. And, I simply feel that some are evil or willing to let evil prosper. I point out that Hitler and others managed their horror with many complicit people.



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Mike Hayes

posted March 3, 2007 at 6:21 am


Eastern cultures (and Native Americans) seem to have a sense of connectedness with nature that those among us who are descendants of immigrants from Europe seem to lack… Manifest destiny…?



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Elmo

posted March 3, 2007 at 6:29 am


I’m truly in favor of conservation, mainly because we can see the immediate effects of pollution on the environment. And it’s plainly obvious that the surface temperatures on the earth are rising. But the anthropogenic warming argument begins to lose credibility when its proponents say that there’s a consensus. The only way there’s a consensus is if you only count the opinions of people who agree with you. Check the Canada Free Press and this link for quoted statements and research from highly credentialed climate scientists who disagree with the anthropogenic hypothesis. But rather than have that “honest and fair” discussion with the opposing view, those in favor of man-made global warming ignore them, or say they’re going against the “consensus” (which isn’t really possible, because if there’s dissent, there’s no consensus). And if the statements of Dr. Heidi Cullen on the Weather Channel are any indication, the peer review process is worthless, because those peers wouldn’t take the time to look at the research of anyone who believes the current warming is natural. Based on the research I’ve looked at from both sides (and if you haven’t looked at quality research from both sides of the issue, you aren’t giving the issue the attention you say it deserves), the anthropogenic side seems to rely on the fallacy of post hoc, ergo propter hoc: After it, therefore because of it. Just because the warming began after the industrial revolution doesn’t mean it was caused by industry. And when you look at the graphs, the warming started more than a century after industry took off. Check #3 here for evidence of us lowering pollution even as we consume more, and look at the statistics on the actual amount of greenhouse gases in the air. This is an issue with two sides. And no Don, we’re not in denial about it, we just draw different conclusions from the data. And, BTW, you’ve set a good example on how to disagree in a civil way. Thanks.



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Mike Hayes

posted March 3, 2007 at 6:37 am


The letter from Dobson et al says also: “…Mr. Cizik not only believes that global warming is an indisputable fact, but he also holds related views that he has not been willing to reveal to the membership at large… We ask, how is population control going to be achieved if not by promoting abortion, the distribution of condoms to the young, and, even by infanticide in China and elsewhere? Is this where Richard Cizik would lead us?…”. So, there is no need for concern about the rate of population growth and the adequacy of the earth to continue supporting population growth absent birth control…? Those who do recognize that fact are supporters of infanticide…?



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butch

posted March 3, 2007 at 7:39 am


“or say they’re going against the “consensus” (which isn’t really possible, because if there’s dissent, there’s no consensus). ” More word games as if the degradation of our planet is a parlor game for English majors. The over whelming majority of climate scientist believe that man is contributing to global warming. Who wants to check my spelling and grammar?



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Jim M

posted March 3, 2007 at 11:11 am


Previous comment: Who pays scientists? Sometimes corporations do. Sometimes students at research universities do. But an awful lot of money supporting scientific discovery is paid for by the government. People are always hesitant to bite the hand that feeds them, and are often inclined to make their bosses look good. They always like to have their respective budgets expanded, as well. Who pays Dobson? I know he gets $$ from his listeners but doesn’t he get money from big business too? I am throwing that out there, not rhetorically but as a question. I think I heard somewhere that he gets a substantial amount of money from these vested interests. Does anybody know anything about this?



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sharon

posted March 3, 2007 at 11:36 am


The main problem is that global warming needed to be addressed decades ago when it was first accepted. We here in the USA have been living a lie since Reagan was president. Jimmy Carter tried to fund alternative fuels but Reagan, Bush, and Bush Jr cut off funds and gave oil government support. Reagan actually had one Middle East oil producer under cut the rest of the oil producers in the area and that is what has caused the last two Iraq wars. Bush Jr as soon as he took office shut down the ethanol plant that was built under Carter’s administration. And now he’s for it? The big problem is what comes next: let s try Earth changes. Before the last Earth change America was under the artic.



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Don

posted March 3, 2007 at 12:08 pm


Kevin: I took a break. Sorry for sounding condescending, but I simply assumed that one purpose all of us are posting here is to be persuasive. I don’t think we would bother writing if we didn’t think what we said was important. You talk about gasoline prices, and I have also. You don’t want the government to manipluate prices by taxing petroleum products. But Squeaky is right. Americans won’t conserve as long as gasoline is relatively cheap. And even when the prices go up, like they did last summer, Americans are reluctant to conserve, because they always want to think that the prices will go down. If the prices were in the $3.50 – $4.50 per gallon range–and if everyone knew they were going to stay there–we would see conservation and innovation, and startup businesses offering alternative energy technologies. And it would all be done *without* intrusive government intervention, which is what you are trying to avoid. Let’s talk about that for a moment. Squeaky mentioned the fuel crisis of the 1970s. One result of that crisis was that Congress passed fuel economy standards for auto manufacturers, in order to raise fuel economy. The auto industry balked, but they could do nothing. The result was a complicated formula for figuring whether they were complying or not. It did work–for a while. Overall fuel economy improved quite a bit. But by the mid 1980s, the auto industry had figured out an end run. Light trucks were exempt from the more stringent standards because Congress figured most smaller trucks were used by farmers and other small businesses, who needed a break from the standards. So the auto industry created a class of passenger vehicles that could be classified as trucks. And the SUV craze was born. Fuel economy began slipping, until now it is worse than it was in the early ’80s. If Congress had slapped on a gasoline tax to keep the price higher, fuel economy would have improved and innovative alternatives to burning petroleum would have been created, all *without* a complicated, difficult regulatory system of fuel economy standards. Plus, we would have no SUV behemoths clogging our highways. A gasoline tax would have another big benefit, one related to national security. Every time oil prices jump, the oppressive regimes in the Middle East are enriched. The Saudi government uses massive amounts of oil revenue to propagate and promote their strict, fundamentalist version of Islam known as Wahhabism around the world. President Chavez in Venezuela is buying off his citizenry with oil profits to consolidate his power. Efforts to promote representative government in many regions of the world are stymied because oil revenue, from the Middle East to Russia to Venezuela, keeps oppressive governments in power and helps them avoid reforming. A gasoline tax, by reducing consumption here in the US, would help us keep the money here for our own uses instead of sending it to the Wahhabis and other promoters of oppression. Finally, as I mentioned before, a gasoline tax could be used to help level the playing field in our highly inefficient and skewed transportation system. The government’s current transport policies favor the auto, trucking, and road-building industries, to the detriment of more efficient transport methods. You and others have written that there’s no market for rail transport in the USA. I think you are wrong. High-speed rail would find a ready and eager market. If someone could take a high-speed train from, say, Cincinnati to St. Louis, or from Chicago to Pittsburgh, in less time than flying would take (when you factor in the time needed for airport security and waiting around), a lot of people would be glad to do it. Amtrak, you say, is a drain on the economy. I invite you to go to an Amtrak station anywhere on the east coast, from Charlottesville, Virginia to Boston, and see how full the trains are. Improving rail service could be one big way to reduce our carbon emissions. Reducing our dependence on private motor vehicles has to be a goal for reducing our use of carbon-emitting fuel. So a lot can be done simply with a gasoline tax, and without other, more intrusive government interference. In fact, we could probably eliminate the current auto fuel economy standards; the price of gasoline would by itself make sure that automakers built fuel efficient vehicles. As Squeaky said, the current price of fuel is artificially low. It was low even last summer when we were paying over $3.00 a gallon. It hasn’t kept up with inflation. Moreover, when the environmental and social costs of gasoline use are factored in, the current prices are abysmally low. The results have been wasteful usage, increased carbon emissions, loss of community, road rage, urban sprawl, you name it. Even without global climate change, we ought to be concerned about conserving and being efficient in the use of a limited resource like petroleum. Peace,



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Don

posted March 3, 2007 at 12:42 pm


Elmo: T”his is an issue with two sides. And no Don, we’re not in denial about it, we just draw different conclusions from the data. And, BTW, you’ve set a good example on how to disagree in a civil way. Thanks.” Thanks for the compliment, Elmo. :-) It’s part of my training, I guess. I try to teach my composition students how to argue in a respectful way. My concern about what you wrote above is that I don’t know about any real quality research that is *opposing* the anthropogenic view. We’ve been around this topic before; the independent, peer-reviewed scientific journals carry very little, if any, evidence that counters this view. Those who are saying they aren’t sure humans are contributing to climate change are mostly those in the pay of the oil, coal, and other energy industries. Regarding the peer review process itself, sure, nothing that involves fallible humans is perfect. But while it’s easy to say that the peer reviewers simply refuse to publish articles that take issue with the “consensus” view, one must realize that the peer review process isn’t intended to weed out controversial views. In science, controversy actually is highly valued. If someone were to challenge the prevailing scientific view on just about any issue–and have the evidence to back it up and a method for generating that evidence that is repeatable–he or she would over time be hailed as genius, hero, or something similar. But that’s the point. The evidence has to be supportable through rigorous testing, and other scientists have to be able to duplicate the results. The peer review process is designed to weed out faulty methodologies, not contrary opinions. The reason the peer reviewed journals no longer publish climate articles that counter the anthropogenic view is that nobody with a contrary view has been able to submit an article that that passes this rigorous methodology test. In principle, the anthropogenic view is subject to modification and even discarding in the face of contrary evidence. But the evidence has to pass scientific scrutiny. In practice, nobody with a contrary viewpoint has been able to do that. Therefore, unless and until someone can demonstrate that the anthropogenic view is based on inadequate or faulty evidence or methodology, it will stand as the prevailing view. Mike Hayes: “So, there is no need for concern about the rate of population growth and the adequacy of the earth to continue supporting population growth absent birth control…? Those who do recognize that fact are supporters of infanticide…?”Good point, Mike. I missed this red herring in Dobson et al’s letter to the National Evangelical Assn. Peace,



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 3, 2007 at 1:59 pm


Donny — To quote Falwell in denouncing Wallis in 2004, your views are “as evangelical as an oak tree.”



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Mike Hayes

posted March 3, 2007 at 3:23 pm


Jim M, Dobsen gets enough money from some sources that part of his organization that is not tax exempt…http://www.citizenlink.org/ So, they can endorse specific candidates during election campaigns…



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Paul

posted March 3, 2007 at 4:05 pm


Don, Your contributions in substance and tone are appreciated very much. I too am puzzled as to why Kevin is treated the way he is. I wish others had your sensibilities regarding what is and what isn’t offensive. I appreciated your discussion of “peer review”, and while I agree that it is something the many academics aspire to, would it be fair to say that sometimes academia does not live up to it’s aspirations? I am back in school after being away for about 25 years, and I find the intellectually stifling effects of political correctness saddening, if not frightening. My studies are not in the natural sciences so I am not in a position to comment on your substance, but it would not suprise me that some of the entrenched orthodoxies in the sciences are just as defensive as I am seeing in the social sciences. Not wanting to make too big a point of it, just a caution on the “infallability” of academia. And, no I am not saying you were claiming that they are infallible. cheers, Paul



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butch

posted March 3, 2007 at 4:25 pm


I said “Looking for a point where everyone pays the same price per mile driven.” This does agree with my point about taxing gas-guzzlers, hopefully you can understand?



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Paul

posted March 3, 2007 at 4:32 pm


Butch, You might want to read the Screwtape Letters again. In the introduction Lewis writes:”There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.” cheers, Paul



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butch

posted March 3, 2007 at 4:44 pm


You stand aside and I’ll point them out then you can show a neutral reaction neither pleasing nor displeasing them. I appreciate you pointing out my error about Lewis, the truth will stand when the world is burning and you are right about Lewis.



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Don

posted March 3, 2007 at 5:05 pm


Paul: Good points about academic orthodoxy. Yes, I see it all the time, with our emphasis on buzz words like diversity and multiculturalism. Not that I disagree with every single thing those terms refer to, I don’t at all, but it does become stifling after a while. Since I’m not involved with natural science except as an area of interest, I don’t have direct experience with that academic milieu. And maybe someone reading this thread who is involved can correct what I am going to say, if need be (Squeaky?). I have no doubt that the academic natural science world has its own orthodoxies. And no doubt the peer review process falls short on occasion, maybe even more often than occasionally, perhaps. But I think there are at least two facts about science that might be mitigating factors in their adopting of too rigid an orthodoxy. First is the scientific method itself. For any scientific theory or idea to gain wide acceptance, it must be rigorously tested and retested. Any study has to be ‘duplicatable,’ with the same results achieved before it will be considered fully valid. And the second factor is that science by its very nature tends to attract iconoclasts–people who enjoy attempting to break molds. This may be one reason why science has been so successful as an academic endeavor here in America. Our culture, with its emphasis on individualism, tends to produce rather large numbers of people with this characteristic. If the prevailing scientific viewpoint on the causes of global climate change can be challenged using the scientific method, it is very likely that someone sooner or later will mount a successful challenge to it. The fact that no such challenge has surfaced is a fairly good argument that the premise is valid. Butch: Higher taxes for guzzlers is a possible solution. The problem would be implementing it. Would we have some kind of scanner at the gas pumps that would identify the vehicle each time someone drives up and then calculate a price based on its EPA mileage rating? How would we deal with modified vehicles? I see potential for abuse here. Another possibility would be high excise taxes for guzzlers and corresponding tax breaks for fuel efficient vehicles. The excise tax could be renewed yearly as part of the licensing/vehicle registration process. But I think the simplest fuel tax solution would be an across the board gasoline tax that would have a variable rate which would keep the retail price the same (regardless of the rise and fall of crude prices), though with annual inflation-indexed increases. People with guzzlers and people who drive farther would pay more; people with fuel-efficient vehicles and those who drive less would pay less. The revenue could be used to balance our nation’s transport system, and/or it could be used to offset some other tax. Peace,



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Mark P

posted March 3, 2007 at 5:36 pm


Wallis: you are the king of the straw man argument. Falwell, Dobson, and company? Fallwell and Dobson are NOT even close to the same you just lumping them together, taking a Falwell quote, and slandering Dobson with it would be like me taking a quote from, say, Fidel Castro, and then slandering you with it because your both leftist. It s ridiculous.Frankly, this reminds me of Roman Catholic Bishops valuing their power more than the protection of children from pedophile priests.Wow. Shame on you Alicia.Don, I’m calling the devil by his name, I’m being as nice as I can.Wow, so we ve compared James Dobson to defenders of pedophiles, and Kevin to Nazism and the devil. I m really impressed by the forward-thinking, progressive tolerance and pluralism y all are showing. Butch, you and Alicia are the reason why reasonable discussion and a rational exchange of ideas can so quickly turn into mudslinging. Your attitudes are the very ones that turn people from open interchange to obstinate party-line-toeing (if you will). What, exactly, are you expecting to accomplish by calling Kevin a Nazi or James Dobson a pedophile-protector? If the issue is as big as you say, what could be more imperative than swaying minds? rather than polarizing My recollection is that Dobsen (spelling?), Falwell, and Robertson were the ones who first “shot John”.Stop conflating the three. Falwell and Robertson may be fairly close together, but James Dobson does not belong in the same sentence. It s practically slander to pretend such.Jim Wallis and Sojourners filled a gap… provided balance…They do indeed provide a counterweight on the opposite side of Falwell and Robertson, and for that counterbalance I am indeed grateful (really the progressive evangelical movement is an inevitable pendulum swing, and, while I think it s uber-dangerous, it might in fact be the best thing that could possibly happen to the American Church.If Detroit starts seeing consumers go for Toyotas and Hondas, they will follow suit and start increasing gas mileage.If Detroit doesn t start changing fast, they will die. The American car manufacturers as a whole are falling to pieces (and Michiganders think Granholm is the answer oh my).The ironic thing is that a high percentage of marriages that end in divorce do so because of money issuesI m not surprised; American consumerism is no less dominant in the church than in any other segment of society.In the meantime if I encounter a Republi-Nazi on the street I’ll follow screaming Republi-Nazi, Republi-Nazi get back everyone.Woohoo! Street-corner preachers 2.0!Many admired Hitler’s speaking abilityOf course the Hitler comparison had to come out. Butch, stop before you make more of a fool of yourself. Don, I also appreciate your ability to argue persuasively and with conviction without lowering yourself to cheap shots. So anybody have any peer-reviewed scientific research on good solutions to the climate change problem? and the total implications of enlarging federal power (the power wielded by y all s arch-enemy, Bush) in order to play Russian roulette with the market in the hope that government mandates will fix global warming?



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Jeremy

posted March 3, 2007 at 6:13 pm


I take issue with Falwell’s comments in particular. Why is global warming a tool of Satan to distract Christians from spreading the Gospel, but gay marriage, abortion, and whatever else the religious right seems to stand for isn’t? I think what’s going on is the Religious Right sees that they are losing ground and they are making last ditch efforts to try to gain it back. They are dieing and are not sure where they will go when they finally do.



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kevin s.

posted March 3, 2007 at 6:25 pm


“Who pays Dobson? I know he gets $$ from his listeners but doesn’t he get money from big business too?” Dobson’s salary comes from being the head of a charitable organization, to which anyone can donate. Does he have investments in business? Probably, as the majority of us do.”If the prices were in the $3.50 – $4.50 per gallon range–and if everyone knew they were going to stay there–we would see conservation and innovation,” I think you are underestimating the economic impact this would have. It would be rather devastating, especially to the poor and middle class. The best alternative we have right now is rail, which is enormously expensive in terms of building infrastructure, and also enormously unpopular.” Plus, we would have no SUV behemoths clogging our highways.” I use this to summarize your statement regarding fuel economy standards in the 1980s. First off, if you do not want to have a certain type of vehicle on the roadways, then we should have the option to ban it. But that requires a certain democratic process. We shouldn’t try to do an end run around that process in order to forbid a behavior that most people don’t want to see forbidden.If not SUVs, then minivans, which are not much better. But you touch upon an interesting point, which is the failure of government controls to affect change. The truth is that business people are very smart, and they are paid to make money. Clever mechanisms to manipulate the free market are proven failures because they amount to what is essentially a crap shoot, with myriad unintended consequences. The truth is that we have no idea how much impact we can have on global warming. The Kyoto Protocol, as invasive as it is, only promises .07 degress Celsius of change by 2050. That means we would need a dozen Kyoto treaties, when the countries involved have proven incapable of meeting the demands of only one. “President Chavez in Venezuela is buying off his citizenry with oil profits to consolidate his power.” This is a somewhat more compelling argument, though Chavez is something of a hero to many ardent environmentalists. The problem is the oil is a fungible commodity. If we don’t buy it, France will. If France buys it, then we buy more from Saudi Arabia. The real problem is that there isn’t a real alternative, at this point, for most Americans. People can’t afford to purchase a Prius. Raising the gas tax isn’t going to make them any better able to afford a Prius. Any governmental intervention, via tax or regulation, is going to cost money and jobs. Sometimes such sacrifices are necessary, but we must weigh those costs against the potential reward. From what I can discern, the return on investment for most proposals is minimal.



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted March 3, 2007 at 6:26 pm


Squeaky, “This is why I don’t get Dobson and others who are so out to preserve our lifestyle in this nation–our lifestyle is one of waste, gluttony, selfishness and greed, and our entire economy is based on those principles.” They do it because in their not so humble opinions, such prfligate waste will only serve to hasten the Rapture. This is their job – not to scare people into conserving, reducing, reusing and recycling, but to use up ALL the earth’s resources ASAP. “Man” IS supposed to have dominion over the earth, after all, and to subdue it. It can’t happen soon enough to suit Dobson, et al.



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Don

posted March 3, 2007 at 6:29 pm


Mark: For the record, I wouldn’t put Falwell and Robertson too close together. Robertson is a Pentecostal; Falwell is a Fundamentalist Baptist. Used to be those two groups didn’t talk to each other. Dobson, of course, isn’t a preacher at all, he’s a clinical psychologist. Dobson was at his best when he stuck to his profession, IMO. He started losing me when he got into politics. I don’t think Jim Wallis is setting up a straw man here by criticizing Dobson and Falwell in the same breath. As different as they may be from each other, they both are saying essentially the same thing about Christians and global climate change, just in different ways. Falwell is comparing our work in this area to the work of the devil, while Dobson is involved in trying to silence the National Evangelical Assn. Wallis isn’t actually conflating the two; he’s just pointing out the similarities in their thinking. And FWIW, I haven’t tried to verify this, but I heard somewhere that Robertson actually made a statement about global warming being true. Of course, he probably conflates it with his end-times scenario. Don



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kevin s.

posted March 3, 2007 at 6:29 pm


“I think what’s going on is the Religious Right sees that they are losing ground and they are making last ditch efforts to try to gain it back.” Falwell has been making batty comments for years. What’s going on is that he continues to be batty, and Wallis opportunistically uses his comments to get his base fired up against the “religious right” bogeyman.It’d be as though I wrote a post, decrying Wallis & Co. for comparing those who disagree with them about environmental policy to Nazis and pedophiles. Under Wallis’ rules of engagement, that would be entirely fair.



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted March 3, 2007 at 6:30 pm


Paulos, “What I do know is that this has been one of the coldest winters that I can remember.” Where on earth do you live? NYC had 70 degree temperatures in January and February. Where I live (S W Ontario) we didn’t get our first snowfall until FEBRUARY!



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kevin s.

posted March 3, 2007 at 6:32 pm


“Dobson was at his best when he stuck to his profession, IMO. He started losing me when he got into politics.” I agree. His books on parenting are an invaluable resource. “And FWIW, I haven’t tried to verify this, but I heard somewhere that Robertson actually made a statement about global warming being true. Of course, he probably conflates it with his end-times scenario.” That’s actually entirely correct.



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted March 3, 2007 at 6:39 pm


“His [Dobson’s] books on parenting are an invaluable resource.” Yeah, I guess, if you like hitting children and think of that as ‘good parenting’.



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Don

posted March 3, 2007 at 6:39 pm


“Actually, Falwell does not believe that global warming is caused by man, while the letter concedes that it is.” True, but both Falwell and Dobson want the church to be silent on the topic, even if for different reasons. The end result is that they are saying essentially the same thing.



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vynette

posted March 3, 2007 at 7:33 pm


Love of God, love of neighbor, and the demands of stewardship are more than enough reason for evangelical Christians to respond to the climate change problem with moral passion and concrete action.Why is it that the main factor contributing to our ever-increasing environmental problems is never confronted – the loss of forest and natural habitat due to overpopulation?Why the deafening silence from pulpit, press, and politician about the Vatican’s dictates and doctrines prohibiting birth control?Fear of eternal damnation ensures the economic slavery of millions of faithful men and women and condemns millions of children in South America and Africa to lives of poverty and desolation.This Vatican expansionist policy ensures a permanent supply of millions of little Catholics who, uneducated and impoverished, will continue to walk in the steps of their forefathers. The Catholic Church is daily increasing its influence in China. Need I point out the dire consequences for humanity if the laws of the Church were to eventually overturn the laws of the Chinese State? The present dread of Vatican influence and reach incapacitates action in the face of certain future catastrophe. So complete is this dread that all world leaders are rendered mute in the face of its power. The Vatican policy on birth control is a crime against humanity! Let us respond with ‘moral passion’ and ‘concrete action.’



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Don

posted March 3, 2007 at 7:41 pm


vynette: Come on, now, let’s not use this issue as another way to bash the RC Church. I disagree with their stand on birth control as much as you do, but we’re all in this together. Yes, deforestation is a serious issue; in fact, it’s one factor in the rise of atmospheric CO2 (since green plants absorb it from the air and convert it into oxygen and sugars). But overpopulation caused by the Catholic prohibition on birth control is hardly the only reason it’s happening. Finally, I don’t think there are very many governments unwilling to stand up to the Vatican if they feel they should. Peace,



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carl copas

posted March 3, 2007 at 8:13 pm


I read somewhere recently (can’t remember the source unfortunately), that among developed nations the USA has the highest number of global warming skeptics. Any thoughts on why this is the case?



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Mark Brown, MD

posted March 3, 2007 at 9:37 pm


The comments by the “religious right” about climate change and Jim Wallis’s response as usual bring up multiple issues that goes beyond the potential catastrophy of global warming. First it is important we understand the spiritual position that draws many conservative evangelicals to the right on climate change. I have heard them articulate before (paraphrasing)… God is in control and he created a finite amount of natural resources for humans to use and consume. The consumption of that finite amount will coincide with the Apocalypse . So this position states global warming’s reality is irrelevant…The real issue is God is in control and our only purpose on earth should be the great commission..evangelism. This also correlates with Rev. Falwell’s position that global warming is interfering with evangelism and therefore is a distraction. This , I think is a valid theolgical position to debate amongst Christians, but Rev. Falwell already resolved the debate with the creation of the “Christian Coalition” in the early 80’s which was based upon the principle that Christians should be “distracted” by the political process and become active. In other words we should no longer keep our faith private. Of course these are the same prinicple Jim Wallis articulated in God’s Politics. I certainly agree with Rev. Fallwall and Rev. Wallis that Christians should be active in stewardship of the political process. So in that arena, the solving the crisi of global warming and the stewardship of the environment become critically important for the following reasons: 1. We can truly save the world for all of God s creatures, human and otherwise. 2. If we set a national priority similar to the Manhattan Project or the moon shot, a new generation of great middle class jobs will be developed along with a new generation of scientific challenges whose solutions will spill over into other areas of problems and dilemnas(as did benefits from the moon program). 3. By sharing the research, results, and jobs with the world economy we will truly lift many of the worls’s poor to new levels of prosperity. This will do more for American foreign policy than another generation of conflict and war. 4. By taking care of all of God’s children and His incredible natural world, we will know we are following the Biblical guidelines of stewardship. In summary by beginning the discussion surrounding global warming(and all social/political issues for that matter) with he religious right by thanking them in their leadership in getting Christians involved in the political process, and expressing an understandding of their scriptural concrns of the Apocalypse, we can build a bridge to them enabling all of us to become better stewards of God’s creation. Together Christian progressives and conservatives can urge our politicains to have the political will and courage to put our national treasure towards a massive project to stop global warming, rather than continuing to expend our national treasure on new tools of destruction that continue to sow seeds of anger and revenge in this and future generations of peoples who consider us “the enemy.”



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Mark Brown, MD

posted March 3, 2007 at 9:39 pm


The comments by the “religious right” about climate change and Jim Wallis’s response as usual bring up multiple issues that goes beyond the potential catastrophy of global warming. First it is important we understand the spiritual position that draws many conservative evangelicals to the right on climate change. I have heard them articulate before (paraphrasing)… God is in control and he created a finite amount of natural resources for humans to use and consume. The consumption of that finite amount will coincide with the Apocalypse . So this position states global warming’s reality is irrelevant…The real issue is God is in control and our only purpose on earth should be the great commission..evangelism. This also correlates with Rev. Falwell’s position that global warming is interfering with evangelism and therefore is a distraction. This , I think is a valid theolgical position to debate amongst Christians, but Rev. Falwell already resolved the debate with the creation of the “Christian Coalition” in the early 80’s which was based upon the principle that Christians should be “distracted” by the political process and become active. In other words we should no longer keep our faith private. Of course these are the same prinicple Jim Wallis articulated in God’s Politics. I certainly agree with Rev. Falwell and Rev. Wallis that Christians should be active in stewardship of the political process. So in that arena, the solving the crisi of global warming and the stewardship of the environment become critically important for the following reasons: 1. We can truly save the world for all of God s creatures, human and otherwise. 2. If we set a national priority similar to the Manhattan Project or the moon shot, a new generation of great middle class jobs will be developed along with a new generation of scientific challenges whose solutions will spill over into other areas of problems and dilemnas(as did benefits from the moon program). 3. By sharing the research, results, and jobs with the world economy we will truly lift many of the worls’s poor to new levels of prosperity. This will do more for American foreign policy than another generation of conflict and war. 4. By taking care of all of God’s children and His incredible natural world, we will know we are following the Biblical guidelines of stewardship. In summary by beginning the discussion surrounding global warming(and all social/political issues for that matter) with he religious right by thanking them in their leadership in getting Christians involved in the political process, and expressing an understandding of their scriptural concrns of the Apocalypse, we can build a bridge to them enabling all of us to become better stewards of God’s creation. Together Christian progressives and conservatives can urge our politicains to have the political will and courage to put our national treasure towards a massive project to stop global warming, rather than continuing to expend our national treasure on new tools of destruction that continue to sow seeds of anger and revenge in this and future generations of peoples who consider us “the enemy.”



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Wolverine

posted March 3, 2007 at 9:49 pm


Mark Brown MD wrote: First it is important we understand the spiritual position that draws many conservative evangelicals to the right on climate change. I have heard them articulate before (paraphrasing)… God is in control and he created a finite amount of natural resources for humans to use and consume. The consumption of that finite amount will coincide with the Apocalypse . That’s news to me, and I’ve been around evangelicals for most of my life. Wolverine



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kevin s.

posted March 3, 2007 at 10:08 pm


“I have heard them articulate before (paraphrasing)… God is in control and he created a finite amount of natural resources for humans to use and consume. The consumption of that finite amount will coincide with the Apocalypse . So this position states global warming’s reality is irrelevant…” I haven’t heard this anywhere, and it is not in the letter Wallis linked to either. It certainly isn’t the position of anyone who has posted here.”1. We can truly save the world for all of God s creatures, human and otherwise.” Can we? I don’t think that has been nearly established.”2. If we set a national priority similar to the Manhattan Project or the moon shot, a new generation of great middle class jobs will be developed” This depends on which proposal you support. A proposal to raise the gas tax, for example, will do no such thing.”3. By sharing the research, results, and jobs with the world economy we will truly lift many of the worls’s poor to new levels of prosperity.” This is quite a stretch. “This will do more for American foreign policy than another generation of conflict and war.” I don’t think that jobs created by new industries will forestall future wars. You can make the case, as Don did, that we could decrease our reliance on oil, which could have the affect on foreign policy, but you are being tremendously optimistic. “Together Christian progressives and conservatives can urge our politicains to have the political will and courage to put our national treasure towards a massive project” But conservatives are averse to massive government projects. Further, there is division as to what that massive project should be. Leaders from the midwest are going to demand that the solution emphasize ethanol. Leaders from heavily industrialized states are going to demand less accountability for polluting companies etc…As a result, we wind up with a pork-heavy non-solution that slakes the environmentalist thirst of the average moderate. How do you propose we avoid this scenario? “to stop global warming, rather than continuing to expend our national treasure on new tools of destruction” Let me ask this. If we are to take money spent on the military, and instead invest it in the environment, how then do we defend ourselves? What if an Islamic Fascist government decides to take over? Do you think they will care about proper stewardship over God’s creation?



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butch

posted March 3, 2007 at 10:15 pm


“For any scientific theory or idea to gain wide acceptance, it must be rigorously tested and retested.” Two2 centuries is about right to agree that the world is round. Don’t want to rush into anything think of all the bad things that could happen if we cut emissions.



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butch

posted March 3, 2007 at 10:20 pm


“Butch: Higher taxes for guzzlers is a possible solution. The problem would be implementing it. Would we have some kind of scanner at the gas pumps that would identify the vehicle each time someone drives up and then calculate a price based on its EPA mileage rating? How would we deal with modified vehicles? I see potential for abuse here.” Simply tax the vehicle and yes I can see many problems with such an idea. But we are not addressing the problem now



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butch

posted March 3, 2007 at 10:45 pm


“By sharing the research, results, and jobs with the world economy we will truly lift many of the worls’s poor to new levels of prosperity.” I think we should spend the money on this project then sell the knowledge worldwide. It could be traded for resources such as oil from one nation and copper from another or money or reduced debt with China. I’m interested in the problems of world hunger and desease but we can all benefit.



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Wolverine

posted March 3, 2007 at 11:17 pm


Mark Brown MD wrote: If we set a national priority similar to the Manhattan Project or the moon shot, a new generation of great middle class jobs will be developed along with a new generation of scientific challenges whose solutions will spill over into other areas of problems and dilemnas(as did benefits from the moon program). This strikes me as just another variation on the old “broken window” fallacy, which held that a broken window was a good thing because the owner would have to replace it, which would create work for the guy who installed the new window, the glassmaker, the carpent who made the new windowsill, etc. The flaw is, of course, that the money spent to replace the window could have just as well been spent on any of a thousand different things, creating jobs for other workers. Meanwhile, the guy whose window had been broken is out the cost of a new window. There might be valuable spin-offs from new environmental technologies, just as there were spin-offs from the Apollo program. But there are lots of technologies that have potential value, and not all of them are dependant on an unproved theory of global warming to reach their full value. The extent to which we pursue technology to alleviate global warming should be determined by the likelihood and the expected severity of global warming — and nothing else. Wolverine



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butch

posted March 3, 2007 at 11:35 pm


“The extent to which we pursue technology to alleviate global warming should be determined by the likelihood and the expected severity of global warming — and nothing else.” Reducing emmissions is a sufficient reason.



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HASH(0x125dc014)

posted March 3, 2007 at 11:35 pm


Meanwhile Jim Wallis gives us a link for “the full report” of the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Except that isn’t the full report, it’s a “Summary for Policymakers” — says so right there on the front page. As I understand it the 2007 full report isn’t available yet. In 2001 there were questions about whether or not the summary accurately reflected the contents of the full report created by the actual IPCC scientists. Even if you accept the IPCC as authoritative, this debate isn’t settled until the full report comes out. Wallis is jumping the gun here. Wolverine



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Deno Reno

posted March 3, 2007 at 11:43 pm


Science …so called ! The Earth as created is not nor has ever been in stasis or a steady state. SOMETHING WE SHOULD ALL BE AWARE OF IS THAT OUR PLANET is in a constant state of change hence Ice-ages and now global warming. This to shall pass!



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butch

posted March 3, 2007 at 11:49 pm


This to shall pass! Deno Reno | 03.03.07 – 6:48 pm | #This is so comforting that an expert has spoken on the subject. I’ve been listening to these non-scientist debating scientific matters and I was frankly confused.



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Wolverine

posted March 3, 2007 at 11:58 pm


As for the “debate” promised next week, I hope that Sojourners goes out and at least tries to find two actual scientists. That would actually be interesting. At the very least, I would request that they not waste their time tearing down Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. That would be redundant. Wolverine



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butch

posted March 4, 2007 at 12:10 am


I to agree that dealing with Pat Robertson and Falwell is a waste of time. Bring on the experts, then lets see if we can find concensus?



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Gary

posted March 4, 2007 at 12:19 am


I think this may have been touched on previously, but it strikes me as a little strange that Jim Wallis, who certainly believes in God, would employ the views of scientists in the forming of his opinion on global warming. I think it’s safe to say that a large majority of climate scientists, or any type of scientists for that matter, don’t believe in the theory of God. If someone is so wrong on such a fundamental part of Wallis’ belief system, why would he trust them on global warming? Isn’t that being rather selective? I think Wallis should pick what he really wants to be….a religious man or a politician or a scientist.



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Jim M

posted March 4, 2007 at 12:29 am


Kevin S: “It’d be as though I wrote a post, decrying Wallis & Co. for comparing those who disagree with them about environmental policy to Nazis and pedophiles. Under Wallis’ rules of engagement, that would be entirely fair.” Kevin, if you ever wonder why some in this room can’t stand you, it is posts like that. You equate “Jim Wallis’ rules of engagement” with those who harshly criticize you. You reveal your agenda when you call Dobson and Falwell men of God and then blast Jim Wallis. If you stuck to the issues and didn’t just keep jabbing with these ad hominen attacks, you’d incur less hostility. Until then, I fear you’ll continue to incur the criticism. That, Don, is what Butch has been talking about. It may not justify calling Kevin S names but it does reveal why people are getting upset with him. He too is provoking and should recognize that.



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Bleebo

posted March 4, 2007 at 1:27 am


While the ongoing debate and inquiry into global warming is imperative for those on both sides, one thing that I think has been lost here is the content of the original blog. I think the bigger story here is not global warming per say, but the Religious Right’s fear that – as one blogger said – they are losing control. Their letter to NAE does not call for open inquiry into this issue, but it calls for Cizik’s job and makes some dubious jumps in logic by connecting Cizik’s concern global warming to increased abortions, condom distribution, and infanticide. In making these 2 moves, they 1) call for the termination of one who they see as a threat to their hegemonic block of political slam-dunk issues (abortion and conservative sexuality), and 2) they try and link a concern for global warming, which seems a reasonable enough concern, to their bread and butter issues. I agree with Jim Wallis that Rich Cizik is no enemy, but rather, he represents this “broader agenda evangelicalism” that threatens the Religious Right’s power and control over determining the salient “Christian” issues. If they weren’t so threatened, why call for Cizik’s job? Why not call for open inquiry and the truth? Why publicly impune him for being an environmental champion? I think Dobson is truly afraid that Cizik actually DOES speak for a lot of evangelicals, and that doesn’t bode well for the political future of the Religious Right. Cizik, in his reply to the letter, confirmed his broader agenda, saying that he “speaks with a voice that is authentically evangelical on all issues, from religious freedom around the world, to compassion for the poor, ending oppression in Darfur – and yes, creation care is one of those issues.” Keep speaking for truth and a true biblical agenda, Rich! While we might not always agree on solutions, it is long past time to start constructive dialogue on these issues and stop calling for the jobs of people who are representing the best of evangelicalism.



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Squeaky

posted March 4, 2007 at 1:56 am


Hoo-boy–where to start? First of all Don (not to be confused with Donny)–your assessment of the scientific method is spot on. The only thing I would add is that the method is not infallible in the short term, which is what causes the confusion among non-scientists. Sometimes it takes time to weed out the bad science, but in the long run, this does happen, and the method works. Scientists can be biased, and they are human, which is why we have the scientific method. Thank you for all your well-reasoned and respectful comments. Next: why is it Kevin S gets hammered so much, but Donny gets a free pass? Donny says: “Global warming is a scam so that you Lefties can foce us all into your godless socialism.” As a left-handed scientist, I take particular umbredge to this remark. You really need to spend some time learning about science, and then see if it is just a left-wing conspiracy. Have you read even one report from one reputable, peer reviewed science journal on the topic? Gaia worship, indeed–don’t you find it strange that those you deem to be godless have a far greater appreciation for God’s precious gift of resources for us than many Christians do? Who are you to judge the motives and heart of me or anyone else who believes global climate change is real, and that we can and should do something about it? It must be nice to know everything so clearly and be so well-equipped to be our judge. I thought that was God’s job… “Chicken Little is all you guys are.” Chicken Little–Feh–what EXACTLY are you defending? “Your religion of Gaia worship means taxing the real family and the poor, into slavery to the state.” What are you worshipping, Donny? The economy? The oil industry? The coal industry? Our rugged individualism? Materialism? Wasteful gluttony? You want to talk about morality–how is it moral for a coal company to rip off the top of a mountain, and pile the slag into the headwaters of a stream thus destroying that stream and the organisms that live in it, and ruining the water supply of those who rely on that stream? How is it moral that as the result, the poorest people in the United States have to buy bottled water because their own water has been poisoned by the run-off from the coal mines? How is it moral that their homes are cracked from the blasting, and yet the coal company won’t pay for damages? How is it moral that kids all over the US should suffer from respiratory illnesses caused by the emissions from fossil fuels? How is it moral that the most impoverished among us have toxic waste dumps established in their neighborhoods? This is all in the name of the economy, in cheap electricity, in cheap oil. You need a far broader sense of morality if all you are concerned about is Adam and Steve marrying each other. Copas–you asked why we in the US resist believing that global warming is true, when most other nations in the world don’t? It’s because we stand to be economically damaged the most, since we are the most affluent nation in the world. We also aren’t used to “going without” and have been taught by our leaders (beginning with Reagan) that we shouldn’t have to. We also are woefully illiterate when it comes to the environment, energy, etc–we live in a society that values individualism over community, and so we aren’t as connected to each other as others are. Kevin S–you made a point that people can’t afford the Toyota Prius. Have you ever actually priced one? I have, and what I found is that the base price was around $20,000. The base model Prius is loaded with standard equipment to the point no one needs to add anything because all the things most people want–power brakes, etc, air conditioning, CD player, etc, is already in the vehicle. How much does an SUV cost? And yet people find ways to purchase those without any problem. The argument that the Prius is too expensive is patently and unequivocably false.



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Squeaky

posted March 4, 2007 at 2:16 am


Gary–almost forgot you:”I think this may have been touched on previously, but it strikes me as a little strange that Jim Wallis, who certainly believes in God, would employ the views of scientists in the forming of his opinion on global warming. I think it’s safe to say that a large majority of climate scientists, or any type of scientists for that matter, don’t believe in the theory of God. If someone is so wrong on such a fundamental part of Wallis’ belief system, why would he trust them on global warming?” It is in the scientific realm that advances in medicine are made. I am guessing you are quite comfortable trusting in scientific discovery in that realm. You are trying to be selective about which science to trust based on the science you are comfortable believing in. You are even benefiting from studies of evolution every time you get a flu shot. In fact, without science, we would be living in the dark ages–have you seen that commercial about what happens if all the plastic suddenly disappeared? We know how to make plastic, use metals, create technology, advance in medicines, defend our nations, and travel to the moon because of science. I doubt those things bother you very much, and I doubt you refuse to trust the science behind your computer (well, sometimes I do, especially when it crashes). You are choosing the science that is convenient to you. Sorry–can’t have it both ways. And about the theory of God–the scientific method is such that it can only investigate the physical world. It has no authority in the spiritual world. You can’t prove or disprove God’s existence scientifically–your experiment needs to be reproducable by other investigators (reread Don’s posts on the scientific method–he explains it very well). I actually know quite a few scientists who believe in God or a god. You might want to check out Francis Collin’s latest book. He headed up the human genome project.And I ask all you who do not want to accept global climate change–what exactly are you trying to hold on to? If it is your fear of how it will hurt the economy—remember, the root of all evil is the love of money. Seems to me there is considerable effort in defending the right to make a ton of money. I would have too check it again, but I’m pretty sure Jesus wasn’t too keen on people attaining wealth at the expense of others.



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Jim M

posted March 4, 2007 at 2:24 am


Gary: I think Wallis should pick what he really wants to be….a religious man or a politician or a scientist. Gary, I don’t mean this as an insult. It is just my point of view. I do not believe that there is a total disconnect between science and faith in God. I heard a statistic somewhere that the vast majority of scientists do have a belief in God- maybe, though, not a belief in God in the way many fundamentalists churches portray Him. I do not believe it wrong or hypocritical for Jim Wallis to have his faith informed and influenced by science. After all, God did give us a mind and the ability to reason. Jim



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Don

posted March 4, 2007 at 2:35 am


Gary, it may be true that a large number of scientists are atheists or agnostics. But a lot are believers, too. Squeaky did an excellent job of explaining how science can’t prove or disprove God’s existence, so I won’t repeat what he wrote. However, one more thing, perhaps, could be said. There are scientists who use science as justification for their atheistic ‘religion.’ They take the findings of science, and then by a leap of faith declare that science declares that there is no God. Whenever you hear someone like Richard Dawkins (a British evolutionary biologist who is an outspoken atheist, to say the least) saying something like that, keep in mind what Squeaky said: science has no authority in the spiritual realm. So scientists who speak like that are not speaking as scientists; they are speaking as humans who have a particular religious viewpoint. They just happen to be using science to justify their atheistic religion, or irreligion, if you prefer. Many scientists who are believers have written against this practice, which they regard as a misuse of science (see the writings of Calvin College emeritus physics professor Howard Van Till, for example). Unfortunately, the voices of the atheists seem to get more attention in our secularist culture.



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kevin s.

posted March 4, 2007 at 2:37 am


“The argument that the Prius is too expensive is patently and unequivocably false.” Most people can’t afford $20,000 (and they cost more than that). That is far above the average purchase price of an automobile. It is not as though one can go buy a used Prius anywhere. Eventually, the prices will come down as demand goes up. Government ought not throw a wrench in that process. Do you think everyone can afford a $20k car. A gas tax would effect everyone, not just those who drive SUVs.



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kevin s.

posted March 4, 2007 at 2:41 am


“Just another example of your being nasty, Kevin. You accuse Don of being “condescending” in a previous post yet you totally insult other insinuating they don’t know what they’re talking about.” Don insinuated that I had not begun an earnest exploration of this issue, and I found that condescending. That is far from “totally insult(ing)” someone or insinuating the don’t know what they are talking about.If there is something specific to which you take offense, make note of it. Otherwise, you are guilty of the ad hominem attacks you ascribe to me.



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Don

posted March 4, 2007 at 3:04 am


Would a gasoline tax, like the one I have been describing, harm the economy? I believe quite the opposite would happen. I think it would greatly stimulate the economy. It would give alternative energy enterprises a chance to grow. Do we really want the government to subsidize these alternative energy startups? That to me seems the intrusive government solution, or “liberal” solution, if you will. A gasoline tax that brought the price to a more accurate reflection of its real cost would in the long run be a boon to the economy. Would it hurt some people in the short term? Probably. But it could be phased in over time to soften the blow. And maybe some other tax rates could be reduced or eliminated to offset it. Or certain benefits could be made available to people who would be truly hurt by the increase in gasoline prices. But it would force people to make driving choices that they currently are unwilling to make (because we’re lazy people, by and large). And I’m thinking of much more than deciding on a Prius over a Chevy Tahoe. Maybe people would start moving closer to where they work. Maybe they would start carpooling more than they currently do. And getting to know their neighbors better in the process (imagine that!). Maybe they would begin riding the buses or trains more often (where such transport means are available). Maybe they would start walking or bicycling more (in a culture where obesity is an increasing health concern, that would be a good thing for many of us). Maybe we would be more careful about how much and when we drive–learning to schedule our driving trips and routing our errands for more efficiency. A lot of things that we could be doing but don’t because we’re lazy would become routine. The important thing for you laissez-faire believers is that a gasoline tax would provoke *us* to decide for *ourselves* how best to conserve fuel, rather than having some fuel savings mandate forced upon us by Congress and enforced by some new bureaucracy. All that is needed is the bold leadership necessary to make it happen.



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squeaky

posted March 4, 2007 at 3:17 am


Kevin S–you are correct, the starting price of a Prius is more than 20K. According to Cars.com, it is $22,175 $23,070. This is still far less than the starting price for the average SUV–go to Cars.com and click on SUV’s–it gives you a list of the prices, and only a couple are below 20K, and not much below. Most are well above 25K. What’s my point? My point is that plenty of people find a way to afford SUV’s. If people can’t afford 20K for a car, then why are there so many SUV’s around? I doubt even a used SUV is much less than 20K. Your point was that the Prius is too expensive for people to afford. If people can afford a 35K vehicle and the gas to fuel it, they can afford a 23K Prius and the far less gas it takes to fuel it. A gas tax would affect everyone, but fuel efficiency would go up, and in the long run, it wouldn’t have the impact you think it would. And again, as Don and I have argued, the price of oil is kept artificially low. And as I mentioned before–we are using it like it will never run out, and it will. Or at least the cheap, easy to get variety will.And, speaking again of the economy–right now we are in this war with Iraq. There are also thoughts in Washington about going to war with Iran. That entire region could completely destabilize–what would THAT do to our economy? Your defense of a fossil fuel economy assumes we will always have oil, that our supply will never be disrupted, and that all will always be right with the world. It doesn’t take much to upset that very precarious balance we have with supply. Isn’t it far better for us to go to another energy economy that will free us from the whims of the world energy market and most specifically from the clutches of OPEC? I’m not saying it is easy, not at all. But it is necessary. A very easy first step is conservation, and that wouldn’t disrupt any part of our economy. In fact, gas prices would probably drop…



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butch

posted March 4, 2007 at 3:20 am


Eventually, the prices will come down as demand goes up. Government ought not throw a wrench in that process. Do you think everyone can afford a $20k car. A gas tax would effect everyone, not just those who drive SUVs. kevin s. | Another blantant unsupported lie by our resident Republi-Nazi. I just did a search of the internet and most new cars cost more than 20,000 and the average is well above 20,000. Using a simple scientific method it was easy to find out that Kevin doesn’t know what he is talking about and is willing to say anything that furthers his Republi-Nazi agenda.



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squeaky

posted March 4, 2007 at 3:23 am


Don–so VERY well said! Only one comment: “Do we really want the government to subsidize these alternative energy startups? That to me seems the intrusive government solution, or “liberal” solution, if you will.” I think the argument could be made that the government already subsidizes the oil industry–we are fighting a war to protect our oil infrastructure and oil economy right now. There was also huge resistance to taxing oil revenues when the oil companies made billions off of Katrina…not to mention our points already that oil prices have not risen with inflation…and of course, with the lessening of the environmental regulations so that oil and coal companies can get by with ruining the environment…they are definitely being subsidized–and their investment of a few million in campaign contribution has paid off multifold!



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butch

posted March 4, 2007 at 3:55 am


and of course, with the lessening of the environmental regulations so that oil and coal companies can get by with ruining the environment…they are definitely being subsidized–and their investment of a few million in campaign contribution has paid off multifold! squeaky | 03.03.07 – 10:28 pm | #Of course it is the job of government to regulate but not to benefit of big donors, the country is run by the Abramoffisse. The Republican Party gives us BS religious issues like personal sexual preferences, actually it was just the undefined “family values” to fight over. All they had to do was run out an Amendment to ban gay marriage and here we are 3 years later still mired in this crazy war. I’m convinced my faith is as strong as any here but I never wear it on my sleeve because more evil has been done in the name of Christ than good. So, I try to find my answers in the real world then look to the Bible for backup. I studied the Bible at great length and believe everything in the Old Testament can be found today. It requires peeling away or changing your paradigm to understand. Look at the Old Testament and you’ll find me and Kevin S. I’ll accept that comparison if you read my words emphatically.



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Jim M

posted March 4, 2007 at 4:04 am


Butch: “I’m convinced my faith is as strong as any here but I never wear it on my sleeve because more evil has been done in the name of Christ than good. So, I try to find my answers in the real world then look to the Bible for backup. I studied the Bible at great length and believe everything in the Old Testament can be found today. It requires peeling away or changing your paradigm to understand.” Well put, Butch. Couldn’t agree with you more.



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squeaky

posted March 4, 2007 at 4:06 am


“The Republican Party gives us BS religious issues like personal sexual preferences, actually it was just the undefined “family values” to fight over. All they had to do was run out an Amendment to ban gay marriage and here we are 3 years later still mired in this crazy war.” Exactly, Butch. It is actually an incredibly incidious ploy–distract us with relative non-issues when people are dying every day in Iraq. Our morality is far worse today than it ever was, and it isn’t because gay people want to get married.



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Jim M

posted March 4, 2007 at 4:14 am


Squeky: “Our morality is far worse today than it ever was, and it isn’t because gay people want to get married.” I used to participate in Bible studies with some rather conservative Christians who were very Republican. When I told them that I did not feel that the U.S. was a Christian nation, rather it was more like the the Roman empire at the height of its corruption, they looked at me in almost complete disbelief. But that’s the way I see it. Not because of the sexual issues but because we go to other countries, take them over and we are quite ruthless in the process. It seems that the oil oligarchy has triumphed for now. Jim



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kevin s.

posted March 4, 2007 at 4:20 am


“Another blantant unsupported lie by our resident Republi-Nazi. I just did a search of the internet and most new cars cost more than 20,000 and the average is well above 20,000.” What percentage of people buy new cars? Is the average car purchase price $20k? I can’t afford a $20k car, and neither can most of my friends, but I’m younger than the average car buyer.



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butch

posted March 4, 2007 at 4:22 am


Since it is just a few of us I’ll change the subject a little. The gay question; if you’ve studied or followed someone who claims to speack for God and they suggest it is a sin. It may be and I don’t know but God judges not me. The religious right did judge when the followed Falwell, et al.



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butch

posted March 4, 2007 at 4:26 am


but I’m younger than the average car buyer. kevin s. | That is apparent!



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Squeaky

posted March 4, 2007 at 4:42 am


Kevin S– a quick search on used SUV’s in the area I live in (and that is the dominant car driven) shows that even used vehicles don’t dip below 20K until they are at least three years old. Do you own an SUV, or do your friends? If so, how much did they cost, and how old are the vehicles? If you don’t, what kind of car do you own, and how old is it?



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Squeaky

posted March 4, 2007 at 4:46 am


Jim, “I used to participate in Bible studies with some rather conservative Christians who were very Republican. When I told them that I did not feel that the U.S. was a Christian nation, rather it was more like the the Roman empire at the height of its corruption, they looked at me in almost complete disbelief. But that’s the way I see it. Not because of the sexual issues but because we go to other countries, take them over and we are quite ruthless in the process. It seems that the oil oligarchy has triumphed for now.” I wish I could remember the book I heard about that described the fall of the Roman Empire. If you just substituted the United States for Roman Empire, it sounded just like this country. The parallels are pretty scary, really. And I also don’t believe it is our family values issues that will take us down, but rather our blatant disregard for other nations and our very fragile standing in the world, even amongst our allies. Hopefully, our next president will be far more savvy in foreign policy than our current and will mend the terribly damaged fences.



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Mark P

posted March 4, 2007 at 4:49 am


Don Dobson was at his best when he stuck to his profession, IMO. He started losing me when he got into politics. -I don t really agree with his politics very much. I think I agree with his sentiments behind them (aka his clinical psychology) but not how he applies them to government. But I don t think he s crazy Falwell and Robertson on the other hand. Curiouser: Where on earth do you live? NYC had 70 degree temperatures in January and February. Where I live (S W Ontario) we didn’t get our first snowfall until FEBRUARY! -It was freezing in Michigan. Negative 20 windchill. It was also one of the coldest winters on record (I think January may have been record setting) in my home state of Arizona. See? The name-calling comes from BOTH sides. -Indeed it does, but they did it too doesn t cut it after third grade.Yeah, I guess, if you like hitting children and think of that as ‘good parenting’. -I m not sure what your religious background is, but proper physical punishment for children is Biblical. Vynette: Need I point out the dire consequences for humanity if the laws of the Church were to eventually overturn the laws of the Chinese State? -Yeah, I d be pretty scared if human life were considered sacred. That d be pretty dire.The Vatican policy on birth control is a crime against humanity! -#1 Utility/pragmatism does not determine morality. -#2 If it would be better if the impoverished and sick were never born in the first place, why don t we create squads to determine a person s social utility, and if they fall under a certain category, just kill them for the rest of us, yes? Mark Brown (MD): God is in control and he created a finite amount of natural resources for humans to use and consume. The consumption of that finite amount will coincide with the Apocalypse. -Echoing Wolverine: having grown up in a conservative evangelical home (my mom used to be a FOX-News-loving, Democrats-aren t-Christians Republican Christian) I still never heard that. That would make the end a little too predictable, and I seem to recall Jesus saying that we ain t gonna be looking for it when it happens.3. By sharing the research, results, and jobs with the world economy we will truly lift many of the worls’s poor to new levels of prosperity. -My friend, this is a basic misunderstanding of economics and history. Understand that the idea of a finite lump of wealth that, if distributed evenly, would result in an all-happy world, is simply not true at all. The world s wealth is not finite; there is more wealth in the state of California than in the world five hundred years ago. -There s a reason why the West is so wealthy, and it has NOTHING to do with stealing from the rest of the world or exploiting the world (because, again, even had we stolen EVERYTHING we still wouldn t have half the wealth California alone has) . And the greatly increased wealth was assuredly not created because of redistributive macroeconomics. We will not lift the world s poor to new levels of prosperity; rather, in the span of a couple generations, we will pull the West back a century, and the temporary euphoria of Native-American-reservation-style free wealth will create a dependence that will plunge the poor to new levels of despair and poverty.This will do more for American foreign policy than another generation of conflict and war. -Because American foreign aid has created such goodwill in the past (see: Somalia).Together Christian progressives and conservatives can urge -Look, true conservatives are all about conservation as was expanded on in another topic (and environmentally indifferent rightists are not true conservatives), but not in a way that increases the scope of our already unwieldy, top-heavy central government and not in a way that destroys liberty. Wolverine: just another variation on the old “broken window” fallacy -Yep, the old war gets us out of depressions idea that if you build a bunch of stuff and then blow it up, you ve somehow increased your wealth :).



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Mark P

posted March 4, 2007 at 4:49 am


Gary: it’s safe to say that a large majority of climate scientists, or any type of scientists for that matter, don’t believe in the theory of God -I don t think that s safe to say. I read a report a year ago in [TIME?] stating that the percentage of self-proclaimed atheists and agnostics in scientific fields has plummeted in the last twenty years. Men and women who, a decade ago, identified themselves as such are often now deists or theists of some sort.I think Wallis should pick what he really wants to be….a religious man or a politician or a scientist. -Kinda crushes the concept of a liberally-educated individual, yes? And wouldn t you say you ve massively compartmentalized things? I know you re religious Jim, so why don t you just shut your mouth Monday through Saturday, and you can talk again on Sunday. Just make sure you don t let your faith spill over into other areas of your life. The jealous God of Scripture will not be satisfied by dominating your religious views alone. Kevin: I must say you do have a bit of the martyr complex, though from the civility (lack) displayed by some I can understand being touchy. It just doesn t help to respond to inflammatory remarks with inflammatory remarks. though I d say this particular instance is only a mild hyperbole. Wallis rhetoric truly does constantly create straw men. On the whole it seems that Kevin s comments are mildly insinuating and subtly deprecating while many of his detractors are just flat-out offensive and aggressively insulting. Squeaky: the method is not infallible in the short term -Long term or short term, infallible seems a bit strong. Perhaps very reliable to the point of eliminating reasonable doubt might be more appropriate. Do remember that Ptolemy s geocentric view was subjected to a (primitive) form of the scientific method for well over a thousand years and do understand that the theory was basically ironclad, empirically, for quite a while. Prior to the telescope the only reason people started saying, This might be wrong is the absolute over-complexity of Ptolemaic construct. Due to peer review (of a sense) over centuries, the inconsistencies between the theory and the observations were ironed out by creating a ridiculously complex system. Though it perfectly explained the empirical evidence, it was unbelievably complex and some people started sensibly saying, This is far too complex to be right. However, there was no empirical proof against the construct until Galileo observed the shadow on the cold side of (Venus, yes?). -So technically the scientific process worked out in the end, but only after a thousand years and the creation of new technology.(beginning with Reagan) -Well that was a foolish comment historically. You could probably draw it back into the 19th century, but the entitlement society began at least as early as Woodrow Wilson and was definitely in full force with FDR s economic bill of rights (including the right to a comfortable living ). Beginning with Reagan? Are you kidding?the government already subsidizes the oil industry -True, though I m not sure the war is your best example. Don: I think it would greatly stimulate the economy. -I think the factors are far too great for you or I to even begin to guess what dabbling in the economy would do in the long-term. But don t take that as an insult; I don t think Alan Greenspan had much of a clue either. Outside of a theory in a Keynesian mind, there is no such tangible thing as an aggregate good. The factors are simply far too many to know with any certainty the long-term effects. What we do know is that, right or wrong, the market economy when left alone creates wealth for the masses. We do know that the free trade system makes the average standard of living rise. Granted, it s volatile, uneven, and there are never any guarantees but that just makes it even more risky to have a central government dabble. Butch: I just did a search of the internet and most new cars cost more than 20,000 and the average is well above 20,000. -The point is not that all cars are cheap, but that there are cheap versions of a lot of new cars available. It s not that everybody buys the 10K compact, but it s out there. For the Prius-types, it s not out there yet. And, additionally, there are used ones at there. As for SUV s, there are a LOT of twenty-year old SUV s in single-digit pricing. [Three years old is still new, and a Toyota 4Runner will still run great if it s 15 years old]more evil has been done in the name of Christ than good. -Unmitigated bullshit.I try to find my answers in the real world then look to the Bible for backup. -Interesting that you distinguished Scripture from the real world, as if it s off in some floaty spiritual dimension apart from reality PS: I agree that the gay marriage issue is minor (on its own) and overblown, and it certainly won t be fixed through government so I don t support the Religious Right agenda there.



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kevin s.

posted March 4, 2007 at 5:05 am


“Do you own an SUV, or do your friends?” I do not. A few of my friends do. ” If so, how much did they cost,” The ones I know spent around 6k-12k. and how old are the vehicles? I can’t really generalize here. From a couple of years to 5-6 years, I suppose. Our church is not a “show off your new car” kind of church. Though my coworkers don’t generally sports new vehicles either. “If you don’t, what kind of car do you own, and how old is it?” I drive a 2002 Focus that I bought 18 months ago for $6,500. My wife owns a 2005 Focus that she bought almost new for $12k. I was surprised to find that the Prius is not much more than a Camry. I wonder how many people know that. I would like someday to own a Prius. I figure I’ll be able to pick one up when this global warming isn’t all the rage with the limo liberal types anymore, and they look to trade up for a Jaguar.



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Mark P

posted March 4, 2007 at 5:06 am


PS: My pops owns a 93 4Runner he got for 11K and I once had an 87 Cherokee for 4K. I currently have no car. Bumming rides is a blast. Really.



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kevin s.

posted March 4, 2007 at 5:09 am


“I must say you do have a bit of the martyr complex” If I don’t respond, the comment stands. If I do respond, then I am defensive. I don’t consider myself a martyr, as I don’t take these discussions personally.



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Squeaky

posted March 4, 2007 at 5:15 am


(beginning with Reagan) -“Well that was a foolish comment historically. You could probably draw it back into the 19th century, but the entitlement society began at least as early as Woodrow Wilson and was definitely in full force with FDR s economic bill of rights (including the right to a comfortable living ). Beginning with Reagan? Are you kidding?” Good point–however, you have heard of the “Me” generation, I suspect. It was with Reagan that we, as a nation, were no longer asked to sacrifice. Carter put on the sweater and asked us to turn down our thermostats to overcome the energy crisis of the time. Reagan rid us of that culture of conservation. Our current president and vice president tell us we won’t be asked to make such sacrifices, and have never asked us to conserve, even though that is a far more viable option than continually trying to supply our way out of the energy control OPEC has over us. The sacrifices we have been asked to make, however, are far more dire, and that is in the form of the men and women serving in the armed forces. I for one would rather have the thousands of men and women who have died, been physically injured, and emotionally scarred due to this war back as whole people rather than hold on to an unsustainable oil infrastructure, even though it would impact us economically for awhile. The sacrifice made for oil is far, far too great. the government already subsidizes the oil industry -True, though I m not sure the war is your best example. In the sense that it is OPEC resources that are being protected and not US oil resources, you make a good point that this wasn’t the best example–in the sense that the war is being fought to enable us to keep doggedly hanging onto an oil-based economy and infrastructure, keeping artificially low oil prices, it is a good example–the war benefits the US oil industry because keeping oil prices low acts as a disincentive to developing alternative energy. If your point is that we aren’t in Iraq because of oil, I conceded that our reasons for going to war were because of 9-11. However, we don’t deal with the Mid East because of their fig industry. If we didn’t deal with the Middle East at all, it is hard to see how 9-11 could have ever happened.



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butch

posted March 4, 2007 at 5:18 am


I try to find my answers in the real world then look to the Bible for backup. -Interesting that you distinguished Scripture from the real world, as if it s off in some floaty spiritual dimension apart from realityYou don’t get it; it is all Gods world and any way we understand reality we understand what God already knows. I assume I can’t know every lesson of the Bible perfectly so when something can be replicated in science then it is and God knew it and may have addressed it in the bible. Pace makers were never mentioned but they exist so they are in Gods realm whether I can get it out of the Bible.With my theory rather than God being out there he is right beside me as I’m typing.



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Squeaky

posted March 4, 2007 at 5:21 am


Kevin S–would that I live in a part of the country where people don’t identify themselves by the car they drive (I actually used to, and then I got a job in this place). I suspect in this area, most people drive very new cars, and I know that the cars they drive are by and large huge SUV’s or Pickups, and VERY few foreign cars (and QUITE a few of those hedonistic wasteful Hummers). Cars are a status symbol in these here parts–a status symbol I reject. I own a Scion xB. It’s gratifying to know that I always have the cutest car in the lot =), I’m totally happy with it, and I haven’t spent both arms and legs to purchase it.



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Gary

posted March 4, 2007 at 7:59 am


I guess my argument’s somewhat flawed, and I kinda knew that, but I can’t help but see a certain dissonance here, what with religious people so proudly trumpeting the opinions of those who so overwhelmingly reject the core tenants of religious faith. ——————————————- The Washington Times, July 30, 1998, Thursday, Pg. A2 HEADLINE: The more they learn, the less they believe BYLINE: Edward J. Larson and Larry Witham; NATURE The question of religious belief among U.S. scientists has been debated since early in the century. Our latest survey finds that, among the top natural scientists, disbelief is greater than ever – almost total……. CHART SCIENTISTS AND GOD Belief in a personal God has sharply declined among America’s natural scientists during the century. BELIEF IN PERSONAL GODYEARS: 1914 – 1933 – 1998 Personal belief: 27.7% – 15% – 7.0% Personal disbelief: 52.7 – 68 – 72.2 Doubt or agnosticism: 20.9 – 17 – 20.8 Source: Nature magazine ———————————————— So the smarter scientists get, the more they believe in global warming, and the less they believe in God. Does that not bother anyone? Are they wrong on God? I assume most here would say yes. Could it be that they are also wrong on the causes of climate change? Could it be that they have adopted human-induced global warming as their own personal religion, to fill a certain natural human need to believe in something grand? Could it be that they are doing it for the grant money, not dissimilar from a posing TV evangelist cynically begging for donations in the name of God? Could it be that Jim Wallis is simply hitching a convenient ride on the climate scientist’s wagon, because he perceives it to be headed in the direction of more state control, and less individual capitalist freedom? Has Wallis ever ridden any wagons going the opposite direction?



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Steve Gamble

posted March 4, 2007 at 8:50 am


Explain to me how it is that global warming has to be bad? 9000 years ago the earth was 5 to 6 degrees warmer and the Sahahra was a grassy plain with tree lined streams and lakes. How bad is that? Our own sw desert was considerably smaller. Was that bad? Read the bible about the great cedar forests of Lebanon of those anceint times when it was warmer. Was that bad? I’ll wait while ya’ll recalculate the math of global warming.



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Borat

posted March 4, 2007 at 11:43 am


Steve Gamble: “Read the bible about the great cedar forests of Lebanon of those anceint times when it was warmer. Was that bad? I’ll wait while ya’ll recalculate the math of global warming.” Uh, Steve do you know what happened to the cedar forests of Lebanon? From: http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/lebanon_cedar.htm “Human greed won and the forest was completely stripped of its trees, leaving nothing but bare ground.” It wasn’t climate change. When we read the Bible in isolation of history and the facts, this is the kind of preposterous argument we craft. Much along the lines of the Salem witch trials (do they float or not? etc.) So you may want to use the Bible along with a study of history and throw in some cognitive reasoning skills to boot. I know it’s tough, Steve, because in so doing, you may have to question some of your deeply held beliefs but that’s okay. We call that growth as a person. I guess the alternative is to remain in the dark ages. Got it “y’all”?



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Don

posted March 4, 2007 at 12:10 pm


Gary wrote: “So the smarter scientists get, the more they believe in global warming, and the less they believe in God. Does that not bother anyone? I don’t know for sure why so many scientists are atheists, but I would guess that far too many have bought the notion that science “proves” God doesn’t exist, even though in fact science is unable to prove any such thing, since science can only deal with physical reality. I would also surmise it’s pretty easy for someone to become an atheist when so many of one’s colleagues are atheists. As I mentioned before, there remain some believing scientists, even if they are a minority. You might want to read some of Howard Van Till’s writings. A good one to start with is “Science Held Hostage,” which he co-wrote with two science professor colleagues at Calvin College. It’s a bit dated (mid-80s) but the basic arguments are still relevant. Gary also wrote: “Are they wrong on God? I assume most here would say yes. Could it be that they are also wrong on the causes of climate change?” Gary, this is a non sequitur. Science can only deal with physical reality. The things scientists say individually about spiritual and religious things are their own opinions and are *not* science, no matter how much the likes of Richard Dawkins might claim otherwise. Scientific views on global climate change, on the other hand, are based on scientific observation of the physical climate systems of the Earth, and are entirely within the realm of scientific discovery and explanation.



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Donny

posted March 4, 2007 at 1:38 pm


Gary’s right. Wallis is a humanist and a socialist. Like most scientists. Remember, both need society paying thier rent. Declassifying Deity into myth gives scientists and Progressives like Wallis, great power over the masses.



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Borat

posted March 4, 2007 at 1:49 pm


Donny: “Declassifying Deity into myth gives scientists and Progressives like Wallis, great power over the masses.” Donny are you referring to Wallis in the same way ambitious fundamentalist preachers keep their flock ignorant because they refuse to read history, reflect on it and engage their cognitive reasoning skills? I’ll take Wallis any day.



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Donny

posted March 4, 2007 at 1:51 pm


Of course, the only reason you have the poll numbers of “scientists” that do not believe in God is because the scientists that do not believe in God are running the polls. Remember the 2004 election exit polls? Kerry looked to be winning by 99% of the votes cast. I didn’t vote for the guy and no one I know (with a conscience) did either.How many scientists are even wiling to give a true opinion anymore, when their jobs are on the line. One thing is taking shape, the Humanists (and their progressive religion/belief-system), are the most intolerant people the world currently has walking on it. And since the “convenience” for hedonism, Humansism sells, it doesn’t look good for people with morals to ever gain a large voice again. Wallis is a priest of a whole different kind of religion. And notice that his version has little Biblical support, so he goes with his kind (humnaists) for success and power.Wallis ain’t stupid. He knows where ultimate power is to be achieved. His soft-spoken egotism is more venomous than the loud screaming voices usually associated with Leftist power grabs. He just sits back, smiles and watches the lemmings walk by on their way to doom and regrets. Ever notice that suicide bombers are never the religious leaders urging the martyrs to go forth?



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Borat

posted March 4, 2007 at 2:39 pm


Donny: “I didn’t vote for the guy and no one I know (with a conscience) did either. ” I guess it did not shock your conscience that the president would start an unjustified war killing many innocents. I would agree. Your religion and mine are vastly different. I am thankful I have mine.



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Borat

posted March 4, 2007 at 2:58 pm


Mark P responding to Butch: more evil has been done in the name of Christ than good. -Unmitigated bullshit. Butch, he obviously has not read much history. Mark P responding to another person: This will do more for American foreign policy than another generation of conflict and war. -Because American foreign aid has created such goodwill in the past (see: Somalia). Yeah and who got us in there? Not Clinton. He inherited it from Bush senior who put troops there in the waning days of his presidency. Another clever move by another clever Republican. Plus I wouldn’t classify that debacle as foreign aid. Obviously they didn’t want us there. I know that that is hard to accept given our altruistic good intentions throughout the world.



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butch

posted March 4, 2007 at 3:48 pm


I’ll wait while ya’ll recalculate the math of global warming. Steve Gamble If our intentions are pure they do not appear so to many outside this country. If they are pure then we need to communicate that and our positions on global warming doesn’t do that.



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butch

posted March 4, 2007 at 3:51 pm


I was responding to this I know that that is hard to accept given our altruistic good intentions throughout the world. Not this Borat | 03.04.07 – 10:03 am | # I’ll wait while ya’ll recalculate the math of global warming. Steve Gamble If our intentions are pure they do not appear so to many outside this country. If they are pure then we need to communicate that and our positions on global warming doesn’t do that. butch | 03.04.07 – 10:53 am | #



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Squeaky

posted March 4, 2007 at 4:35 pm


Gary– “So the smarter scientists get, the more they believe in global warming, and the less they believe in God. Does that not bother anyone? Are they wrong on God? I assume most here would say yes. Could it be that they are also wrong on the causes of climate change? Could it be that they have adopted human-induced global warming as their own personal religion, to fill a certain natural human need to believe in something grand? Could it be that they are doing it for the grant money, not dissimilar from a posing TV evangelist cynically begging for donations in the name of God? Could it be that Jim Wallis is simply hitching a convenient ride on the climate scientist’s wagon, because he perceives it to be headed in the direction of more state control, and less individual capitalist freedom?’ Since when is Christianity about individual capitalist freedom? I don’t see that value anywhere in the Bible–Thou Shalt have a free market. Sorry–rather, it’s “Give to Ceasar What is Ceasar’s.” In a culture where the taxes were far less equitable than they are in ours, that statement of Jesus’ had to be shocking! You are making a causal connection between a scientist getting smarter, believing in global warming, and hence not believing in God. If you want a causal connection, move over into evolution–that is a far more logical causal connection than the one you propose (although, in saying that, I also admonish you to read Kenneth Miller). Global warming causing a scientist not to believe in God isn’t a logical leap–global warming tells me as a SCIENTIST who is also a CHRISTIAN that God created and INCREDIBLY ELIGANT organism called Earth, whose systems are in dynamic equilibrium and delicately balanced, and our actions of burning fossil fuels is disrupting that delicate balance. I don’t really understand how you, as a Christian, are not outraged by that. It is because of wastefulness and gluttony and disregard for the health of our own children and the insistence on a nice lifestyle with cheap energy, that we question that humans are the cause of global warming. I respectfully suggest you take some time to learn the science and how science works before you disregard our work because you think we are all atheists. Again, you are being selective about what scientific accomplishment you choose to trust. If you disregard and distrust every advance made because a non-Christian made the advance, you would be living in the dark ages. You can’t pick and choose the scientific truths you feel are most convenient to your lifestyle and our individualistic capitalistic society. Read all of Don’s posts on the scientific method throughout this thread. I don’t need to add anything to what he has already put forward. Donny–“Of course, the only reason you have the poll numbers of “scientists” that do not believe in God is because the scientists that do not believe in God are running the polls.” Weird statement, Donny–it is as if you are arguing that the polls would show there are MORE Christians in science if the Godless atheist scientists weren’t running the polls. I do have to ask, though, whether you checked your sources to see who actually took those polls. “How many scientists are even wiling to give a true opinion anymore, when their jobs are on the line.” Apparently quite a few. It has been well-documented that the Bush administration has doctored scientific findings on global climate change to make it look like the jury is still out. If scientists didn’t dare speak out on it because they were worried about losing their jobs, we wouldn’t hear boo about it in this current fossil fuel funded administration.”And since the “convenience” for hedonism, Humansism sells, it doesn’t look good for people with morals to ever gain a large voice again.” I wish you would respond to my comments I made to you way back in the post. I think you are the one defending hedonism and materialism. How is it hedonistic to take a stance on global warming when, if we did start doing something about it, as many have argued here, we would have an economic downturn to deal with? This IS true, as our entire economy, and in fact, the entire world’s economy is based on fossil fuels. So, in short, you are defending greed, not morality. I would rather defend humanism over materialism any day, because Jesus valued all human life far more than he valued money, and your position defends materialism, in my estimation. Explain to me how it doesn’t. Please respond to me. You really should do some research about science before you form opinions about it. Ignorance is a self-inflicted disease.”Wallis is a priest of a whole different kind of religion. And notice that his version has little Biblical support, so he goes with his kind (humnaists) for success and power.” Hmmm…in my Bible, Jesus teaches me to care more about others than I care about myself. My Bible teaches me that the riches of this world will never give me satisfaction. In this nation, the Christian Right has formed an alliance with the Republican Party–is that REALLY healthy? That brand of Christianity is all about wealth, influence, and power–please explain how that is Christ like. Donny, please start thinking about and responding to the comments others, rather than just dropping little pearls of vitriol.



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Borat

posted March 4, 2007 at 5:19 pm


I know that that is hard to accept given our altruistic good intentions throughout the world. Butch, I was using irony and sarcasm.



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Don

posted March 4, 2007 at 6:05 pm


Squeaky: Thanks for mentioning Kenneth Miller. ;-) I wish more Christians would read him. Peace,



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kevin s.

posted March 4, 2007 at 6:22 pm


” that we question that humans are the cause of global warming.” Nobody that I have seen has proposed that humans are THE cause of global warming. I do not regard having a warm home and a means of transportation as inherently evil. I see nothing in the Bible that supports that view. I see a call to be good stewards of God’s creation, and I try my best to accomplish that. But to say that we have been complicit in some massive sin simply by providing homes for our families seems an odd reading of scripture, and one that is inherently hypocritical for anyone who uses natural energy to post on this board.As I alluded to above, I have not seen much in the way of peer reviewed work that says what we should do as a nation, and how much of a difference it would make. Butch says reducing emissions is sufficient reason, whether or not it impacts global warming. I disagree with that sentiment.We are called to be good stewards of the earth, but God created the Earth for us to use. Those statements ought to be held in balance. Much of the root human causes of global warming happened decades before anyone had heard of the idea. It’s hard to make a case that widespread sin caused them to unintentionally harm the environment.No Jesus did not say we have an inherent right to a free market system. Neither did he speak out against it (though he clearly calls on us to pay taxes that are due). However, our system has worked very well. In the public sphere, linking global warming to our sate our capitalistic desires (nod to Wallis) insinuates the end of a free market system. If this is how the case is presented, people will instinctively shrink from this idea. Further, people are gong to instinctively question the “experts” (in this case scientists of varying pedigrees). People remember (very smart) people predicitng Y2k doomsday scenarios. People remember (very smart) people telling them the Ebola Virus could kill us all. People who are old enough even remember (very smart) people telling us that global cooling would lead to the next ice age.That the people suggesting that “climate change” are often the same people who hate “big business” and go on peace marches lends the idea even less credibility. People wants facts, not hysteria. Someone asked above why Americans are more skeptical about global warming than other nations. We just tend to be that way, and it has served us well, frankly. That skepticism has yet to even bubble to the surface on this issue. Try asking the average American to pay $2,000 per year extra in taxes in an effort to get them to buy hybrid cars (at which point, they’ll still be paying more in taxes). I can guarantee you that “cause the scientists say so” isn’t going to fly. So we can argue the merits of this statement till the cows come home, but eventually, the environmental movement needs to get a bit more practical, and a bit more American.



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carl copas

posted March 4, 2007 at 6:29 pm


A very good book on how a scientist can believe in God is Bernard Haisch, The God Theory. Haisch is a prominent astrophysicist. He does not believe in the god that most of us on this list worship but he makes a strong case for a higher power. Blessings to all on this beautiful Lord’s Day.



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Deno Reno

posted March 4, 2007 at 6:49 pm


Butch YOU are rite I’m no scientist like YOU? I do work in a very science oriented Business chemicals , processes reactions,sublimation, distillation, cryogenics, to name a few. I have been told I’m too scientific to be Religious and too Religious to be scientific!? clim./chan. like evolution has became a requirement for consideration in the elite education club. If you donn’t “believe” or adhere to the clubs tenets c/c , evol. , your ideas must not be educated enough to take into consideration . hang in their SQUeaKY



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Squeaky

posted March 4, 2007 at 6:50 pm


Kevin S–you aren’t reading my posts very carefully. It isn’t evil to warm your homes, but what I am asking is how is it being good stewards when we use God’s resources in thoughtless, wasteful means? That’s what I am getting at, and you are avoiding the heart of my points. Please address this. “As I alluded to above, I have not seen much in the way of peer reviewed work that says what we should do as a nation, and how much of a difference it would make. ” This isn’t really science’s realm, so you aren’t going to see much in that arena. “In the public sphere, linking global warming to our sate our capitalistic desires (nod to Wallis) insinuates the end of a free market system. If this is how the case is presented, people will instinctively shrink from this idea.” Not so much–there are actually economic solutions that have been proposed, such as carbon trading, and taxing gas so that it reflects their true costs to our society (much as cigarette taxes are high to reflect the high cost of health care due to cigarette smoking). This would spur innovation in the renewables market, jobs would be created, the economy would flourish. Take the government protection away from fossil fuels and see what happens. Competition is a good thing in the business world. “Y2k doomsday scenarios. People remember (very smart) people telling them the Ebola Virus could kill us all.” As I recall–there was a lot done to protect against and prepare for Y2K. I wonder what would have happened if we had ignored the warnings and done nothing to prepare? Could it also be that our preparations were successful? Umm…and it is true that the Ebola Virus could kill us all. Which is why monumental efforts have been made to contain it. What if those efforts weren’t made, and it was allowed to spread? These aren’t examples of scare tactics that had no purpose–they are examples of warnings that were heeded and as the result, we didn’t see the doom that was predicted if we had ignored them.



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Deno Reno

posted March 4, 2007 at 7:06 pm


Squeaky ; Climate change advocates are using convienent science. it has taken over a 100 years for his peers to justify the theory of evolution. How? Darwin wrote his Theory as a justification of the superiority of the white race and its right of imminent domain to conquest and domination of any subservient races in their way. Is that scientific? of course college evolution has been cleansed of that side issue in favor of natural selection of species instead. Science so-called BEWARE of IT.



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Jim M

posted March 4, 2007 at 7:25 pm


Kevin S, you state that Americans are more skeptical about global warming than other nations because we just tend to be that way, and it has served us well, frankly. You may be right that we have been skeptical but it would appear that we are not employing critical analysis. That is why we were led into the war without asking the hard questions. It was so bad that the NY Times (our nation’s leading newspaper) had to publish a public apology for its lack of critical analysis leading up to the war. Because I speak a couple of foreign languages and as such have access to foreign news media, it is obvious that our news media are Americacentric and in many instances controlled by big money interests, including the big oil companies. That doesn’t mean that I am a socialist or a communist. It means that I am a realist. Perhaps the reason Americans have been more skeptical of global warming is because they simply are uninformed. To be skeptical of something does not mean that one is informed. You need only scroll through the entries on this discussion board to prove that beyond a doubt.



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kevin s.

posted March 4, 2007 at 7:28 pm


“That’s what I am getting at, and you are avoiding the heart of my points. Please address this.” Your commentary can easily be interpreted as an indictment on American consumption. The average American simply has a warm house for themselves and their family, and sees a car as a way of getting to work. What you specifically decried is the insistence on a nice lifestyle with cheap energy. I guess what you meant depends on how you define “nice” and “cheap”. But even if I interpret “nice” to mean “extravagant”, you must realize that most people yearn for what you might consider extravagance. And so, if you are deriding our cultures desire for “nice” or “extravagant” things, you are nonetheless indicting our culture in a way that is not winsome to your cause. “This isn’t really science’s realm, so you aren’t going to see much in that arena.” In saying this you concede that science isn’t at all settled on the question of whether we must “act and act now”, as this is not their realm. I think it is well withing the realm of science to predict the impact of various behaviors on global warming. If it cannot do so, and you may be correct that it cannot, then the question of scientific merit is thrown almost entirely out the window. We are back where we started, which is a question of how much we should sacrifice for a cause that may or may not have an impact. “Not so much–there are actually economic solutions that have been proposed, such as carbon trading, and taxing gas so that it reflects their true costs to our society (much as cigarette taxes are high to reflect the high cost of health care due to cigarette smoking).” Well, insofar as a tax constutes an economic solution, you are correct. However, people see taxes as regulation, and a most onerous regulation at that. Cigarette taxes continually pass because they are popular with a non-smoking majority. Gas taxes will be met with substantially more opposition. W/r/t carbon trading: If I am correct, this has been a non-starter in New Zealand, where they were depending on the mechanism to offset the enormous cost of compliance with the Kyoto Treaty. “This would spur innovation in the renewables market, jobs would be created, the economy would flourish.” Remember that our economy is comprised of businesses. Insofar as investment in renewables would cause business to thrive, businesses would be doing it. Creating artificial incentives for a certain industry to thrives has seldom yielded positive results. If it did, then government would do well to take over all industry. “Take the government protection away from fossil fuels and see what happens. ” Okay. Would you take away regulations and taxes as well? This is quite a different approach from the 500% increase in gas taxes proposed earlier. “As I recall–there was a lot done to protect against and prepare for Y2K.” Yes, but the doomsday prophets did nothing to solve the problem, which was my point. I’m discussing public perception here. If the government invest a few billion dollars in renewable energies, there isn’t going to be opposition. If people who buy a Prius get a tax break, people won’t have a problem. If the government spends money on research into the possible impact of various human interventions into the problem, people will gladly fund it. Try to ban trucks? Call for the demolition of eight bedroom mansions? Implement a 2% income tax? You’ll kill public interest in the issue.



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squeaky

posted March 4, 2007 at 7:29 pm


Deno Reno–umm have you actually read Origin of the Species? When you do, get back to me. By the way–evolution works, and is used to make valid predictions, scientifically. Ever get a flu shot? Courtesy of evolution. Yes, it is true, evolution has been USED for evil justifications of white supremacy. So has the Bible, and by your logic, that shouldn’t be trusted, either.



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squeaky

posted March 4, 2007 at 7:44 pm


“Your commentary can easily be interpreted as an indictment on American consumption.” Ding-ding-ding! That is exactly what I am doing! “The average American simply has a warm house for themselves and their family, and sees a car as a way of getting to work.” No–maybe this is true where you live, but the average American sees a car as a status symbol. If we all saw it as a way to get from point A to B in a way that meets our actual needs, you would see very few SUV’s, and NO hummers on the road. Who needs a monster truck to buy groceries, and yet most people who own them use if for that, and not for what they are designed for. Vehicles are status symbols. So our monster houses. “What you specifically decried is the insistence on a nice lifestyle with cheap energy. I guess what you meant depends on how you define “nice” and “cheap”. ” A nice lifestyle and a wasteful lifestyle are completely different. We are all wasteful–every time you leave a room without turning off the light, you are being wasteful and taking God’s resources for granted. Every time you throw an aluminum can in the garbage, you are taking God’s resources for granted. (we have all been guilty of this, so I am not pointing fingers). How is that Christlike? Please respond to that specific question. “But even if I interpret “nice” to mean “extravagant”, you must realize that most people yearn for what you might consider extravagance. And so, if you are deriding our cultures desire for “nice” or “extravagant” things, you are nonetheless indicting our culture in a way that is not winsome to your cause.” Nor is it winsome to point out our society’s moral problems with regards to sexual sins. Pointing out moral sin is never winsome, but does that mean we should avoid the issue? Why is the former OK to publicly decry while we should be quiet with respect to the latter? Don’t you think materialism is eroding our nation’s moral fabric?People yearn for extravagance–that has always been true, but is it right? Especially when it is wasteful? How is it moral? How is it Christlike?



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Don

posted March 4, 2007 at 7:52 pm


“Try asking the average American to pay $2,000 per year extra in taxes in an effort to get them to buy hybrid cars (at which point, they’ll still be paying more in taxes).” Squeaky–looks like Kevin hasn’t been reading what I have written very carefully either; or at least he reads it quite selectively. My guess is that as soon as he read ‘gasoline tax’ he quit reading further. Funny he latched onto the idea that what I wanted was to force people to buy hybrid cars. I don’t think I ever said that, but I thought instead I talked about things like carpooling, riding buses and trains, walking, and just being smarter about deciding when and where to drive. I also thought I was making the point that a gasoline tax would give the free market system (that Kevin so much believes in) a boost in terms of developing alternative energy sources. Funny that he doesn’t want to address these things. “If the government invest a few billion dollars in renewable energies, there isn’t going to be opposition.” But I thought I made the point that this kind of thing is precisely the kind of “liberal” solution that the laissez-faire types hate. Moreover, it tends to reward inefficiency. Why not instead make gasoline more expensive and then let the free market work at developing these alternative solutions on their own? “Try to ban trucks? Call for the demolition of eight bedroom mansions? Implement a 2% income tax? You’ll kill public interest in the issue.” Would someone please re-read what I have written and tell me where I said any of these things?? Did someone else here write and advocate doing any of these? The closest I have come to saying any of these three things was when I noted that the SUV craze probably wouldn’t have happened if Congress back in the 1970s had used a gasoline tax to encourage fuel conservation instead of the intrusive fuel-economy standard legislation they imposed on the auto industry–and that the automakers eventually figured a way of getting around. It would be hard to ban a class of vehicles if they had never been built in the first place.



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kevin s.

posted March 4, 2007 at 7:54 pm


Squeaky, You are confusing natural selection for evolution here.”You may be right that we have been skeptical but it would appear that we are not employing critical analysis.” I disagree here. The war discussion aside, plenty of ink has been devoted to the concept of global warming. Newspapers have editorial independence from their holding companies, and editorial coverage is more dependent on PR firms than anything. Either way, Americans are not simply going to embrace a doom and gloom scenario. The science is settled that the earth has warmed 1.2 degrees in the last century, and the human’s have contributed to this. There are a whole series of questions that we have to ask before we get to the point of “we need to enact x in order to achieve y”. Those questions have not been answered.If we act without answering those question, we get phony, special-interest based solutions (see: ethanol) that don’t address the problem, and benefit a select few at the expense of the majority.In the interim, since we can all agree that reversing global warming by some measure is a valuable goal, we can take a more measured approach. An end to subsidies is a meritorious idea. Awards and ironclad patents for environmental innovations is another. These advancements can be countered with an end to burdensome, unnecessary, and largely symbolic regulations (e.g. ANWR drilling, the prohibition of development on all “wetlands”). We need to take this discussiong out of the realm of “good vs. evil” (or green vs. not green)discourse, and start thinking pragmatically. Otherwise, this will be another passing fad, addressed with costume legislation that does nothing to address the real problem.



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phil

posted March 4, 2007 at 8:00 pm


I’m not sure if we can take the chance that global warming isn’t happening.



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kevin s.

posted March 4, 2007 at 8:09 pm


“Ding-ding-ding! That is exactly what I am doing! ” Then I didn’t misread you at all, and my point stands. “How is that Christlike? ” It is not. I didn’t say it was. Neither is it (usually) intentional. “People yearn for extravagance–that has always been true, but is it right? Especially when it is wasteful? How is it moral? How is it Christlike?” Some would consider Internet access to be extravagant, so extravagance is in the eye of the beholder. But the most glaring cases are the exception. Collectively, people simply want to provide for themselves and their family. Laws that interfere with this process will be met with opposition.”I also thought I was making the point that a gasoline tax would give the free market system (that Kevin so much believes in) a boost in terms of developing alternative energy sources. Funny that he doesn’t want to address these things.” What you are proposing is price-fixing, which has nothing to do with free markets. If you want a free market, why not allow the increasing cost of fuel to guide consumer decisions?Regardless of whether the solution you are seeking is carpooling or riding the bus, you are trying to force people’s hand through a government mechanism.Carpooling isn’t an option for most people. Riding the bus isn’t an option for most people. Forcing people to find a way to do these things is going to short-circuit the debate. “Would someone please re-read what I have written and tell me where I said any of these things??” Did I say you did? Are you the only member of the environmental movement? However, if you try to tax something into extinction, people can see through that. I don’t like SUVs. I won’t drive one. But I do enjoy living in a country where I have the opportunity.



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butch

posted March 4, 2007 at 8:12 pm


Butch, I was using irony and sarcasm. Borat |Sorry I missed it! among other things?



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Mark P

posted March 4, 2007 at 8:13 pm


Borat: Butch, he obviously has not read much history. -I think we have different ways of measuring evil and good, and I tend to believe in a Sovereign God Who is jealous of His Name.He inherited it from Bush senior who put troops there in the waning days of his presidency. -That would really bother me if I had any interest in defending the Republican Party (of which I am not a member). Unfortunately for your point, I don t, so I don t care if it was Bush, Clinton, or Norm Chow.Obviously they didn’t want us there. -But I feel certain that if we just give that square peg one more wack, it ll pop into that circle. The answer to violent resistance of American foreign aid is more of the same, yes? —– Squeaky: you would be living in the dark ages. -Well, maybe the 19th century, but not the Dark Ages. Christianity made it possible to move out of the Dark Ages by preserving the knowledge and literature of the ancient worlds even as the Roman Empire collapsed into chaos. Do not buy revisionism that blames the Dark Ages on the Church I would rather defend humanism over materialism any day, because Jesus valued all human life far more than he valued money, and your position defends materialism, in my estimation. -I d argue that Jesus was a humanist, but not a humanitarian ( secular humanist ), and I think Donny is attacking humanitarianism but calling it humanism.Jesus teaches me to care more about others than I care about myself -Actually, it s love your neighbor AS yourself, not more. This is important as I am indeed a Christian hedonist :)My Bible teaches me that the riches of this world will never give me satisfaction. -Amen, and I do think the beginning of James 5 directly attacks the avariciousness of American greed and Capitalism (as distinct from free market economics, which I strongly, strongly support). —- Kevin s: God created the Earth for us to use -I disagree, but in a sense I agree splanation: I think God created the earth ultimately for His glory and part of that is indeed to sustain, support, and grant pleasure to us as humans. But do notice that the first thing Adam seems purposed to do in the Garden is to work it and take care of it. I think we agree in seeing a reciprocal relationship. Adam works and takes care of the Garden (exercising dominion), while the Garden supports and nourishes him. I think we mostly agree, but I m not sure the earth was created for our behest entirely or even primarily, though maybe that s not what you mean. -The neat thing about our Sovereign God is that He doesn t really have priorities, because His will is more than grand enough to encapsulate all His priorities, so that when He creates the earth for His own glory, it s also for our own pleasure in His glory, which itself is for His own glory, which . —– Squeaky: This isn’t really science’s realm, so you aren’t going to see much in that arena. -And that s a problem because people who know what global warming is and is caused by are simply unqualified to even begin to understand how to end in a prudent, discerning way a way that won t destroy our nation or our world.Take the government protection away from fossil fuels and see what happens. Competition is a good thing in the business world. -I can agree here 100%. GK Chesterton, Russell Kirk, and co (the Southern Agrarians and English Distrubists) believes that much of the centralization of the market into dominant corporations occurred/occurs only because of government props and protection a collusion of business and government aimed at avarice that Karl Marx coined as Capitalism. Kirk and Chesterton advocated destroying such government protection, and I do as well. (I don t go as far as they did they were somewhere between average and Amish and the more fervent among them believed that ALL corporations were a result of government interference in the free market system, and I don t buy that). -I ll also argue, again, that excess cannot be fixed apart from recognizing that only Christian can fulfill whatever pleasure or desire you re trying to fill. —- phil: I’m not sure if we can take the chance that global warming isn’t happening. -Oh, okay, but surely nothing wrong will happen if we engage in hasty action?



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Mark P

posted March 4, 2007 at 8:15 pm


Correction to my post: “The neat thing about our Sovereign God is that He doesn t really have priorities” Should be “He doesn’t really have *competing* priorities”



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vynette

posted March 4, 2007 at 8:19 pm


Mark P “If it would be better if the impoverished and sick were never born in the first place, why don t we create squads to determine a person s social utility, and if they fall under a certain category, just kill them for the rest of us, yes?” You have set up a Nazi straw man to grossly mispresent me and undermine my argument. I can assure you that human life is sacred to me – far more sacred than it is to the Roman Curia. If the ‘sacredness’ of life were the reason for the Vatican’s policy, then it would at least be acceptable. But it’s not – it’s all about the numbers and about power over the ‘minds of men.’ To think otherwise is to display the multi-generational naivete that has kept humanity in ignorance of the Vatican’s relentless will to power for all these many centuries. I am not hijacking a thread here – I am responding to an implied slur upon my character.My argument cannot be tossed into the ‘Vatican-bashing’ basket simply because it is too difficult. We are required by our Creator to be responsible creatures. It is not responsible to bring a child into a world of certain ‘physical’ destitution simply because the Vatican wields a big ‘spiritual’ stick at you.



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Gary

posted March 4, 2007 at 8:21 pm


Squeaky said…. “Not so much–there are actually economic solutions that have been proposed, such as carbon trading, and taxing gas so that it reflects their true costs to our society (much as cigarette taxes are high to reflect the high cost of health care due to cigarette smoking). This would spur innovation in the renewables market, jobs would be created, the economy would flourish. Take the government protection away from fossil fuels and see what happens. Competition is a good thing in the business world.” You sound like someone who recognizes the power of the free market in helping to solve climate problems. I whole-heartedly agree. It was free-market capitalism that invented the internal combustion engine that lifted us out of disease and methane laden manure filled roads, and made it possible to feed a growing population. What a pathetic mess we’d all be in today if not for the power of a free market and the innovation it enables and rewards. This is why I cringe when guys like Wallis, who I perceive to be anything but friendly to capitalism, start jumping on the global warming scare campaign. I suspect his motives for doing so are rooted not so much in fear of rising seas, but in that it’s a perfect opportunity to bash what he seems to hate so much — capitalism and the religious right. I think that the last thing we want to do is demonize that which has actually made conditions cleaner, and improved quality of life wherever it’s allowed to flourish. Capitalism will come up with whatever solutions are necessary to end or reduce the need to burn carbon fuels.I think Guys like Wallis, and his “cohorts” on the religious left, are using the issue of global warming to distract from things that they really should be focusing on as religious leaders. Things that for some reason they don’t seem to be comfortable or satisfied with doing.



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butch

posted March 4, 2007 at 8:23 pm


“What you are proposing is price-fixing, which has nothing to do with free markets. If you want a free market, why not allow the increasing cost of fuel to guide consumer decisions?” We have subsidized pricing now for oil interest at the expense of the general population. If oil doesn t rise at the inflation rate then something is wrong, that is not market influences, of course it is special interest lobbying for big oil.



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butch

posted March 4, 2007 at 8:35 pm


I’m not sure if we can take the chance that global warming isn’t happening. -Oh, okay, but surely nothing wrong will happen if we engage in hasty action? Mark PTake one piece and reduce emmissions and nothing will happen that is a problem then do it again.



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Jim M

posted March 4, 2007 at 8:38 pm


Gary: I think Guys like Wallis, and his “cohorts” on the religious left, are using the issue of global warming to distract from things that they really should be focusing on as religious leaders.Gary, I guess it depends on what you see the role of faith as being. If it is just personal salvation and piety, then what you are saying is valid. Many people, myself included, believe that Christ should affect both the every day aspects of our lives and our political culture as well. I think that it is unfortunate that you accuse Jim Wallis of bashing the religious right. I sometimes marvel at the restraint he exercises in speaking about the religious right. It has been very upsetting to hear some members of the religious right calling for the assassination of the leaders of countries (like Robertson did in the case of Chavez of Venezuela). Many of these religious right leaders by confining themselves to personal morality questions play into the hands of vested interests who want things to continue as they are- a very political act if you believe that they way we are doing things contributes to global warming.



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squeaky

posted March 4, 2007 at 8:39 pm


Gary– “I think that the last thing we want to do is demonize that which has actually made conditions cleaner, and improved quality of life wherever it’s allowed to flourish. Capitalism will come up with whatever solutions are necessary to end or reduce the need to burn carbon fuels. ” Certainly, oil is cleaner than past energies we have used, but Earth’s population was a lot smaller then too, and now we are seeing the cumulative effects of unregulated use of these energy sources. We need to find a new source of energy, not only because of global climate change, but for many other reasons I have put forth earlier. Butch’s point is a good one to address your point here: “Capitalism will come up with whatever solutions are necessary to end or reduce the need to burn carbon fuels. ” The market strongly favors carbon based fuels because it has been artificially manipulated in order to do so.



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Bleebo

posted March 4, 2007 at 8:43 pm


Kevin – I appreciate your pragmatism, insomuch as once one enters from the prophetic to public policy, that must then be one of our considerations. However, I go with Squeaky and others with their indictment of our consuming culture. Kevin, you seem to paint our culture as just scraping by, as though most folks can’t afford new cars and are “just keeping warm and fed.” Truth is, we consume the lion’s share of the world’s resources… an immoral proportion of them. Indeed, most of us (maybe all of us) are doing much more than getting by when we look at the world’s people, half of whom live on a dollar a day. It becomes harder to justify when we put it in proper context. If all people on earth consumed like we do, it wouldn’t be sustainable for very long at all. What is missing here is talk of relationships and connectedness. (Wendell Berry is great on this stuff.) We don’t know about our food, our products, or our energy sources. We don’t know how simple acts of consumption connect us to a worldwide web of people and companies, but truth be told, we like it that way. Just let us buy and eat and consume what we want and how much we want, and maybe the most conscientious of us will cut a few corners (recycle, turn off lights we don’t use, shop local, etc.). But I’m afraid such small measures might not make a difference in the long run without institutional and governmental commitments above what we are now willing to make. But unfortunately, we prefer ignorance in these matters, and we are adept at justifying our actions in the name of American values, hard work, and rugged individualism. A more robust understanding of our connectedness to others and to the earth might help us be a bit more thoughtful in our use, and God forbid that we even need to introduce RESTRAINT into our lives, our churches, and our public policy. Sometimes we have to make decisions that don’t value the things the market does. And just because something is possible or dictated by the market or even condoned by public opinion, doesn’t make it Good. Christians, of all people, should think in counter-cultural and sustainable ways. It is time for the death of “dominion theology” that says we can indiscriminately use whatever it in front of us with no social or moral repercussions.



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Jim M

posted March 4, 2007 at 8:52 pm


Bleebo: “A more robust understanding of our connectedness to others and to the earth might help us be a bit more thoughtful in our use, and God forbid that we even need to introduce RESTRAINT into our lives, our churches, and our public policy.” Watch out man, they’re going to label you a humanist communist notwithstanding the fact that what you say is true! How dare you even insinuate an attack on the god of capitalism!



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squeaky

posted March 4, 2007 at 8:54 pm


AMEN, Bleebo! Preach it!



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Bleebo

posted March 4, 2007 at 8:57 pm


Thanks for the props, folks! And as to this stuff about the Religious Right, I think it’s funny to accuse Wallis of using this as a scare tactic, when the origin of this blog is a letter FROM Dobson TO the NAE calling for Cizik’s job. It is the Religious Right who is running scared, calling for Cizik’s job and linking concern for global warming to support of abortion, condom distribution, and infanticide. Who’s using scare tactics? Wallis is simply acknowledging a concern that most folks acknowledge, religious leaders included. Why have conservative Christians historically been the most backwards when it comes to this stuff? Why the incredulity? What do we have to lose here? Let’s wait 2 more centuries to call the earth round or admit it’s a heliocentric universe. Thank goodness for Christians who don’t mind leading the way instead of preferring to bring up the rear.



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butch

posted March 4, 2007 at 9:00 pm


“Free Markets”, “Gay Marriage”, “Family Values”, “Big Government”, “Lower Taxes”, “Death Tax” all buzz words used to control us and interrupt thinking. Utter any of those phrases and you can wind a Republi-Nazi tighter than a cheap clock. Have you noticed that they all sound like Limbaugh (sp) even in print. Notice how sanctimonious they are, voice raises an octave if truth were known their butt hole is drawn so tight they couldn’t toot if they tried.



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squeaky

posted March 4, 2007 at 9:14 pm


“linking concern for global warming to support of abortion, condom distribution, and infanticide. Who’s using scare tactics?” Yeah–you’r right, Bleebo–where is the causal connections between those things and global warming? It’s an absurd argument!



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Gary

posted March 4, 2007 at 9:24 pm


“Wallis is simply acknowledging a concern that most folks acknowledge, religious leaders included.” No, Wallis is doing the exact same thing he accuses his opponents on the right of doing. He’s using religion to advance a political agenda. Global warming is just the latest tool that he’s gladly appropriated from the largely irreligious scientific community. But as I see it, the folks on the right are not so much trying to advance an agenda, they’re simply pushing back, and reacting to their values being besmirched over a period of decades. Wallis on the other hand has a history of being a leftist activist, who sought to provide aid and comfort to completely irreligious communist aggressors abroad and just to the south of us. He seems to me to be genetically anti-freedom, which is the exact opposite kind of society and economy that is needed to realistically deal with whatever danger global warming really does present.



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Donny (a nickname)

posted March 4, 2007 at 9:29 pm


Bleebo, Christians used to not be Christians. We know that agreeing with the kinds of people taht are Liberals and Progressives make them feel like we are validating everything they peddle. It’s like agreeing that a pimp can be of help to the poor with donations to the poor. The pimp feels like we are validating prostituting women. Wallis is a shill for Leftie commies. And godless leftie commies at that.



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Mark P

posted March 4, 2007 at 9:35 pm


Vynette: My argument cannot be tossed into the ‘Vatican-bashing’ basket simply because it is too difficult. -Don t flatter your argument. It s tossed into that basket because it s just too silly. Why don t you read something John Paul II or Benedict have written on the topic? Or Mother Theresa? You are the blindly obstinate by deciding it has to do with power. Have a conservation with an intelligent and committed Catholic and see what birth control is really about.It is not responsible to bring a child into a world of certain ‘physical’ destitution simply because the Vatican wields a big ‘spiritual’ stick at you. -So it s more responsible to NOT bring children into the world. From a Biblical standpoint, that s ridiculous, but perhaps that s not your standpoint (not slandering you; I just don t know). —- Squeaky: The market strongly favors carbon based fuels because it has been artificially manipulated in order to do so. -So instead of piling manipulation on top of manipulation, why don t we remove the manipulation and see what happens? (although maybe that s exactly what you are suggesting? :) ) —- Bleebo: It becomes harder to justify -I am not supporting American materialism; I hope that s clear. However, I do think that much of the ire directed towards the American standard of living has to do with the flawed economic idea that we are only rich because we ve sucked the rest of the world dry. It doesn t work like that; America has become rich by creating new wealth, not stealing a lion share of the existing wealth.If all people on earth consumed like we do, it wouldn’t be sustainable for very long at all. -That depends on what consumption you re talking about; if oil, we d find a new source (perhaps renewable) of energy if we began to run out of money. We re already doing so in limited fashion. -Again, try to avoid the fallacious view of economics as a stagnant amount of wealth to be distributed this will prevent you from thinking that the poor must be poor because the rich are rich. Again, I m not supporting excess at all, and I think avaricious Capitalism destroys the Church, but remember that the West created new wealth far more than it stole wealth (which is not to say it never stole) —- Jim M: they’re -Who are they, Jim? -Just curious, because I think I ve emphasized the wickedness of excess myself so I would exclude myself from the charge except that I believe that the ONLY true answer to man s voracious appetite for MORE lies at the foot of the Cross. Every other answer will merely address symptoms; without addressing the disease, new symptoms will pop up.



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Mark P

posted March 4, 2007 at 9:36 pm


Correction (again, sorry): “Have a conservation with” should be “have a conversation” :)



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squeaky

posted March 4, 2007 at 9:42 pm


Donny: “We know that agreeing with the kinds of people taht are Liberals and Progressives make them feel like we are validating everything they peddle.” We KNOW this? So if I agree that abortion is a sin, that means I must agree with everything the conservative right says? If you agree with someone on one issue, does that mean you agree with them about everything? I used to see things in black and white, too. Life indeed was much simpler then. But I will never go back to that simplistic thought process. By the way, why do you refuse to answer any questions that are directed towards you?



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Appleman

posted March 4, 2007 at 9:45 pm


Dobson and his ilk are against actions to slow global warming.This is not because they don’t believe in global warming, in fact they believe it with every fiber of their being. It is their hope that this is God’s way of bringing the “End Times” to the planet earth, and they don’t want to stand in the way. They look forward to the End Times.



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Don

posted March 4, 2007 at 9:50 pm


Kevin: “What you are proposing is price-fixing, which has nothing to do with free markets. If you want a free market, why not allow the increasing cost of fuel to guide consumer decisions?” I don’t think it’s price fixing; as Squeaky said the price hasn’t kept up with inflation. We should be paying about $3.50 a gallon right now, if the price had merely kept up with inflation over the last 25 years. And let’s never forget that simply letting the market as it currently operates guide consumer decisions puts an awful lot of wealth in the hands of the Middle East autocrats that they then use to incite hatred of the West among their populations (in part to take their attention away from the fact that they are being oppressed). And sure, if we don’t buy oil from the Saudis the French or the Indians or the Chinese will. But if we don’t buy from the Saudis, we jut might be able to put a lot of diplomatic pressure on them to stop promoting hatred. Part of the reason for a gasoline tax would be to keep more of our money here at home instead of sending it to these oppressive governments. And more people could carpool than you think. More people don’t because they’re lazy, but if we give them the incentives to do it, they might. ——————– vynette: “I can assure you that human life is sacred to me – far more sacred than it is to the Roman Curia. If the ‘sacredness’ of life were the reason for the Vatican’s policy, then it would at least be acceptable. But it’s not – it’s all about the numbers and about power over the ‘minds of men.’ To think otherwise is to display the multi-generational naivete that has kept humanity in ignorance of the Vatican’s relentless will to power for all these many centuries. My argument cannot be tossed into the ‘Vatican-bashing’ basket simply because it is too difficult. We are required by our Creator to be responsible creatures. It is not responsible to bring a child into a world of certain ‘physical’ destitution simply because the Vatican wields a big ‘spiritual’ stick at you.” Please tell me if I misrepresent any of your points, vynette. According to what I read, you are telling us: 1. The Vatican’s talk about the sacredness of life is a ruse; 2. The Vatican is merely power-hungry and use issues like sanctity of life to consolidate their power and to keep the rest of us ignorant of this relentless power grab on their part; 3. People in impoverished places have children because of unspecified Vatican threats against them. Sorry, vynette. This sounds even more clearly like Vatican-bashing than your earlier post did. I disagree with the Roman Catholic church on a number of things. But I will defend them vigorously against this kind of conspiracy theory talk. I suggest you read some of Pope Benedict’s writings. You might be surprised at how Christian his thinking really is. Now I gotta sign off this thread; I have essays to grade. End of quarter, you know. Thanks for listening,



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butch

posted March 4, 2007 at 9:56 pm


They look forward to the End Times. Appleman | 03.04.07 – 4:50 pm | #How could it be more arrogant to think you know when the end times are near. Something about who is God and who isn’t, maybe a commmandant or something?



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kevin s.

posted March 4, 2007 at 10:05 pm


“when the origin of this blog is a letter FROM Dobson TO the NAE calling for Cizik’s job. It is the Religious Right who is running scared, calling for Cizik’s job ” There is no call for Cizik’s job in this letter.



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kevin s.

posted March 4, 2007 at 10:24 pm


“I don’t think it’s price fixing; as Squeaky said the price hasn’t kept up with inflation. We should be paying about $3.50 a gallon right now, if the price had merely kept up with inflation over the last 25 years.” This is not entirely attributable to governmental subsidy. The act of setting prices (either by fiat, or through taxation) constitutes price-fixing, which is usually a way to enforce a certain behavior. We don’t add taxes to other commodities simply to ensure that they keep up with inflation. “And sure, if we don’t buy oil from the Saudis the French or the Indians or the Chinese will. But if we don’t buy from the Saudis, we jut might be able to put a lot of diplomatic pressure on them to stop promoting hatred.” In your first statement, you profer a compelling reason why your second statement isn’t true here. You are correct that the French and Chinese will continue to purchase the oil, and so the diplomatic pressure will be voided. France and China have already actively thwarted our efforts to apply diplomatic pressure to a positive end in other scenarios. “And more people could carpool than you think. More people don’t because they’re lazy, but if we give them the incentives to do it, they might.” I am wary of governmental policy that begins with the idea that Americans are lazy, and therefore government must intervene. Americans are pragmatic. If carpooling means a 20 minute commute turns into a one hour commute, then I wouldn’t expect Americans to embrace the concept. I hate (sub)(ex)urban sprawl as much as the next person. As someone who owns two rental properties within 7 miles of the city center, and a primary residence near downtown, I would love for government to enact policy that will benefit my interests. The question is whether a benefit my interests and preferences should be enshrined into law. I would argue that it shouldn’t.



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kevin s.

posted March 4, 2007 at 10:27 pm


“It is their hope that this is God’s way of bringing the “End Times” to the planet earth, and they don’t want to stand in the way. They look forward to the End Times.” Um, that would be convenient for your viewpoint, but no this isn’t true.



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butch

posted March 4, 2007 at 10:49 pm


Um, that would be convenient for your viewpoint, but no this isn’t true. kevin s. Kevin has SPOKEN!



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Don

posted March 4, 2007 at 11:15 pm


I said I wasn’t going to post any more, but I had to say one more thing. Kevin wrote: “There is no call for Cizik’s job in this letter.” From Dr. Dobson et al’s letter to the National Evengelical Assn: “If [Mr. Cizik] cannot be trusted to articulate the views of American evangelicals on environmental issues, then we respectfully suggest that he be encouraged to resign his position with the NAE.” Peace,



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kevin s.

posted March 4, 2007 at 11:35 pm


Don, That isn’t a call for his job, it is a call for him to articulate the views of American evangelicals.



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Jim M

posted March 4, 2007 at 11:42 pm


Kevin, as I was posting my last comment, you were already crafting the response I knew you would have! Thank you, Kevin, for showing how wrong Don was and how right you were. Truly an enlightening glimpse into your argument style- deny being wrong even in the face of clear evidence to the contrary.



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Mark P

posted March 4, 2007 at 11:53 pm


Appleman: “It is their hope that this is God’s way of bringing the ‘End Times’ to the planet earth, and they don’t want to stand in the way. They look forward to the End Times.” -Really?!?!? Oh wow! I can’t believe I never knew this. Please do show documentation to back up your claim, since, you know, it would seem ridiculous at first glance. — Butch: “How could it be more arrogant to think you know when the end times are near.” -Indeed, and once Appleman provides documentation to back up his claim that they refuse to stand up against Global Warming simply because they hope it will usher in the End Times, I’ll jump on the bandwagon. -Your attacks on kevin s are starting to mirror Timbuktoo, which is to say that they add nothing of merit to the discussion and are starting to mirror trollish behavior. — Kevin, it’s pretty much a call for his job. I will grant you that it’s not an authoritative demand that he be fired, and it does suggest that if he were to “better” (in Dobson etc mind, at least) represent evangelicals, his job could be held. So I can see where you’re coming from, but it *is* basically saying that if he sticks with his position he should quit… and that’s pretty close to being a call for his job.



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NightLad

posted March 5, 2007 at 12:24 am


Anybody who refuses to acknowledge the existence of Global Warming should visit Greenland… while it is still there.



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butch

posted March 5, 2007 at 12:30 am


Mark, I missed the “better” part and when one knows Dobson’s etc mind then it is clear that it *is* he should quit if and only if???? so it is pretty close or close enough or close enough to the truth to post on the internet where truth is sometimes used *loosely*. So in the end Kevin *is* right as opposed to wrong though untruthful which is a nicer word than liar. I am trying to become kinder and gentler. I’m sorry Kevin, since truth is not a prerequisite Playing fast and loose with the truth is sort of fun when one gets the hang of it.



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Don

posted March 5, 2007 at 12:42 am


Gosh, you folks sound like a bunch of deconstructionist English professors! So when does a text mean what it says, and when should we think that it might mean something else? I suppose we need to consider the socio-economic factors involved here; maybe Dr. Dobson, or whoever wrote this letter on his behalf, was under some kind of emotional or economic constraint. Maybe his wife yelled at him just before he started writing. Maybe if we look closer at the choice of words, the greater context, and the influence of patriarchal milieu in which it was conceived … Well I’ll be. The letter is stating, pretty clearly, I might add, that if Mr. Cizik doesn’t change his ways and begin limiting his public communications to Dobson et al’s views of what an evangelical leader should be talking about, then he should resign his position. No matter how once deconstructs this text, it sounds like a call for his job to me. I might add “veiled threat” to that as well. Peace!



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Mark P

posted March 5, 2007 at 12:51 am


butch: “when one knows Dobson’s etc mind” -…..God? ;) —- Don: “The letter is stating, pretty clearly, I might add, that if Mr. Cizik doesn’t change his ways and begin limiting his public communications to Dobson et al’s views of what an evangelical leader should be talking about, then he should resign his position.” -Pretty much agreed. Like I said, it was pretty much a call for his job… not quite “FIRE HIM NOW” but a nice sort of “if he doesn’t change, FIRE HIM” type of thing.



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Marc Gunther

posted March 5, 2007 at 12:51 am


Rich Cizik is not backing down. I had dinner with him on Saturday night, and he seemed more than ready to push back against Dobson & Co. I blogged about our conversation at http://www.marcgunther.com. I think we need more Rich Ciziks in the evangelical movement. He’s got guts.



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Ron Parker

posted March 5, 2007 at 12:56 am


like this is a big surprise? i’ve always found that with this particular sect of Christianity, that everything is disposable, people included. why have a differing opinion about the Earth?



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Appleman

posted March 5, 2007 at 12:59 am


“My responsibility is to follow the Scriptures which call upon us to occupy the land until Jesus returns.” — James G. Watt, The Washington Post, May 24, 1981 “We will mine more, drill more, cut more timber.” “That is the delicate balance the Secretary of the Interior must have: to be steward for the natural resources for this generation as well as future generations. I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns; whatever it is we have to manage with a skill to leave the resources needed for future generations.” — James G. Watt, testimony before the House Interior Committee, February 1981



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Timbuktoo

posted March 5, 2007 at 1:00 am


Mark: “-Your attacks on kevin s are starting to mirror Timbuktoo, which is to say that they add nothing of merit to the discussion and are starting to mirror trollish behavior.” I will gladly accept the title of Troll, Mark, if Kevin will be called one by you. You can see the BS way he argues but that is okay, right? Probably because you pretty much agree with his ideology.



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Charles DeGaulle

posted March 5, 2007 at 1:14 am


Don: “Well I’ll be. The letter is stating, pretty clearly, I might add, that if Mr. Cizik doesn’t change his ways and begin limiting his public communications to Dobson et al’s views of what an evangelical leader should be talking about, then he should resign his position.” Don, quit trying to interpret the plain meaning of the letter when you have enlightened Kevin to tell you what it really means.



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Bush W. George

posted March 5, 2007 at 1:16 am


Butch: So in the end Kevin *is* right as opposed to wrong though untruthful which is a nicer word than liar. I am trying to become kinder and gentler. Finally you seize the nuances of Kevin’s creative genius!



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Timbuktoo

posted March 5, 2007 at 1:34 am


Butch. Thank you for the encouraging words. I really enjoy your posts as well as Don’s.



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Timbuktoo

posted March 5, 2007 at 2:32 am


Butch, I guess I’m getting too old and cynical. Honestly, I don’t mind people having a different opinion. What I do mind is that if they perceive the slightest error in your reasoning, they pounce on you. Yet when they make gaping mistakes, well it’s okay. Never an I’m wrong or apology. That’s why I got such a kick out of Kevin S, earlier. I knew he was going to come up with some BS rationalization rather than just say that he made an error. Then they attack Wallis, McLaren and anybody else who doesn’t fit their ideology but whatever Robertson, Falwell or Dobson say is quite alright no matter how idiotic it is. You posted earlier that more harm than good has been done in the name of Jesus. I don’t know if that is true or not. But if wearing the label of Christian means being like Falwell and company, then I prefer to not bear that label. Keep up the good fight, Butch. If Mark P or Kevin S label you or me as a troll wear the badge with honor, considering the source it comes from. If your labeled a troll by a Republi-Nazi it should be a real badge of honor.



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butch

posted March 5, 2007 at 2:50 am


Tim, there are some here, Mike Hayes for one, who are looking for answers to some of these questions. If you like, make an effort to engage these issues. Mike if you’re here email me I have an idea.



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kevin s.

posted March 5, 2007 at 2:55 am


If the letter were a call for his job, then the focus of the letter should be on the fact that he is not qualified for his job, in my view. I certainly don’t see it as a veiled threat, as I am not sure exactly sure what Dobson and co, could threaten the NAE with. I don’t see where this is worth 25 posts, but it seems to keep you folks entertained.



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butch

posted March 5, 2007 at 3:15 am


I don’t see where this is worth 25 posts, but it seems to keep you folks entertained. kevin s. | Homepage | 03.04.07 – 10:00 pm | #Great job your lie kept us off topic for a couple of days. I ve never doubted your ability; I noted that when someone came to your defense you got out of the way. Then when it s over you come to gloat, really sick but skilled. I’m a fool but I can learn. You won a battle but not the war.



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Deno Reno

posted March 5, 2007 at 3:56 am


A U.N. report last month from hundreds of scientists and govt. officials said global warming is “very likely” caused by mankind…its also more than very likely the earth will be struck by a comet or asteroid, during the same period of time spelled out by you Chicken littles. But more than likely Nuclear war will have long since destroyed our puny civilization.Revelation 8:11/2 Peter 3:10 Does that give you warm and fuzzy feelings? p.s. I voted for Al gore in 2000, but don’t go along with his Inconvient Un-Truth . of course as Squeaky & Butch have mentioned I’m no SCIENTIST like they are?



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butch

posted March 5, 2007 at 4:13 am


of course as Squeaky & Butch have mentioned I’m no SCIENTIST like they are? Deno RenoNor am I a scientist but I do want to know what scientific background people have who have opinions about this issue.



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Joseph T

posted March 5, 2007 at 5:57 am


First of all, taxing gas is far cheaper than paying for it with blood, torture and growing anti-Americanism as we seek dominance over the remaining finite oil supply. The cynicism of Dick Cheney knows no bounds in pursuit of this dominance. He is now funneling money to wahabbi Sunnis in Lebanon.The sects that produced the 9-11 attacks. Democracy? Don’t make us laugh. Where is the democracy in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, or our other Middle Eastern “allies”. Where is the democracy in clusterbombs and Depleted Uranium munitions? Our addictions are turning us into terrorists who rule the planet through airborne violence with our air force, our missiles and our carbon. We can do better and if we do, we will be far happier than a drive to the mall ever made anyone. Mark P asked So anybody have any peer-reviewed scientific research on good solutions to the climate change problem? and the total implications of enlarging federal power (the power wielded by y all s arch-enemy, Bush) in order to play Russian roulette with the market in the hope that government mandates will fix global warming? Mark PSustainable earth based technology: Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Eco-conscious hydro, tidal, sweat,trees, hydrogen, efficiency, animal husbandry, more sweat, singing, efficiency, cycling, recycling, wind powered ships, efficient trains, biodiesel, talking it over, listening, etc. Such technologies are not a program for centralized government power . They are a tools toward localism, a world wide middle class, creativity and grass roots democracy. They can work easily with the advantages of competitive capitalism, while minimizing its negative environmental and social impact. I am not a utopian, people have formed into reasonably happy non-aggressive communities all over the world at different times and locations. They did it without any need for fossil fuel technology. The Prophets saw a time when the earth was full of the knowledge of God and people turned their weapons into garden tools. Let’s. The idea that Jesus is going to come out of the sky to save all the self proclaimed Christians who adamantly support a selfish warlike empire is just plain nuts. How could these people possibly be of any use in the maintenance of Paradise. We need to learn to Garden. To make our own entertainment, to make friends.Suburbia is not heaven; TV land is not heaven, Its built on lies, theft and slavery and it’s costing us our souls.



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Dave B

posted March 5, 2007 at 6:03 am


The problem I have with this document that James Dobson, et. al signed is that it fails to mention the thousands of Christians that go to college and give up their faith because they see a Christianity that does not care about the environment, does not care for the poor, would rather use bombs than diplomacy, etc. …that is the problem. To evangelize and ignore these issues will lead to a mass youth movement leaving the church or finding one that deals with environmental issues as part of the call of God to be good stewards.



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Mike Hayes

posted March 5, 2007 at 6:04 am


butch, I heard Jim Wallis provide a keynote address today at Anaheim, at a national conference of catholic religious education personnel. In my view, Jim said that the religious right is no longer relevant… Jim also said that he is hoping for a new religious revival, to focus on the broad message of christianity… especially poverty assistance. A black theologian from Marquette university said the same thing, in different way.He spoke about the relationship of Jesus to “swine herders, prostitutes, tax collectors, and sinners”. He said that students were astonished that this perspective on scripture had not been presented to them, previously. In my view, they each were saying that the focus of religion has been misplaced… May the new revival come, soon… In my view…



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Mike Hayes

posted March 5, 2007 at 6:25 am


Most of us operate on a budget (I hope)… My wild guess is that at least 75% of our budgets for charity are destined for churches (synagoges, mosques, temples, etc.). … and 75% of what goes to churches goes to buildings… used one day a week… in most instances… If we could redesignate 50% of the amounts we presently contribute to churches, to instead go to “The End of Poverty” and assist homeless persons in the US, maybe that would accomplish the objective. Maybe then the energy presently invested in persuading congress to address poverty would no longer be necessary… Then we could focus on other issues… Maybe… In my view…



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Mark Brown, MD

posted March 5, 2007 at 10:30 am


Since several folks who commented on my contribution yesterday seemed baffled by one of my points, I wanted to provide a reference to the point I made about what some portions of conservative evangelicals believe about the environment. This is from an article in the Washington Post, Feb 7, 2005: “The Greening of Evangelicals” ___________________________ Even for green activists within the evangelical movement, there are landmines. One faction in the movement, called dispensationalism, argues that the return of Jesus and the end of the world are near, so it is pointless to fret about environmental degradation. James G. Watt, President Ronald Reagan’s first interior secretary, famously made this argument before Congress in 1981, saying: “God gave us these things to use. After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back.” The enduring appeal of End Time musings among evangelicals is reflected in the phenomenal success of the Left Behind series of apocalyptic potboilers, which have sold more than 60 million copies and are the best-selling novels in the country. Haggard, the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals, concedes that this thinking “is a problem that I do have to address regularly in talking to the common man on the street.”____________________________ Of course this article came out before Rev. Haggard was discovered to have sexuality conflicts, which doesn’t change the issue of evangelical thinking on the environment. My point was you need to understand some of the deep rooted spiritual beliefs of people you want to try to negotiate with to better the world. Just like the fact many evangelicals support Israel unconditionally in Middle East politics because they believe Israel must be a nation as Armaggeddon approaches to fulfill the scriptural picture of the Book of Revelation. If you don’t understand that and bypass a very important spiritual believe these folks have as you try to get a better understanding of the incredibly unfair treatment many Palestinians receive at the hands of Israel, you will get nowhere!! After all what makes Jim Wallis and Sojourners important is the importance he places on working together to fulfill our Christian role as peacemakers, etc. To work to gether you have to undrstand the people you are trying to work with. My other points were criticized in some good/appropriate ways. Partly because I wrote a general statement, I made some vague and general statements that some thoughtfully criticized. So in the future I will try to be more specific. Many of my economic views of the advantages to Amwerica and eventually all of the world that would arise from a true national effort to fight Global Warming came from Tom Friedman’s book “The World is Flat”. I do need to clarify obviously the first step re: global warming would be for the USA to become more green and more energy independent which of course would allow us to have a more true and pure role in the middle east by no longer supporting corrupt governments who literally breed terrorists by their repression(and our support due to the need for their oil.) That green technology and the windfall of good middle class jobs it would create would greatly benefit the USA’s struggling middle class. I would only support a program designed to goverment incentives to help the private sector achieve the long term goals. I share the concern of several writers about the often wasteful bloated inefficiencies that a pure governmental program would cause. **But to use this excuse to do nothing or to use the woefully outdated and virtually nonsupportable position that global warming is still scientifically debatable to do nothing as some of my critics did is nothing short of sinful.** Again as Jim has said, criticism is good, but a plan is better!As far as lifting up the world’s poor as a benefit of such a plan, obviously again I was generalizing and deserved some criticism. Specifically, the USA leading the world in green technology and reducing the threat of global warming would again work in the manner described in Mr.Friedman’s book. We would have the technology that other countries need and as they use that technology to further their course in this flat world, millions of their poorest would get entry level positions(for example making parts for the giant solar panels in New Mexico that supply most of the energy west of the Mississippi!….I’m dreaming but shuldn’t we all dream a little?) Then eventually others in their country would start working building their own mega panels using our technology etc. What a green program would do would put the USA in a positon all economists agree is a good one. We would have all the secrets to solve the one problem that could destroy the world. Now that is really a “killer app.” As far a foreign policy goes, again if we are no longer dependent on foreign oil, we can truly base our policy on an economy that could help many of the world’s poorer countries. Probaly the most effective weapon to create more democratic societies is the flattening of the world. If a country developes a market based economy that becomes part of the world economy, repression will have to diminish. Just look at Communist china now compared to Mao’s cultural reveolution. I know it its not perfect but the average Chinese has a better life and more freedom now. I think ultimately we will have a better role in the world if the first American people see is one who is trying to make life better for the USA and their country rather than a 19 year old with an M-16 making sure we continue to get their oil. **Of course behing any true conversion of national foreign policy is the conversion of every American to a more Christian view of the world ie, “love your neighbor as yourself.”** As long as deep in our hearts we believe we deserve 35% of the world’s resources, neither Jim Wallis or Scripture will be able to help us. As Jim mentioned in an earlier book, we first need to have a true conversion, where God’s love is burnt into our hearts, where we truly see the 10,000 children who die a day as important as our children. Mark



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Timbuktoo

posted March 5, 2007 at 11:03 am


Mark P and Kevin S: No further response is necessary from me. No dialog is possible nor was it ever offered.I will continue to post as I see fit but write what you want. You no longer exist for me.



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butch

posted March 5, 2007 at 1:50 pm


“global warming would be for the USA to become more green and more energy independent” Energy independent is not important, energy efficient is the thing. Raising grain to feed cattle to produce meat to feed people is very inefficent for example.



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butch

posted March 5, 2007 at 2:07 pm


“wasteful bloated inefficiencies that a pure governmental program would cause wasteful bloated inefficiencies that a pure governmental program would cause” I once held this view so I made it a little personal project to engage every government employee I met about his work. I came away believing they are as efficient as the large corporations where I worked in management. Now, this doesn’t qualify as a peer reviewed study. Years ago at Anaconda Aluminum (now gone) in quality control I found great pointless waste. When I pointed it out to upper management they were unconcerned because they were making money the way they were doing it. One economic principle “waste can never ever ever EVER can be recovered”.



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted March 5, 2007 at 3:28 pm


Gary, “So the smarter scientists get, the more they believe in global warming, and the less they believe in God. Does that not bother anyone?” Why would it bother me if a scientist gets smarter? And why should I be concerned in the least about someone ELSE’s personal relationship (or lack thereof) with a deity? Frankly, it’s none of my business.



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted March 5, 2007 at 3:33 pm


“Humansism sells” Yeah, like the “Left Behind” series DOESN’T ‘sell’??? You too funnnneeeee.



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Wolverine

posted March 5, 2007 at 3:40 pm


Butch wrote: One economic principle “waste can never ever ever EVER can be recovered”. Never, ever, ever EVER? Every day people go through junk yards for spare parts to repair their own cars. Some hobbyists rebuild those cars and get them into good working condition. Every day sewage (aka “waste water” is treated and returned to the environment. We’ve gotten pretty good at it. Every day compost (waste plant matter) is turned into fertilizer. Heck, about a month ago Sojourners ran an article on “Dumpster Divers” who live on what they find in grocery store garbage bins. A lot of things that are wasted are lost forever. But a lot of things that are considered “waste” are in fact recovered and used, and a lot of this is quite independent of government recycling mandates. A principle of common sense: be careful about that word “never”. Wolverine



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butch

posted March 5, 2007 at 3:56 pm


“Every day people go through junk yards for spare parts to repair their own cars. Some hobbyists rebuild those cars and get them into good working condition.” The car didn’t have to be broke and if it had common parts all good parts could be used, efficiency! “Every day sewage (aka “waste water” is treated and returned to the environment. We’ve gotten pretty good at it.” Every drop greater than need is a waste and the expense of producing that waste however small cannot be recovered. “Every day compost (waste plant matter) is turned into fertilizer.” I owned a recycling business and it is a good thing, the best place though is in the yard where the waste was generated instead of hauling it to my place composting and hauling it back. Minor point fertilizer is not produced, compost is and it is a good thing but not fert. “A lot of things that are wasted are lost forever. But a lot of things that are considered “waste” are in fact recovered and used, and a lot of this is quite independent of government recycling mandates.” The recovery is an expense; if the item was produced more efficiently to begin with it may not go through an expensive recycling process. Or use plastic when paper would work, plastic can be recycled but paper is easier and cheaper and doesn’t use a limited resource like oil to produce the plastic. “A principle of common sense: be careful about that word “never”. The common sense isn’t in fact common sense or if it is a lot of common people don’t know all they might. Wolv, this is a hard principle to get your mind around but it is so.



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butch

posted March 5, 2007 at 4:03 pm


Imagine the conversation The Creator might have had with St. Francis on the subject of lawns: GOD: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honeybees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these green rectangles. ST. FRANCIS: It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers “weeds” and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass. GOD: Grass? But it’s so boring. It’s not colorful. It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It’s temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there? ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. Beginning each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn. GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the homeowners happy. ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it ~ sometimes twice a week. GOD: They cut it? Do they then bail it like hay? ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags. GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it? ST. FRANCIS: No Sir. Just the opposite, they pay to throw it away. GOD: Now let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away? ST. FRANCIS: Yes, Sir. GOD: These Earthlings must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work. ST. FRANCIS: You aren’t going to believe this Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it. GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It’s a natural circle of life. ST. FRANCIS: You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away. GOD: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and to keep the soil moist and loose? ST. FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves. GOD: And where do they get this mulch? ST. FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch. GOD: Enough. I don’t want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts. What movie have they scheduled for us tonight? ST. CATHERINE: Dumb and Dumber, Lord. It’s a real stupid movie about….. GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis



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butch

posted March 5, 2007 at 4:14 pm


Horticulture, my interest. Recently found is something called “Terra Preta”, dark soil which is charcoal deposits in South America. As it works out charcoal can be produced from organic matter such as “switch grass” producing biofuel and a plant growth enhancer. And, a BIG BIG AND it is carbon neutral, it takes out more CO2 than it produces or is equal, not sure about that. Search Terra Preta and go to U of GA.



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kevin s.

posted March 5, 2007 at 4:17 pm


St. Francis: I would add that government REQUIRES people to maintain their lawns in this manner. GOD: Really? That’s pretty messed up. St. Francis: Yep, and if you don’t comply, some city governments will fine you AND do it themselves at more than three times the cost? GOD: The city will come to their property and forcibly cut their lawn. St. Francis: You got it.



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Don

posted March 5, 2007 at 4:33 pm


Kevin: Yup! And I know people who have had their wildflower “prairies” mowed by the city. ;-( Usually it happens after a neighbor complains, which might be one reason to get to know one’s neighbors better. Interestingly, a city very close to where I live only requires one mowing a year–though of course, most residents mow quite a bit more often than that. Butch: I’ve read what you wrote about switch grass (Panicum virgatum) elsewhere. I actually have some in my yard (which I mow once a year–in early spring!). It is native to N. Amer., but one possible negative characteristic is that it can be invasive. A few ornamental plantings like in my yard may be one thing, but entire fields of switch grass being grown as a biofuel might tend to take over a place. Spring is almost here! Happy growing–



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Mark P

posted March 5, 2007 at 4:37 pm


To all with the bring on the end times, baybee theory: -Did James Watt sign the letter with Dobson? Mark B, MD: If a country developes a market based economy that becomes part of the world economy, repression will have to diminish. Just look at Communist china now compared to Mao’s cultural reveolution. -Agreed, muy mucho. I would say a people gain liberties via market-based economies, but not necessarily democracy. China is hardly any more democratic than it was forty years ago, but it certainly is more free (and I don t think we can conflate them a la the Bush Administration).As long as deep in our hearts we believe we deserve 35% of the world’s resources -I pretty much agree with the sentiment, and would further say (again) that the entitlement society and the drive to excess in America will only be stopped when people (inside the Church and out) begin to trust the promises of God in Scripture and begin to wait on Jesus Christ as their all-satisfying treasure and the only true fulfillment in the Universe.God’s love is burnt into our hearts, where we truly see the 10,000 children who die a day as important as our children. -I agree, but I think it would be a lot easier to have that application if we could tear down the walls of separation between the poor and the rich I do *not* mean that we need to redistribute wealth (I am very free market) I mean, as someone else first said, the walls that prevent the wealthy from ever having to see a poor man or interact with one. I believe many of the people in America s megachurches and religious right are NOT devoid of love or compassion, but they lack the personal relationships to apply that love to the impoverished. — butch and Timbuktoo: I have a feeling we actually agree on a whole lot more than might appear at first glance. Why reject what we can stand unified on because of the things we can’t? I don’t think completely ignoring me is entirely necessary because I think if we continue our conversation, we’ll find surprising things we agree on. But if you find it necessary, then it shall be so. If you ever come around and decide I’m worth talking to again, that’d be great with me.



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Mark P

posted March 5, 2007 at 4:38 pm


PS: My yard in Tucson, Arizona is filled with crushed rocks and cacti. Oh the desert :)



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butch

posted March 5, 2007 at 4:49 pm


Don, “but one possible negative characteristic is that it can be invasive.” As it works out any organic matter will work such as sawdust, cornstalks, grass from your front yard, trees and limbs after a hurricane etc. I mentioned “switch grass” because Our President used it in the state of the union. UGA mentions switch grass and I assumed he was refering to this project.



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HASH(0x12bf7724)

posted March 5, 2007 at 5:08 pm


“Why reject what we can stand unified on because of the things we can’t?” Your rant which is what I sound like with a few to many indicated that I had compared you to the devil is nothing like anything I think I said or I know I didn’t think.My feeling was if reading emphaticly led you to such a conclusion then we would have a problem communicating.



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butch

posted March 5, 2007 at 5:14 pm


Mark P PS if I did compare you to the devil I mis-spoke myself and didn’t mean to. Sorry



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Mike

posted March 5, 2007 at 5:25 pm


I think most people agree that the climate is getting warmer, the disagreement lies in the cause and the amount of change. I believe that the Bush administration downplays the effects, while the left totally misstates the statistics. The Michael Crichton interview by Charlie Rose is interesting, take a look if you get a chance. He too believes that the statistics show that global warming IS occurring, but the threat is not immediate, imminent, or as catastrophic as the eco-religious left makes it out to be. He very clearly asks to be proven wrong with the statistics, which no one has been willing to do. He does agree that global warming is a reality, but the change over the last 100 years is about 8ths of a degree.



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Mike

posted March 5, 2007 at 5:27 pm

Joseph T

posted March 5, 2007 at 6:38 pm


Hey Michael Crichton, did you know that 8 8ths of a degree add up to a full degree. I kid you not. This is no new- math trickery.



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Mom

posted March 5, 2007 at 7:05 pm


Christ came to show us how to love to one another, to care for those in need. Rather than blasting one another, we should be talking about what manifestation of His love should look like. It should include loving God’s creation – God loved the world and said so, sending his son to tell us that very point: John 3:16 As parents and Christians we must care for the world in which we wish our children and grandchild to live. That means we must stand for a removal from their environment anything which will harm their health, or stunt their mental and physical development – not just for our own children but all children of the world. It includes helping them to learn care of the world for their own children to come. Arguing the source of the harmful elements isn’t as important as doing something for their protection.Grass in yards was an innovation several hundred years ago to show that people were wealthy enough to grow grass instead of food in their front yards. Our front yard in the city is a food garden, which is beautiful and has wholesome food – we also drive a Prius. “This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears, all nature sings and roung me rings the music of the spheres… His hand the wonders wrought.” Stop fighting, do some real research on your own, grow a garden, eat your vegetables, and ask yourself what you can do to take care of your Father’s world.



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Alicia

posted March 5, 2007 at 7:11 pm


Mark P. The point I was making, many posts above, is that I believe that Falwell, Dobson, etc, value their power more than they do the common good, the public interest, or what-have-you.The Roman Catholic bishops and even cardinals who covered up for the pedophile priests also thought they were serving “the larger interests of the Church.” This doesn’t mean they are evil people, but I think it does mean that they might possibly value power more than truth.



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carl copas

posted March 5, 2007 at 7:45 pm


Ryan Beiler, Don’t make too much of the name-calling etc. This is one of the best debates I’ve seen on here. (Though I DO wish some people, both con and lib, would occasionally show a dash of humility and a spoonful of brotherly love.) Don, what do you teach? I’m a history teacher.



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Mark P

posted March 5, 2007 at 7:55 pm


butch: “if I did compare you to the devil I mis-spoke myself and didn’t mean to.” -There were a lot of metaphors of “dealing with the devil” and the like, but no direct “devil” name calling.



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Brian

posted March 5, 2007 at 7:59 pm


I don’t know if this has been commented on since there have been many threads on this topic, but I will post it anyway. There is no such thing as “settled” science. Even “gravity” isn’t settled. The reason for this is because “gravity” is what is called a theorectical term. This term is meant to explain our observations by our senses and our instruments. In the same way, the cause of global warming (the warming temps are observed) is a theorectical term. However, the problem with people who don’t accept human caused warming is that they don’t have an explanation for the increasing temps. The theory of human caused warming is able to predict and explain numerous conditions. That is why political leaders and the public should TENTATIVELY accept human caused warming. Just like Intelligent Design, anti-human-caused-warming proponents have no theory. They fail to have explanations that the planet can cause the rapid warmings that are occurring. So, let me say it again. Journalists and the public should avoid saying the science is settled. No scientist believes this. All theories are tentative. I even claim that observations are tentative since, in a theory, our observation terms depend on our theory and how we measure the observation. Thus, we should stop saying the situation is tentative, but approach this pragmatically. The best science to-date tell us humans are causing global warming.



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Gary

posted March 5, 2007 at 8:29 pm


“There is no such thing as “settled” science.” Indeed. There are several prominent climate and related scientists who do not agree with the conventional wisdom on the cause of whatever warming has actually been occurring, and the effectiveness of some of the remedies that have been put forth.I’m not a scientist, however I am able to see how much this topic has become a political tool with which to bash any opponents who happen to remain skeptical. I think Wallis has utilized it here, to conveniently attack anything Republican and anyone on the religious right. And, of course, there are those on the opposite side who have ridiculed and made fun of their targets on the left, such as the Goracle. ;-)



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HASH(0x12d30780)

posted March 5, 2007 at 8:36 pm


Brian everything you say is true, the question is what do we do at this point?



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HASH(0x12d2e0e4)

posted March 5, 2007 at 8:52 pm


Gary, “I think Wallis has utilized it here, to conveniently attack anything Republican” Quote the words Wallis used to attack Republicans?



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Elmo

posted March 5, 2007 at 9:09 pm


So, I missed out on the whole SUV vs. Prius thing, but some of you were way off on your pricing of new SUVs and trucks. There are at least a dozen available new for less than a Prius, so I’m sure there are plenty of used ones for much less. Check my list here if you doubt it. Besides, once VW brings the TDI back to the US, you’ll be able to get better mileage and performance in a Golf or a Rabbit for a good deal less than the Prius, and actual renewable energy in the form of biodiesel.



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Gary

posted March 5, 2007 at 9:10 pm


Yes, the great Goracle melted for my skeptical sins and froze again. ;-) Speaking of settled science, just today we get this: In the 1980s and early 1990s, when concern about global warming was in its infancy, little was known about the mechanics of how it could occur, or the consequences that could befall us. Since then, governments throughout the western world and bodies such as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have commissioned billions of dollars worth of research by thousands of scientists. With a wealth of data now in, Dr. Allegre has recanted his views. To his surprise, the many climate models and studies failed dismally in establishing a man-made cause of catastrophic global warming. Meanwhile, increasing evidence indicates that most of the warming comes of natural phenomena. Dr. Allegre now sees global warming as over-hyped and an environmental concern of second rank. His break with what he now sees as environmental cant on climate change came in September, in an article entitled “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” in l’ Express, the French weekly. His article cited evidence that Antarctica is gaining ice and that Kilimanjaro’s retreating snow caps, among other global-warming concerns, come from natural causes. “The cause of this climate change is unknown,” he states matter of factly. There is no basis for saying, as most do, that the”science is settled.” Read the entire skeptic series, which is linked from within the above article.



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butch

posted March 5, 2007 at 9:11 pm


Gary, “I think Wallis has utilized it here, to conveniently attack anything Republican” Quote the words Wallis used to attack Republicans? Anonymous | 03.05.07 – 3:57 pm | #What do we care what Wallis thinks or is up to? What do we think should be done about this question? What do we care what Democrats or Republicans or The Religious Right or Left. I don’t have a lot of trust for congress or religious leaders. I can give you a long list of both who have mislead us and abused us. What should we do? Continue to sling paper wads like school children? This is an adult decision either way.



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Gary

posted March 5, 2007 at 9:38 pm


You’re right, Butch. Except that Wallis, who wrote the article we’re presumably commenting on, is bitterly anti-anything religious right and/or Republican, although he tries very hard to mask it with phrases like “God is neither Republican or Democrat”, and using his soft soothing voice. My basic point is that the mentality that has developed of late, the calls for censorship of any kind of voices daring to be skeptical of the “conventional wisdom”, and the injection of politics into the scientific realm, can only pollute and skew the results. Scientists are actually being made to fear coming out in disagreement. Fearing for their jobs! That nasty word we shouldn’t use, that starts with an N, and ends with an i comes to mind. Only in the broadest of meanings, of course. And then when Wallis, a religious man, starts latching onto this global warming hysteria and attaching it to “stewardship”, and using it as a club to bash people like Dobson, who do tons of good work that Wallis seems uninterested in, all the while being hostile to what I consider to be the only hope of ever curbing carbon emmissions — capatalism — it sets off a lot of alarm bells in my head. This climate change issue is becoming a huge political issue. Some say it should be. I say politics and science don’t mix. They tend to corrupt one another.



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Don

posted March 5, 2007 at 9:48 pm


Carl: Thanks for asking. I teach English composition, technical writing, and business writing. Elmo: I’ve heard that the European automakers are trying to do more with diesel than with gasoline-electric hybrids. And I’ve heard that they have made strides in eliminating some of the problems normally associated with diesel–smelly, smoky exhaust, noise, etc. But I wonder if they’ve taken care of the hard-to-start-in-cold-weather problem. That keeps diesels from being more attractive here in the midwest. Also, doesn’t the biofuel tend to gel up in cold weather? What can be done about that? Just wondering. Yes, it’s true that little in science is actually settled. The common phrase, “it’s not an exact science” actually doesn’t reflect the reality of most scientific principles. In principle, any and all scientific theories are subject to being modified or even discarded in the face of new evidence. But that’s just it. The theory of gravitation isn’t in much danger of being challenged because the evidence just isn’t there. “Tentative” is a realative term here. The “tentative” nature of some theories is miniscule. Scientists have to go with the best evidence they have. I haven’t read that National Post study that’s being referred to above. However, if the evidence being presented is solid (and I would have no real way of knowing whether it is), it may prove a challenge to the prevailing theory on climate change. But it may also not be. In order to know, one would have to read ALL the relevant literature, not just one publication. Other scientists may well have demonstrated the flaws in its evidence. I don’t know. A consesus, even a tentative one, can’t be based on one and only one published study. Peace,



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Gary

posted March 5, 2007 at 10:02 pm


Dr. Mark Brown wrote: Since several folks who commented on my contribution yesterday seemed baffled by one of my points, I wanted to provide a reference to the point I made about what some portions of conservative evangelicals believe about the environment. This is from an article in the Washington Post, Feb 7, 2005: “The Greening of Evangelicals”Even for green activists within the evangelical movement, there are landmines. One faction in the movement, called dispensationalism, argues that the return of Jesus and the end of the world are near, so it is pointless to fret about environmental degradation. James G. Watt, President Ronald Reagan’s first interior secretary, famously made this argument before Congress in 1981, saying: “God gave us these things to use. After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back.” The enduring appeal of End Time musings among evangelicals is reflected in the phenomenal success of the Left Behind series of apocalyptic potboilers, which have sold more than 60 million copies and are the best-selling novels in the country. Haggard, the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals, concedes that this thinking “is a problem that I do have to address regularly in talking to the common man on the street.” ———————————— Of course this is a complete misrepresentation of Watt’s stance regarding stewardship, and the Post and others had to make a correction on the supposed Watt quote: “After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back.” This mythology was dredged up recently by Wallis’ good friend Bill Moyers. Moyers wrongly attributed the quote to Watt, and completely mischaracterized another by Zell Miller, in a speech which was reproduced by several media outlets. Moyers later apologized, but clung to his mistaken notion about Watt’s stewardship. Watt responded a second time. Excerpt: February 10, 2005 Dear Mr. Moyers: Thank you for your apology of February 8th. I, of course, never said what you wrongfully attributed to me; nor have I ever thought it or believed it: Your quote – “Remember James Watt, President Ronald Reagan’s first secretary of the interior? My favorite online environmental journal, the ever-engaging Grist, reminded us recently of how James Watt told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In public testimony he said, “after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back. Beltway elites snickered. The press corps didn’t know what he was talking about. But James Watt was serious. So were his compatriots out across the country. They are the people who believe the Bible is literally true — one-third of the American electorate—“ Nor do I know any Christian who has ever taken such a position of intentionally ignoring or damaging the environment – as your letter of apology struggles to establish. I understand how you could find other documents in the public domain critical of actions we took under the law. I often said if I believed the Washington Press Corps, I would dislike James Watt. I found that most often reporters just took what some special interest group said I said and reported it as fact. Then the next reporter just quoted the Washington Post or Time or etc., or as in the present case, they have and will quote Bill Moyers. And the lies just keep rolling on. As a practical matter, neither you nor I will be able to turn off the lies of the Grist story and your expansion on that quote. Grist expanded (way over the top) on the false quote it got from an extremely unreliable book; and you then expanded on the Grist quote. When I became the Secretary of the Interior, I knew that I was responsible for my character. Character is who you are; reputation is what others say you are. Others would control my reputation. My reputation has been impacted wonderfully by the marvelous supporters who cheered the great work our team did for the Nation. And negatively, by the arrogant Washington Press Corps that knows they can not be sued by a public figure for libelous lies and misrepresentations….. Full letter



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Gary

posted March 5, 2007 at 10:04 pm


And of course Watt’s testimony before congress, and in fact everything he ever said, was also misrepresented by the press, and years later by Appleman and Dr. Brown above. A full reading of the transcript reveals that Watt was expressing the polar opposite of what has been falsely attributed to him: Mr. Weaver [D. Ore.]: Do you want to see on lands under your management, the sustained yield policies continued? Secretary Watt: Absolutely. Mr. Weaver: I am very pleased to hear that. Then I will make one final statement… I believe very strongly that we should not, for example, use up all the oil that took nature a billion years to make in one century. We ought to leave a few drops of it for our children, their children. They are going to need it… I wonder if you agree, also, in the general statement that we should leave some of our resources–I am now talking about scenic areas or preservation, but scenic resources for our children? Not just gobble them up all at once? Secretary Watt: Absolutely. That is the delicate balance the Secretary of the Interior must have, to be steward for the natural resources for this generation as well as future generations. I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns, whatever it is we have to manage with a skill to leave the resources needed for future generations. Mr. Weaver: Mr. Chairman, I want to conclude, if I might, seeing the Secretary brought up the Lord, with a story. The Chairman: The conversation will be in order. Mr. Weaver: In my district, Mr. Chairman, there are some who do not like wilderness. They do not like it at all. I would try to plead with them. I go around my district and say do you not believe–I would plead with their religious sensibilities–that we should leave some of our land the way we received it from the Creator? I have said this frequently throughout my district. I got a letter from a constituent… He said, “Mr. Weaver, if the Lord wanted to leave his forest lands, some of them in the way that we got them from Him,” he said, “why did He send His only Son down to earth as a carpenter?” (Laughter) Mr. Weaver: That stumped us. That stumped us until one of my aides, an absolute genius, said that the Lord Jesus before He determined His true mission spent 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness. (Laughter) And so it would seem that even the Democrat from Oregon was not particularly taken aback by Watt’s words, nor should anyone with an ability to discern context, and an understanding of how the Reagan-hating media of the day operated. Watt and his fellow evangelicals were smeared, misquoted and taken out of context then, and I suspect the same is being done today to some extent with Wallis’ characterization of other’s stances on Global Warming, which might not happen to fit in with his particular priority list.



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Mike English

posted March 5, 2007 at 10:25 pm


I’m new to this web page and I’m not sure I’ll be here long. The choice of words by the authors seem more political than religious. The use of the word “attack” to refer to a legitimate disagreement appears harsh. The reference to the “Religious Right” sounds like the prejudicial language of a political campaign trying to make the opposition sound dirty.In the blog, Wallis stated that Christians should stop “lingering over the problem” and take action. Until there is clear indication as to what action to take, that reckless statement is like saying that we know Osama bin Laden is in Afghanistan so let’s start shooting Afghanis until we get him.



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Joy

posted March 5, 2007 at 11:07 pm


Cizik’s critics assert more time and energy need to be devoted to the sanctity of life and evangelism. Maybe I’m niave but the lives of our brothers and sisters living in low-lying areas which are likely to be completely flooded in years to come due to global warming are just as sacred as anyone else. also, how successful are our evangelistic efforts going to be when the rest of the world realizes we (the US)with less than 5% of the world’s population create 25% of the greenhouse gas emissions? As the rest of the world continues to see us as overcomspumtive (spoiled) Americans who view the environment only as a commonity to use up for our own selfish desires are they really going to listen to anything we have to say about God?



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Mark P

posted March 5, 2007 at 11:28 pm


Mark Brown: “One faction in the movement, called dispensationalism, argues that the return of Jesus and the end of the world are near, so it is pointless to fret about environmental degradation.” Missed this earlier… that’s exactly a huge distortion of dispensationalism. I’m studying progressive dispensationalism currently in contrast with dispensationalism, and that does not reflect either theology (though, of course, many within those sects could very well hold that opinion).



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Tim

posted March 5, 2007 at 11:34 pm


Is it now ‘bizarre’ the major charge of the church is to preach the Gospel? I don’t like Falwell, but churches don’t exist to combat global warming, they exist to preach the Gospel. They can be involved in politics, but we preach Jesus, not Al Gore.



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HASH(0x12d387d0)

posted March 5, 2007 at 11:43 pm


Gary, “And then when Wallis, a religious man, starts latching onto this global warming hysteria and attaching it to “stewardship” What difference does it make who or in what context if man is contributing to global warming? ” it sets off a lot of alarm bells in my head.” What sets off alarm bells in my head is we don’t react in time. Nothing we do to reduce emmissions will hurt anyone. Deal with it then get back to choosing sides in a petty political fight.



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Ted Voth Jr

posted March 5, 2007 at 11:58 pm


Jim, I love ya, and you’ll always be one of the main guys who got us politically liberal evangelicals out of the closet but I have to say I feel a little happier with McLaren’s more irenic reponse to the Dobson letter. Actually, to give Dobson his due, he was one bang-up child psychologist why, when my ex and I encountered him years ago, he told us to raise our kids exactly the way we were doing it! But when he tries to ‘punditize’ the poor guy’s just way in over his head. I’m starting to feel sorry for him! He’s so lost and outmoded, and he doesn’t even know it! Pray for him! He and his cronies can’t even find a horse to back for ’08! Check out the NY Times for Feb 25: “Christian Right Labors to Find 08 Candidate”



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squeaky

posted March 6, 2007 at 12:14 am


Tim, “but we preach Jesus, not Al Gore.” I agree–and to that I add, we preach Jesus, not George Bush. By the way, read Joy’s comments above to see why many of us feel this is a relevant issue for Christians…



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carl copas

posted March 6, 2007 at 12:39 am


Mark P, you mentioned “progressive dispensationalism.” What is it? Or, please, offer a title or 2 and I can look into it myself. Thanks in advance.



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butch

posted March 6, 2007 at 1:03 am


By the way, read Joy’s comments above to see why many of us feel this is a relevant issue for Christians… squeakyMany cannot get off wearing a self imposed label to look at the issue at hand.



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butch

posted March 6, 2007 at 1:29 am


I do think it might be more effective to just bring up global warming and leave everything else off.



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vynette

posted March 6, 2007 at 2:49 am


Don, you said: “Please tell me if I misrepresent any of your points, vynette. According to what I read, you are telling us: 1. The Vatican’s talk about the sacredness of life is a ruse; 2. The Vatican is merely power-hungry and use issues like sanctity of life to consolidate their power and to keep the rest of us ignorant of this relentless power grab on their part; 3. People in impoverished places have children because of unspecified Vatican threats against them.” You have not misrepresented me on points 1 and 2 – the Vatican’s less than salubrious history speaks for itself. I dealt with Point 3 in a previous comment but I’ll just amplify: The threats against the faithful are certainly not ‘unspecified.’ Catholic Church teaching on contraception is that the use of any “artificial” means to avoid conception is “intrinsically evil” and a mortal sin if the person knows it’s wrong and does it freely without inner or outer compulsion.In 1968 Pope Paul VI issued the encyclical, Humanae Vitae, in which he condemned almost every form of birth control as morally reprehensible.By divine ordinance, those who call themselves Catholic MUST subscribe to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church or risk spiritual death. The Vatican’s battle against contraception and abortion rests not on moral grounds, but on its efforts to survive as an influential political institution. If its battle against abortion were genuine, I would be the first to sign up. Mark P, you advised me to “Have a conservation with an intelligent and committed Catholic and see what birth control is really about.” I am a baptised Roman Catholic who was raised in a convent so I am intimately acquainted with church doctrine.



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Don

posted March 6, 2007 at 2:58 am


Well, Vynette, I think I can appreciate where you are coming from, but I still wonder if you are correct about the Vatican’s grab for power and influence. Have you been to Latin America recently? We were in El Salvador last September. A 25-year-old encyclopedia tells us that El Salvador at the time was about 97% Roman Catholic. Today, about one-third of the people claim to be evangelical. The Catholic Church there is adopting some of the techniques of the evangelicals: bible studies, small group meetings, street preaching, etc., in order to try to keep the other two thirds from going over to the evangelicals. This doesn’t sound like an organization that is operating from a position of strength; rather, they are adapting their rivals’ techniques to keep from losing even more people. And how many Catholics here in the USA subscribe to the church’s teaching on birth control, I wonder? Just a couple of thoughts from my perspective,



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Mark P

posted March 6, 2007 at 3:31 am


Vynette, you sound like a bitter ex-Catholic who hasn’t had a conversation with a Catholic actuated by grace in a while :) Carl, the central theological figure in progressive dispensationalism is Darrell Bock. Anything by him works. I’m currently making my way through “Progressive Dispensationalism” by Bock. BTW, you should know before you get into it that the “progressive” of progressive dispensationalism has nothing to do with progressive politics :) — Don: “And how many Catholics here in the USA subscribe to the church’s teaching on birth control, I wonder?” The last I heard was 40-50% (the figure was given by a professor of political science in response to a similar question, so it might have been more a guesstimate).



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Payshun

posted March 6, 2007 at 3:42 am


Dispensationalism = yuck (progressive or otherwise) Mark, I am impressed that you hold true to that theology, mainly because it is so modern (meaning the last 150 years or so.) I remember when I used to be a dispensationalist. It was such a dead thing for me. But if it works for you great. p



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Timbuktoo

posted March 6, 2007 at 3:43 am


Mark P: “But if you find it necessary, then it shall be so. If you ever come around and decide I’m worth talking to again, that’d be great with me.” It just took that small olive branch for me to say to you- no problem. Let’s put it behind us. I will gladly speak to you. Peace in Christ, my brother.



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carl copas

posted March 6, 2007 at 4:20 am


Mark P: thanks for the Darrell Bock title. and i didn’t think the “progressive” referred to politics. :) Timbuktoo, thank you for exemplifying brotherly forgiveness. Peace in Christ.



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Mark P

posted March 6, 2007 at 4:39 am


Thanks Timbuktoo. I really do appreciate it, and I look forward to a more constructive dialogue as brothers in Christ. Payshun, I am far far from a dispensationalist. I’m closest to Jonathan-Edwards-John-Piper reformed, but a brilliant and godly mentor of mine is currently trying to get me to take a look at NPP (New Perspective on Paul) and N.T. Wright. I merely said it was a mischaracterization of dispensationalism. Carl, I figured I’d better be certain just so you didn’t feel cheated :)



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squeaky

posted March 6, 2007 at 4:53 am


Hey Mark P–what’s the New Perspective on Paul? I may have had part of this conversation with my pastor.



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Don

posted March 6, 2007 at 11:40 am


Carl, please correct me if necessary. I have read about “progressive dispensatonalism,” but have not read any of Darrell Bock’s writings. I think it’s briefly discussed in Vern Poythress’ short but very helpful book, “Understanding Dispenstationalists.” From what I recall, “progressive” refers to their recognizing that there is biblical continuity between OT Israel and the NT church instead of the radical discontinuity that “traditional” dispensationalism asserts. (I put “traditional” in quotes because, as Payshun mentions, it’s really a rather recent theory of bible interpretation.) The end result of this modification could possibly be to bring dispensationalism closer to what is usually called historical premillennialism (think George Ladd). If that’s true, it would be a very welcome change of viewpoint, IMO (even though I consider myself more amillennial). I suppose, though, it would encounter resistance from the more dogmatic dispensationalists, including a lot of popular preachers. Carl–is Darrell Bock affiliated with Dallas Theo. Seminary? It seems I recall reading that Dallas is the source of progressive dispensationalism. Peace,



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Don

posted March 6, 2007 at 11:45 am


Correction- My query above should have been directed to Mark P, not Carl. Sorry for my misreading. d



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moderatelad

posted March 6, 2007 at 2:54 pm


Wallis wrote – …signed by 86 national evangelical leaders, including 39 Christian college presidents… So – does the ’86’ represent 86 different denominations or 43 different denominations? Does the 39 college presidents equate to 39 different colleges or 3 colleges with 13 representatives? Since there are over 9000 different denominations in the world, over 630 in the US alone – I do not see this as being a major shift in the thinking of the Christian Church.My Dad told me that there are 3 types of lies in the world. The ‘bold face’ lie, the ‘little white’ lie and the ‘statistic’. For me – I think that we are dealing with the latter. I would like to see a list of the sacred ’86’ so that we can talk about this issue with all the info. Blessings – .



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Jonathan

posted March 6, 2007 at 3:08 pm


Jim, It is very obvious by the venom and tone in your text that you have an personal agenda against these people (Jerry Falwell) and are not wholly just concerned about our environment. Falwell wants Christians to focus on telling people about Jesus, what s so wrong about that?



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Mark P

posted March 6, 2007 at 4:51 pm


Don, That’s pretty close the gist of it. Progressives do not have a “parenthetical” view of the Church (as in a bracketed-off segment in the middle of God’s dealings with Israel… as in: OT Israel [Church] Eschatological dealings with the remnant). Rather, they see the remnant having an overlap with the Church, and the Church being partially privy to some of the Israel promises. They also have a different way of approaching covenants, seeing them as more of a process than an event. Be careful with “traditional dispensationalists.” It’s a correct term but don’t confuse it with classical dispensationalism (aka John Nelson Darby) which is a slightly different bird. Darrell Bock (and Craig Blaising) is indeed from Dallas Theological Seminary, and it is pretty much the center of progressive dispensationalism.



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Don

posted March 6, 2007 at 6:42 pm


Mark P: Got it. Thanks very much. I highly recommend Poythress’ book, by the way. D



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Payshun

posted March 6, 2007 at 9:44 pm


Moderatelad, Can you please give it a rest? Please. I don’t see how telling people about Jesus and how they are all going to hell is any less important than talking about issues pertaining to the environment. Since life is so short we should do God calls Adam to do and be stewards of the land. Right? p



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moderatelad

posted March 6, 2007 at 10:06 pm


Payshun | Homepage | 03.06.07 – 4:49 pm | #Can you please give it a rest? Not a problem – no more ‘s’ word. I look at the two as more ‘hand in glove’ as I find my desire to be a good steward of the land motivated by my passion to serve an Almighty God.I see salvation a little more important than the enviroment – but we can eliminate the ‘s’ word. Later – .



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Payshun

posted March 6, 2007 at 10:17 pm


Moderatelad, Your response makes me so glad I am not an evangelical.p



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moderatelad

posted March 7, 2007 at 1:31 pm


Payshun | Homepage | 03.06.07 – 5:22 pm | #I glad that you are glad. I also find it interesting that you have no problem asking me to ‘give it a rest’. I have never asked you to stop expressing your thoughts or ideas – I respect them even if I do not agree with them.Could it be that us misguided evangelicals have more tolerance, respect and dare I say understanding of diversity? Later — .



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moderatelad

posted March 7, 2007 at 1:42 pm


HELLO???? I would like to see a list of the sacred ’86’ so that we can talk about this issue with all the info. I still am looking for a list of these denominations. If we look at the 86 compaired to the 830+ denominations that are in the US, we are dealing with less than 0.1036% of the denominations. It would be nice to know which ones they are as some denominations only have about 100,000 and others have millions of members. If we make the comparison to the whole world with over 9000 denominations we are dealing with less than 0.009555. Not sure that Mr. Jim has a great following on this issue. He might have followers that are great – but we don’t know the 39 college presidents or the institutions they represent.Can this info be given to us – soon?Inquiring minds want to know. Later – .



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Payshun

posted March 7, 2007 at 6:02 pm


Moderatelad, You might be right about that as long as we agree w/ you. I am not trying to censor you. I just want to increase dialogue about the issue (climate change) instead of making it a blame and victim fest for conservative evangelicals. p



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Payshun

posted March 7, 2007 at 6:02 pm


That’s a really good question btw. I am looking forward to the answer to that. p



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moderatelad

posted March 8, 2007 at 1:10 pm


Mr Webmaster – I know you read these postings. Are we going to see the list of denominations and colleges that Mr. Wallis refered to in his article – or are you just going to wait till this one drops off the site? I am not asking for the individuals names – just the institutions that were represented at this meeting. Please – .



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ShaneBertou

posted March 8, 2007 at 4:21 pm


I could be wrong, but I’m fairly certain the “sacred 86″ are the signatories of the Evangelical Climate Initiative. All anyone had to do to find the list of names was click the link provided in the blog entry, and find it for themselves. Since this is apparently an exorbitant amount of work for some, I’ll provide the link for you: http://www.christiansandclimate.org/signatories



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moderatelad

posted March 8, 2007 at 7:53 pm


ShaneBertou | Homepage | 03.08.07 – 11:26 am | #I looked it over and the sacred 86 is a least now 85 as I know two of them and they represent the same organization.This is not an overwhelming support group for ‘climate change’. Again – Sojo proves that it can play with the static like so many others. Guess they are going to have to keep attacking the naughty conservative right to promote their agenda. Later…. .



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chip m anderson

posted March 8, 2007 at 8:09 pm


I agree that there should be a debate on whether global warming (excuse me, for a sec while I put on my sweater, we experiencing a cold spell–in fact we just finished the coldest Feb in recorded history and its March and its freezing here in CT). What silly Christians we are. The debate should not be on global warming–what a waste of time–there are so many scientists and climatologists who take odds with the Gore-warming argument. It is a sham and will be proven as such. Follow the money. Anyway, I agree with Wallis on debating the moral issues of our time. For his credit (though his bible exposition is so off and poorly done), he is right concerning the evangelical’s lack of concern and action for the poor. I believe evangelicals would be better off leaving global warming to the pundits and, please, real scientists, and rather concentrate on issues of moral relevance like the poor. Some many issues would be settled or dealt with if we harnessed our abilities and leveraged our power and wealth on behalf of the vulnerable at the margins of our own cities. See my web site for a recent paper on advocating for the poor as Christian discipleship (www.wordsntone.com)



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Tegan Smith

posted March 8, 2007 at 8:10 pm


I was chuckling seeing Dobson’s statement that a discussion of globas warming distracts us from the real moral issues. Dobson and other millionaire preachers are paid to distract us from the real moral issues–particularly those the elites who control America don’t want to confront. As long as Dobson can keep people in a tizzy over whether or not Sponge Bob Squarepants is a closet homosexual (check it out–he REALLY claimed this!!! Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street and the Teletubbies have been similarly attacked by Dobson’s partners in crime), they won’t have time to ask some of the questions about the distribution of wealth. Where will this debate go? Dobson is doing what he’s paid to do, and won’t change.



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ben

posted March 8, 2007 at 8:10 pm


Way to go calling Dobson out on this gross inconsistency! I am so glad that someone is standing up and telling people like him that there are more than two issues out there that Christians must be concerned with! To me his statement discouraging Cizik’s work shows just how Dobson and the like have moved from being Christ followers to being Republican followers.



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BJ

posted March 8, 2007 at 8:12 pm


Focus on the Family and some other groups have become so focused on a conservative political agenda that they don’t even represent the interests of American families anymore. This is why we need other family-focused organizations to speak up and speak out. Talk about abstinence is moot because 94% of Americans have sex before marriage already – we need to talk about prevention strategies for bad marriages and strategies to help couples start out on the right foot, rather than just focusing our attention on the windmill-chasing.



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Tegan Smith

posted March 8, 2007 at 8:15 pm


Chip Anderson: It does get cold. True. But this is about CLIMATE change. Here in Chicago, a whole generation of kids has NEVER experienced a real winter. Prior to the mid 1980’s, winter reliably meant large mounds of snow that would cover the ground from late November to sometime in March and lots of sub-zero days. These days, we get days in the 50s and even the 60s in January and February, we see the grass much of the winter, and they don’t even bother attempting outdoor skating rinks any more, unless they are cooled with cables.



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JSH

posted March 8, 2007 at 8:21 pm


Good luck getting James Dobson to debate anything. He doesn’t have to debate, he’s right. He has decided what the great moral issues are and how Christians are to respond, and anyone who doesn’t agree with him is not worthy to be noticed. Why waste your time? Taking on Dobson is a distraction, which is exactly what he wants. He will tie you up so you don’t get anything else done. Have the debate with people who understand that debate isn’t one sided.



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Kevin Prange

posted March 8, 2007 at 8:32 pm


About 15 years ago or so, I used to do the overnight board operation at a Christian radio station that airs Dr. Dobson’s Focus on the Family. It was the opinion of Dr. Dobson and hosts of many other shows that environmental concerns were only the concerns of pagans and others who worshiped creation instead of the creator. I think it has been hard for Dr. Dobson and others to let go of that myopic view and can no longer pit the “us” against the “them”. We are all in this together. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.



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chip m anderson

posted March 8, 2007 at 8:43 pm


Please…re: Chicago…lets stick with facts…”Chicago Snowfall Sets Record As December Comes Early” and such head lines report record snow…of course I know its about climate…but that’s just the point…the slight degree up in avg globally is more than expected and reasonoably explained as nature and the universe (i.e., the Sun) doing what it always does–change. Also, just two decades ago the same crowd crying global warming now was crying ice age. Frankly this is all about money…follow the money. I also believe its the liberal political worldview attempts to control our lives, have more power over regulation, and ultimately control the economy.



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Tegan Smith

posted March 8, 2007 at 8:48 pm


Chip anderson: As I said, despite the record snowfall, we have almost no snow on the ground. Were it a few degrees colder, we would have had tons. I do agree…this is about the money. The oil companies and others have hired scientists to do their bidding. These are the same breed of scientists who did “studies” showing tobacco isn’t harmful and that eating at McDonald’s is good for you. In a word…prostitutes. I’m not clear where the real scientists would benefit from making this all up. Certainly, there are enough real problems to attack without inventing them.



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BJ

posted March 8, 2007 at 8:52 pm


Have any of you actually interacted with the Focus on the Family, American Family Association, or Family Research Council? These people are so focused on politics – especially conservative Republican agenda politics – that they have lost focus on family issues! Caring for creation IS a traditional value. And Ron Cizik ought to be commended, not threatened, for speaking out to government leaders about these issues.



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S. Heriger

posted March 8, 2007 at 8:53 pm


I’m constantly frustrated by the fact that the Dobson and other members of the Religious Right wants to protect the sanctity of marriage, preserve life and teach abstinence, but seems to forgot one important fact. If you first teach the love of Christ, and show that following Him is the way to a better life, all those other issues would take care of themselves. Dobson and his folks put the cart ahead of the horse by trying to legislate morality onto Americans without first helping non-believers to build a solid foundation on the love of Christ. What we end up with is flawed attempts at legislated morality, rather than advancing the message of Christ and letting that message lead people toward the truth. Dobson’s approach is about having “power over” others, rather than Christ’s approach, which calls for our surrender of will to recieve His truth.Dobson has it all backwards, which is why his approach is so grating to so many Christians. He doesn’t try to win hearts through sharing Christ’s love…he tries instead to force his ideas onto all through legislation, something Christ never calls us to do. I happen to share his concerns, I just can’t agree with his methods, which I find to be the antithesis of good discipleship.



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Kevin Prange

posted March 8, 2007 at 8:55 pm


S. Heriger: Amen.



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JSH

posted March 8, 2007 at 9:13 pm


I “tried” to interact with FOF over one of the great moral issues of our day, and ended up feeling like I had prostituted myself. I will NEVER do that again. As far as I’m concerned there is no reason to even invite them to the discussion. They have the loudest voice and the biggest stage. Why give them what little everyone else has. Encourage the debate without them, it will be far more spiritually and intellectually honest.



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Charlie Williams

posted March 8, 2007 at 9:13 pm


Dobbson and the gang of similar “men of the cloth” are all John Birchers. Their objective is not to debate, but to dictate. They have great, similar thinking friends in the white house and in congress. So, good luck in your quest to get him or Bush, or Cheny et-al to seriously debate any sane person about any moral or ethical issue.



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eileen fleming

posted March 8, 2007 at 9:21 pm


LET’S GET TO THE REAL ISSUE OF OUR GENERATION, BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS: THEY ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD King Abdullah II of Jordan addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress yesterday, March 7, 2007, making a passionate appeal for US leadership to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.His speech was devoted to the urgent need for Israeli-Palestinian peace and the central role that the US must play in bringing Israel and the Palestinians to the negotiating table.I beseech you to read this Arab Peacemakers heart: http://www.cmep.org/Alerts/2007March8.htmFor it is “the fierce urgency of now” that compells, impells and propells me to inform you of the Christian Exodus from the Holy Land which has reduced their numbers from 20% to less than 1.3% of the total population since 1948. The acceleration since 2000 has reached a crisis point, and if things do not change soon, there will be no living Christian Witness in the Land where Christ promised the Peacemakers are the children of God. After reading and praying on King Abdullah’s plea, I beg you toFAX President Bush: WHITE HOUSE FAX: 202-456-2461 Contact your Congressional reps,Invite Dobson, etc., etc., to come together in solidarity for our sisters and brothers in the land we all call HOLY.eileen fleming Author “KEEP HOPE ALIVE”, “Memoirs of a Nice Irish-American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory” reporter and editor WAWA http://www.wearewideawake.org



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Mr. Jan van Asselt

posted March 8, 2007 at 9:24 pm


Two concerns: How about working with Information Technology persons who propose to let children learn with a laptop “One Laptop per Child” as written about by Jeremy Allison in http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9590_22-6165189.html?tag=st.prev. Wouldn’t that be a project to teach all children of the world. “WE ARE ALL ONE”, regardless of the beliefsystem we may currently hold. Education leads to the possibility for persons to learn to think. As in Russia, and now in China, one can not bring 90% of the people to literacy and maintain a dictator-form of government for many decades. It would allow for a development of cooperation and collaboaration with an acceptance of each other’s beliefs. With respect to consequences of rising waters and global warming, I suggest readers to read Dutch newspapers and inform themselves about the results of a rising temperature and the level of the ‘waters’ in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands they are now celebrating the 75th anniversary of the construction of the 20plus miles seadike which enclosed the Zuiderzee in 1932, now called the IJsselmeer. In addition to the celebration they are planning how to highten the dike and how to empty river and polder water into the Northsea as the decades will bring higher levels of water in the Northsea, making it more difficult to release water from the hinterland. In Kansas we could use some of the excess water.Are these concerns for persons of all beliefs. A loving God, Creator does not classify persons by sets of beliefs. There is nothing to fear, but there is need for collaboration and cooperation. Jan



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C Sellers

posted March 8, 2007 at 9:33 pm


I may have missed it above, but all you have to do is look at the FOF sponsored voter guides from 2004 to see their view of what the moral/biblical issues currently are. They state that they reviewed ALL of the issues under debate in the election, took a biblical look at ALL of those issues, and rendered a biblicly based opinion on each issue. The fact that it was biblicly valid and important to open up protected lands for oil exploration was mentioned but there was no mention of feeding/housing/protecting the poor, underpriveledged or (dare I say) meek states their viewpoint very well. To discover that giving to those in need is not a biblical principle was a shock, but I suppose I should trust their expertise on all things biblical. That their list of biblical principles mirrored the republical party platform was just coincidence I guess.



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Jack Walker

posted March 8, 2007 at 9:45 pm


Jim, Wow! You really laid it to them. I hope with all my heart that a debate can be done. It is only through real give and take that these and other questions will be put to rest. But past experience doesn’t give us much hope and I mean by “us” all people everywhere, our earth community. Keep up the good work…Jack Walker



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Michael Hidalgo

posted March 8, 2007 at 9:59 pm


Jim I have been so blessed by your words, thoughts, and ministry. I pray that you will have wisdom and discernment about next steps, as you are messing with a skunk, may you not come out stinking. My prayer would be, are they (Dobson, Falwell, Bauer …) worth it? May you be led well as you make that decision. Michael



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Brett Ferguson

posted March 8, 2007 at 10:03 pm


Mr. Wallis I have never understood how people of faith can obcess on one issue and overlook so many other aspects of our christian walk. This may be a great illustration of how we can “strain out a knat and swallow a camel.” The inconsistancy that we christians show the nonbelieving world is what makes the gospel messge so hard for the world to see in us. I hope that you can debate Dr. Dobson and help to mend the great rift that has come christian on the left, the right and in the middle. That way we will shine as one bright to the unbelieving world.



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Christine

posted March 8, 2007 at 10:06 pm


Mr. Dobson and other Evangelical leaders like him know they have a hit with the “moral” trifecta: gay marriage, abortion, and sex education. These hot topics get people angry and Evangelical-backed politicians win when the people are angry and not thinking broadly about the many issues in our lives. They use buzz words and keep hammering them home like “activist judges,” “culture of life,” “liberal media” and others. No doubt phrases from the magic wan of conservative marketing strategist Frank Luntz. When they say that American culture is waging war on Christians, it helps create a culture of paranoia and, thus, results in fear. This is a well-thought out marketing strategy using the passions of the Evangelical voters to win elections and enact policy. Mr. Dobson will not allow one lone voice like Richard Cizick to derail his train. Even if Mr. Cizick is morally correct in his interests to bring global warming and population control to the discussion. This is about politics and not about morals. Mr. Dobson’s religious right works in a world of absolutes and it uses the religious and large news outlets, mega-churches, movies, books like Left Behind, and music to bring the “approved” messages into the homes of millions of Evangelicals in the US. It worked to elect Bush 2 times and they’re not going to give up on it anytime soon.



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John Luhn

posted March 8, 2007 at 10:06 pm


Below is text of reply I sent to “Citizen Link” on March 2 : As a born-again Christian and an educated thinker, I find the position taken by this paper to be so narrow-minded and self-serving that it boggles my mind and depresses my spirit. Dr. Dobson seems determined to promote an increasingly narrow agenda and disturbingly harsh in its tone and judgement. The conclusions drawn by this position paper are so thin and without, seemingly, consideration beyond the boundaries of its ultimate predictable objective that I am hard pressed to understand how these folks can fail to look beyond its limitations. The quote by Wayne Grudem is so simplistic and arrogant that it becomes embarrasing. No, I will not endorse this position paper. Rather, I am challenged to set myself and my family apart from its prejudice. Cordially, John Luhn Tampa, FL



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Donna Greene

posted March 8, 2007 at 10:12 pm


Hallejuah and Praise the Lord for compassionate, broad thinking men like you Mr. Wallis. God created the heavens and the earth, and when man destroys it as we are then we are destroying God s creation.



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Hugh Kemp

posted March 8, 2007 at 10:34 pm


From my rather remote corner of the world (Palmerston North, New Zealand) I read with great interest the electronic mailings from Sojourners and have come to respect the thoughtful and insightful reflections of Jim Wallis and others. So with great curiosity I peeped again through this electronic window into the often strange realm of American public banter and debate again this morning, when Jim alerted us to the Dobson et al letter re the “great moral issues of our time” etc. and YES, the two Jims should have a debate as Wallis calls for. It would certainly provide some interesting viewing from here in New Zealand. But in short, isn’t there an issue of logic here? Surely, if the world heats up (and, like Brian McLaren rightly points out, whether this is happening or not really isn’t a great debate any more – it’s a given – then if we destroy our world (through you Americans refusing to give up your hummers etc – oh, and the Chinese using absurd amounts of coal), then we won’t actually have a place (ie our beautiful planet called Earth) to have the debates about abortion etc which Dobson et al seem to want to prioritise (if any of us are still alive to care about and protect the yet-to-be-born). Surely the Gospel of Jesus Christ must be about submitting to the reign of God in every dimension of life, including the use of our vehicles, what we do with our rubbish, how we help solo mums care for unexpected children, and how we offer the Gospel to them. If anyone would like to come to Palmerston North and view one of the biggest wind farms on the planet – yes New Zealand is a world leader in being “clean and green” – then I’d be happy to host them! Hugh Kemp.



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Ted Voth Jr

posted March 8, 2007 at 10:57 pm


Remember that Dr Dobson is fearful of public debate, more given to laying down thunderbolts from Olympus than taking chances on being personally bested in dialog. He early on in his career ceased giving personal interviews when it turned out he couldn’t control the published output of the interview. Ultimately a frightened, secretive little bully-boy of the type of his allies Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld: ‘My way or the highway.’ Pray for him.



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Peter Attwood

posted March 8, 2007 at 10:58 pm


Global warming isn’t a great moral issue as opposed to the sanctity of life, because it IS about the sanctity of life – drastic climate change causes lots of people to die, and unpleasantly. In fact, Dobson shows no particualar concern for “sanctity of life.” Does he care about the thousands of babies killed in the belly by mercury emissions permitted by Bush and his rich friends so they can make money? Does he care about the 100,000s killed in Iraq due to the wanton aggression there which he heartily supports – justifying these deaths exactly as abortionists do: the need for these innocent deaths in order to further some essential purpose in his eyes? And another thing. It’s not about the earth being destroyed. It’s about the earth being made uninhabitable for US, vomiting us out because of our violence. There’s no need to appeal to our moral nobility or selflessness – the Bible doesn’t much. It’s about taking care of ourselves; if we abuse the earth, we’re pooping in our own well.



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Tom Lock

posted March 8, 2007 at 11:07 pm


Well said, Mr. Wallis. As long as Dobson wants to talk about the sactity of human life, why not debate the statement, “War is NOT pro-life!” Say hello to any of the old Community of Communities folks for me. Tom Lock



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Milo

posted March 8, 2007 at 11:10 pm


This is another example of why religion is delusion of the mind. Christians, as well as Muslims, are not concerned with alleviating the suffering of this world; either for their fellow humans or the poor creatures on this planet. They are only concerned about their dogmas, instutions, are ridiculous mythical stories instead science that can inform us of the problems and solutons. Now Christians are debating whether they should play a role in saving the planet from destruction. How absurd. Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, et al, or right. I suggest Chrsitains get busy and start reading. Milo



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Rick

posted March 8, 2007 at 11:14 pm


Human beings have had a significant impact on the environment (and our bodies as humans), air and water quality from fossil fuels, chemicals, deforestation the planets jungles, etc. Having said that I am not so sure that global warming is primarily due to the influence of human beings. Some reports continue to be made that global warming may be due to cycles of the sun or the cycle the earth is now in its orbit around the sun. These same reports, which I cannot verify, state that warming trends are also occurring on Mars and other planets. If this is in fact true, then this is very revealing. Perhaps it is a combination of the two. As advanced as we perceive our science to be, we lack the long term knowledge of our solar systems cycles and our scientific knowledge is still in its infancy. For many reasons we need to break the cycle that big oil, a major source of global pollution, has on the planet including — five trillion dollar strangle hold. The lust and pursuit of oil funds aggression, militarism, terrorism and the run off from leakage, tailpipe emissions, etc. are polluting our water (streams, ground water, and oceans). As to Dobson and morality, American Christianity s affiliation with politics and government has corrupted Christianity. We have drifted from an emphasis on Jesus ministry, his teachings and mission and the path that he has instructed us to follow towards the Kingdom of God. As we have drifted we have brought into our theology, the church and to the cross what we want, what we feel is best, what will benefit us. Jesus was very clear about the cost of not obeying and following him — a fact that does not seem to get much attention in the majority of churches in America.PS. I hear very little about the continued rise of the pentagons budget. Given Eisenhower s parting warning, Martin Luther Kings After Vietnam speech , and the flurry of books being written about the demise of empires and their impact on humanity — have you considered writing on this issue? Militarism enslaves, oppresses and sucks the life out of our ability or desire to address the issues faced by the poor of this country and the world. May the Holy Spirit continue to move each of us towards being the disciples we need to become, to bring the Kingdom of God nearer to each individual on this planet?



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Allan Richardson

posted March 8, 2007 at 11:18 pm


Part of the tension here may be due to the rather narrow understanding of “Christian” that has pervaded the debate in this nation for some time. Although most Christians, on both the “left” and the “right”, are good decent fairminded INDIVIDUALS, there is a movement that has arisen in the past few decades, become allied with powerful economic and political interests, and persuaded many of our Christian brothers and sisters that theirs is the “only” way to read the Gospel of Christ. The goals of the economic interests, as shown by their behavior, include returning our middle class economy to a third world economy of a 1-tenth percent permanently wealthy class and the rest of us in dire poverty, as in the days of Jesus. The goals of their political allies, as shown by their behavior, include replacing our free republic (gradually, so we don’t notice it) with a militaristic, authoritarian state as described by Orwell in “1984” (I won’t use the F-word, but technically that is what it would be), where “freeedom” is for those who can buy it and not cross the authorities. Such an economy and such a polity would, of course, support each other, and remain in power forever, unless Jesus comes back. And that is what these false prophets are telling Christians to count on! As for the Rapture, the verses where Jesus is quoted as prophesying the fall of Jerusalem refer not to being “taken” by God but to being “taken” (and not in a good way!) by invading Roman soldiers, as happened in 70 AD and again in 135. A true follower of Jesus would not count on being in the “raptured” minority, and would not rejoice in it if he/she were; such a follower would rejoice in the martyrdom resulting from being “left behind” to witness. But of course a true follower of Jesus would not anticipate the end of the world with happiness, but with dread on behalf of everyone else who would suffer. Besides, the prophecies may be intended NOT to describe what God WANTS and INTENDS to do, but the natural result of what WE MAY DO, AND GOD IS ASKING US NOT TO DO! Such an interpretation is more compatible with what Jesus was like when He was with us on Earth, than a warlike, “kill them all and let God sort them out” mentality that actually intends to START the final war and destroy our planet. How would we Christians be any better than those Muslim extremists who, with the labels reversed, have exactly the same goal? This “Christian right” is neither. It is a movement of false prophets, like the Inquistor in Dostoevsky’s story, who tells Jesus Himself, while torturing Him on the rack, that the Church (not solely the Catholic Church, either) has CORRECTED His MISTAKE of not worshipping Satan to receive the power of the world’s kingdoms … because doing so has “converted” far more souls than Jesus’ approach did. I commend Jim Wallis for his work in correcting these false prophets. If we truly care about what Jesus would want us to be doing when He returns, we would be doing the best we can to make the world better (TIKKUN OLAM, as our Jewish brethren call it) as if it were to endure forever, even if we believe that God will be destroying it soon. I am sure that God does not want US to destroy it; that would be assuming His prerogative. And perhaps His intent is to keep our descendants here for several thousand or million more years as long as we are neither foolish enough to kill OURSELVES nor wise enough to reach the point where ALL OF US will be resurrected as Jesus was! So to make the world better, all of us, both privately AND through the election of government officials who care about the world’s future (and the re-election of those who prove they were not lying about it), must work together. Let us debate in a respectful way about means, not about whether to try or not. And as for the “sexual” moral issues, we all can witness to INDIVIDUALS without having to impose our morality by force on those individuals who disagree; leave room for intelligent family planning by couples and prevention of unwanted pregnancy by “(mis)coupled singles”; and have the humility to realize that some of us are actually MADE different sexually than the rest by God and have to struggle with what that means. Remember, everything is in God’s hands. And all of us ARE God’s hands. Shalom, Salaam, Pax Christi, and God bless you all in Jesus’ name.



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wayne

posted March 8, 2007 at 11:54 pm


We must remember that the Bible says that we must be good stewards of what god has entrusted to us. I believe that 21st century americans live too rich & waste too much of these rescources. We also dont care enough about the poverty of our 3rd world christian brothers. On the other hand, our government has created many “problems” to give them an excuse to “fix” it, usually thereby making a bigger problem> I think that global warming may be one of those problems. When I was growing up, we were taught in school about the coming ice age. Did that happen? So, how do we know that in 50 yrs, they wont change their mind again? I think we need to start lookinng to God instead of the government to help us solve all our problems. That is why I support the U S Constitution Party who feels that way also!!! Wayne



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Cyndi

posted March 9, 2007 at 12:16 am


If the rapture is upon us, why worry about the environment? For 2000 years the imminent endtimes have blinded us Christians to longterm responsibility. If we are about to be caught up in the rapture, then sex is the only moral issue.



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Mel

posted March 9, 2007 at 12:16 am


All these great moral issues Jim Wallis wants to debate with Jim Dobson go right back to creation vs. evolution? I would venture to say that both individuals don’t trust the Bible’s historical record in Genesis 1 and trust instead the opinions of men. I would like to see Mr. Wallis debate Ken Ham and then you’ll see that the great moral issues are directly related and cannot be separated from creation/ evolution. I would also like to see Jim Wallis debate John Lofton of the American View and it would become very apparent that Mr. Wallis has a view of government inconsistent with Scripture but saturated with coveteousness, while Mr, Lofton holds a view of government far more consistent with the Bible and true to the ideals and prinicples of freedom.



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Gary Lee Parker

posted March 9, 2007 at 12:25 am


Everytime I hear a call to debate Jim dobson, I am reminded what Dr. Dobson said on his radio show some 2 decades ago about his father, Rev. Jimmy Dobson. His father did not really approve of his writing the books he wrote for publicity and his father appeared to finally say something like–all right, write your books, but just be there when your life on this earth is done. I see his father, Rev. Jimmy Dobson, attempting to get his son to relize the most important of the Christian faith to live holy lives toward all people and all of God’s creation in excellent stewardship. The amazing thing is that I see in the writings of his daughter, Danae, with her “Woof” books the desire to accept all people with the same God-given love as God accepts us as well as loving and taking care of God’s creastion for the next generation. Thank you. God’s love and forgiveness to everyone.



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peacestartswithme.blogspot.com

posted March 9, 2007 at 12:27 am


For the millions who may die as a result of famine, drought, or floods because of global warming, there will be no chance to learn about Christ. We cannot evangelize to people who are dead.



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John

posted March 9, 2007 at 12:43 am


Why do any of these people want to debate it rather than do something? It’s not as if the majority of people either care – or even know about – James Dobson. Recent research from George Barna showed he is unknown to the vast majority of Americans. So who cares what he thinks?



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Timothy Kelley

posted March 9, 2007 at 12:54 am


I served on the Social Action Commission of the National Association of Evangelicals for 15 years. I was president of commission for three years. I have not participated for over nine year in the NAE meetings. I am so glad that finally someone in the NAE has the vision and courage to speak out about something greater than a right or left wing adgenda. I support Mr. Cizik 100%. I seem to think that there were those who thought the slavery and the slave trade was “not a moral issue”. Thank God for men of moral character like Wilberforce and Woolman who raised the level of debate. Today we need men like Jim Wallis and others who will bring Evangelicalism back to it’s global vision.



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Pat

posted March 9, 2007 at 1:01 am


Cindi, My grandfather did not want my mother to waste her time with a college education — because he was convinced Jesus was coming soon and it was a waste of time. My grandmother luckily interceded and my mother went to college.My mother is now 84 years old and my grossly superstitious grandfather died twenty years earlier.. It will be the same with you. How much destruction will you do to the world and future generations before YOU die. Now the stakes are higher — people like you are aiding and abetting a villain like G Bush to make the world a worse place for future generations. Holy holy is that? Answer: It’s criminal and selfish.



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Lisa

posted March 9, 2007 at 1:01 am


Last year I had to leave my job at a Christian school as a new administrator came in and hijacked an independent school for the purposes of people like Dr. Dobson. Me, and my colleagues who resigned with me have had to come to the very difficult reality that people like James Dobsom should not be considered Christians any longer, but simply the “religious right.” There is nothing Christ-like in their hate filled judgment of others. Jesus warned us of wolves in sheeps clothing and to judge others by the fruit. James Dobson no longer produces good fruit. It was because of his leading that the sheep that follow him endorsed George W. Bush for president and because of his leading that Bush was able to use every ounce of his presidency to enrich the wealthy through war, legislation as well as fraud and deception at the cost of tens of thousands of people who were LOVED BY GOD and created in His image. We can not forget that. I will not call him a follower of Christ.



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Sheldon Greene

posted March 9, 2007 at 1:02 am


It is sad, but Dr. Dobson simply doesn’t understand God. Shel



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shannon

posted March 9, 2007 at 1:04 am


I believe the evidence is substantial–and growing–for the fact of climate change. The social question is, what do we do? The moral question is what should we do, does what we do for good or ill alter ultimate destiny? What we do in this life does matter. Ignoring or arguing about a process does not change its’ existence, and it is not good stewardship of our gift of the earth. What is the greatest commandment–love God (and what God has said is good–his creation). Love one another–teaching compassion, kindness, and consideration follow God’s example to us in Christ. These values are also at the “heart” of the ills Mr. Dobson complains of. People must care about the wellbeing of fellow humans and life as God-given before the deep ills are cured.



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Angela Flight

posted March 9, 2007 at 1:15 am


As usual, people like Dobson are more interested in trying to control the behavior of others than taking responsibility for themselves and their impact on the environment, which in the end affects everyone, the poor disapportionately.



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Alethea27

posted March 9, 2007 at 1:16 am


In losing control of their sheep, Dobson, Falwell and Perkins are not only seeing their influence diminishing, but I bet their wallets are getting thinner, too, and there lies the real problem!



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Jim

posted March 9, 2007 at 1:17 am


Why on earth would Dr. Dobson agree to a debate?He has nothing to gain, and everything to lose.He s wrong, and most reasonable fair-minded people can see it. Well-informed, educated people can see Dr. Dobson is afraid. He s afraid he ll lose his base and influence in the Republican Party. Afraid the collation of the religious radicals might fall out of lock step.Dr. Dobson is afraid of becoming irrelevant, and he should be afraid. The radical right have seen their day come and go. The Compassion of Christ is the future, while the Dogma of Dobson is the past.



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Gary Langenwalter

posted March 9, 2007 at 1:27 am


I wish that Dr. Dobson actually meant what he said. 1.I, also, believe in the sanctity of marriage – I believe that marriage should be sacred. That means no cheating on one’s spouse, sharing all things equally, and a few other details that most conservative Christians choose to ignore. (Incidentally, I believe that a person’s sexual preference should not prevent them from getting married – if two people of the same sex wish to pledge to have and hold through sickness and health till death do them part, I will wish them ever possible blessing.)



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John

posted March 9, 2007 at 1:30 am


James Dobson and friends, like many other self-proclaimed Christians, seem to have forgotten that for the true meaning of their religious principles to be relevent, consideration for all human life must be considered, respected, and acknowledged. In the wake of fairly recent climate extremes experienced throughout the world, global warming is a concern with international consequences. Even if all scientific evidence that human activity is not responsible for climate change should emerge, preparation for and prevention of, further negative consequences from these changes must be addressed by everyone in order for humanity to continue. Homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and abortion are at this point “non-issues.” In spite of what has been documented in the Bible, we must remember that these writings were recorded and enforced for political and social reasons relevant to the time and place. We must also realize that whether we believe that the writings were orchestrated by God, they were formulated in the limitations of the human mind and knowledge of the times. Their are greater moral issues to be considered in the present day than these archaic responses to prejudicial and personal leanings.Global warming, current wars and famines experienced throughout the world, the care and sustainment of the poor, hungry, and those being persecuted by others are of greater, and more immediate moral value and concern. These issues have the potential to change life as we know it in ways we have yet to fathom.



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Marge

posted March 9, 2007 at 1:31 am


For the life of me I cannot understand why anyone would begrudge doing a little something to reduce the causes (or not) of global warming, just in case it IS, IN FACT, TRUE. There is much emperical evidence that asthma and other lung diseases are affected by pollution of our air by automobile exhaust and fossil fuel burning. Doesn’t everyone agree on that? Why is it so difficult to focus on that aspect of the “global warming” argument? I believe that we are going to be here a long, long time; in fact, until we get it right. Why not make the air and the earth better?



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Colin J. Guthrie, Ph.D.

posted March 9, 2007 at 1:47 am


I really would like to know just what relevance to anything a squabble among Je$u$ Bu$ine$$ entrepreneurs and franchisees might be. The nonsense of one Elmer Gantry “debating” another Elmer Gantry over which “issue” is more important than another is so laughable as to be pathetic. Elmer I says: “The Book says this.” and Elmer II says: “The Book says that”. And neither of them makes any more sense than the other. And the only matter really “at issue” is: Who rakes in the most in the collection plate. Or perhaps, who is going to have the biggest flock of sheep to shear in the newest mega-church. There are perhaps two (2) “proof-texts” in use that best describe the whole “Evangelical” scam. The first of these goes: “When the blind lead the blind, shall they not both fall into the pit?” And the second is also to be found – every word of it – in “The Book” as well: “And Judas went out and hanged himself. Make haste! And go thou and do likewise.”



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M. Reagan

posted March 9, 2007 at 1:49 am


Looks like Mr. Dobson also wants to wiretap your offices Jim… http://microclesia.com/?p=109



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Mel

posted March 9, 2007 at 1:54 am


The hysteria of global warming has more to do with agendas than science. It is a chicken-little ploy to cower the bleeting sheep in a democracy to call for more government regulation and domination. There may indeed be some global warmning but not near the degree to which many people even Christians are pushing the panic button. How do they know man is inducing it? What is the repeatable experiment or definitive test showing conclusively that man is the culprit for raising the tempurature? Political agendas from the power-hungry freedom-grubbing United Nations state politcally-massaged claims like scientific concensus to make their biased and slanted case. Give tha facts while not making the mistake of confusing correlation with causation.



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Nicole

posted March 9, 2007 at 1:55 am


I can understand where the letter signers are coming from. Global warming is (obviously) a global issue. However the issues that Dr. Dobson raises are personal. I think that if we can get the personal right first, then we can pull together and attack the global issues. You really cant have one without the other. I dont see what this debate would accomplish. Perhaps if Jim Wallis spent more time combating Global Warming than arguing about it, something could actually be done. The thoughts of both parties are valid and I think it’s a shame that Jim Wallis had to put out a personal challenge to Dr Dobson instead of acting maturely and possibly taking on Dobson’s remarks as constructive criticism and using it to better himself as a person. I’m disappointed Jim. – Nicole, QLD, Australia



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Dylan Sims

posted March 9, 2007 at 1:58 am


The problem with Mr. Dobson is that he has failed in his job so he can only attack and demonize others in order to continue raising the money he needs. As president of Focus on the Family, his stated purpose is to preserve the family and reverse divorce and marriage problems. Despite the many years, he has been in ministry, these figures have not budged. If he had a normal job with an employer, he would have been fired by now. Instead, he demonizes homosexuals and blames them for his failures. Homosexuals do not cause heterosexual divorce and do not affect the heterosexual family in anyway. But Dobson has figured out the sad truth that the easiest way to raise money is to have an enemy. If he would read his Bible, he would see that there are 3-4 scriptures that could possibly be about homosexuals (depending on the interpretation) and maybe 2 about abortion. There are hundreds of scriptures about taking care of God’s creation, caring for the poor, not favoring the rich, paying your employees a fair wage, etc. Just based on the comparative number of verses in the Bible, what do you think God’s priorities are? Certainly not James Dobson’s priorities. Also, in regard to homosexuals; if they truly are sinners, what did Jesus do? He hung out with the sinners and loved them. The ONLY people he condemned were the self-righteous, hypocritical religious leaders. If only the religious right would read their Bibles, this country and the world would be in a lot better shape.



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Audrey Brown

posted March 9, 2007 at 1:58 am


“So, today, I am inviting you to have that debate about what the great moral issues of our time really are. Again, let s ask a leading evangelical university to invite us both and host a public debate…” Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, GA? I’m a student there, and I would LOVE to discuss the possibility of hosting the debate there.



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Carol

posted March 9, 2007 at 1:58 am


Unfortunately, as I read Dr. Dobson’s et al complaints about Mr Cizik’s comments, I am reminded that those who believe that Christianity is a one issue religion – be that issue the sanctity of life, marriage, evangelism,or other issues seem to forget that we were given divine commission to rule over the earth – that includes stewardship so that all that we rule over can be perpetuated.Sadly, while Dr D has many good things to say about family life, I turn my radio dial elsewhere when he gets on his religious right highhorse and preaches intolerance and hatred. it is high time our leaders realize that Christianity is neither left or right but Christ centered and focused on Glod’s glory. Destroying what the Almighty had created and given us is dishonoring and disrespectful to the Lord.



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ron

posted March 9, 2007 at 2:37 am


I am reading these comments – everyone, from what I can figure out, is missing Mr. Wallis’s point. He is asking Dr. Dobson for a discussion about ‘what are the great moral issues of our time?’ Global warming may or may not be one of the issues. We are loosing focus by pointing out one issue – maybe we could really have a debate about what should be listed as the moral evangelical agenda. That is my thought.



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LeRoy

posted March 9, 2007 at 2:45 am


I think that the moral issues as outlined by Jim Dobson are really missing the point of moral issues. If the sanctity of life is an issue, then anything, anything which destroys life is a moral issue. That includes climate change, hunger, poverty, use of the world’s resources, and most assuredly war, whether it is on terror or just plain outright war on any front. How can one claim to honor life when you refuse to really be concerned about the living? Except for the fact that so many people in our country seem to follow the teachings of Family on the Focus and like groups, and they actually do occasionally have something to say, I personally don’t take much stock in what Dobson, Robinson, Fallwell, etc. have to say. For my money, the religious right doesn’t really have much claim on the name of Jesus. I think that Jesus would have as much to say to them as he did with the Pharisees and Scribes of his own day.



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steve

posted March 9, 2007 at 2:50 am


both dobson and yourself have left the primary purpose of the Bible. These issues, while important, are not the Gospel. We need to be able to be able to tell what issues are the ones that would keep people away from being able to recieve God’s forgivenesss. These other things are so very peripheral yet they have become the focus of social activism on both the left and right. If both sides want to be politicians or social workers or environmentalist they should do it as best they can. But please stop linking Christ’s holy name to issues like this and measuring people’s christianity by these issues. It makes Christianty look like nothing really significant in the scheme of things.



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Ward

posted March 9, 2007 at 2:53 am


Dobson is simply burning himself at the stake.



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Ginny Witte

posted March 9, 2007 at 2:56 am


Calling for a debate with Jim Dobson and friends only sets up and perpetuates a “we” vs. “them” mentality and not reconciliation. While I totally agree with your views, I find it very sad that you seem to be itching for a fight. As much as we may disagree with the Dobson folks, they are still our brothers/sisters in Christ, whether they recognize that or not. Our attitude toward them is as much a moral issue as their lack of respect for God’s creation. The question is, what can we say or do that will defuse the fight and bring reconciliation?



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Jerry

posted March 9, 2007 at 3:02 am


Why don’t you ask Baylor University if they’d host such a debate? I think there’s a good chance they would. Many Baylor students and faculty are staunchly evangelical, and many of them have just successfully opposed coal-fired plants by TXU.



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LeRoy

posted March 9, 2007 at 3:19 am


I wonder why Jesus spent so much time healing people? How many times did he ask them what they believed, how did they believe, what criteria did they use to decide that they had a right to ask him, the Son of Man, God’s only Son, to bring healing to them? What was Jesus really talking about? What are the two most important commandments? Love God whole heartedly and your neighbor as yourself. Everything else is simply commentary on how to do this. Everything. And who is our neighbor? What story did he tell to illustrate it? One about a person outside of the godly cirlce of righteous people was the one who showed who the neighbor was, and who followed the precepts of God. That’s what Jesus was about. Any time you get away from that, you have lost your way. That’s why all the issues of war, peace, social justice, human dignity, hunger, etc. are the crucial issues for Christians to be about. If we Christians were as concerned about following Christ and his way as some claim they are, then the issues of abortion, marriage, homosexually would be simply part of the discussion of how best to care for all of creation, not the main focus. For those who really want to follow Biblical teachings, I suggest you read Numbers 5:11-31. Ask any woman if she thinks this ought to be a Biblical guideline that should be followed today! We need to get beyond some of the self-righteous nit-picking and follow the course Jesus set for healing the whole world.



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Robert

posted March 9, 2007 at 3:25 am


read this article and then talk about climate change. http://www.reason.com/news/show/27702.html the eruption of mount pinatubo in the phillipines had 1000 times all the greenhouse gases humankind has created in our entire existence. how long have volcanoes been erupting? i am not saying we don`t need to do anything but i am saayng that we are not as much the cause as many would have us believe. globalwarming bringing about an ice age is a natural cycle of the earth as proven by geologic and acheologic evidence. and iie age occurs every 10 -12 thousand years on our planet and the last one was around 12 thousand years ago.



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C. Wiebe

posted March 9, 2007 at 3:37 am


Thank you, Mr. Wallace. As always, your words have credibility and you speak with rationality rather than emotional self-indulgence. However, I believe it is HIGHLY doubtful the likes of James Dobson will address your challenge for a meaningful debate regarding moral issues of any ilk. James Dobson has fallen from the respectable place he held many years ago, only to become a self-serving, overly ambitious, politically power-hungry hypocrit of the most offensive kind. He’s afraid if evangelical christians pay attention to anything other than his “pet” platform issues, he will lose alot of that power he has worked so diligently to aquire. This is a man, along with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, who has lost sight of the priorities emphasized by Jesus, only to fill his field of vision with a glorified image of himself. You will get no respectful reply or honest exchange with such a man. He is a disgrace to real Christianity.



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John Kamphof

posted March 9, 2007 at 3:39 am


What does the Christian faith have to do with ethics and morals? If Christianity is merely about morals or even about the great moral issues of our time we might be better of with some other moral basesd religion. I thought that the Christian faith was about the free grace of our incarnated God, and the response of grace from those of us who have thankfully accepted that free grace. I read in the scriptures that we who have accepted the grace of our lord are to share that grace and love. It is about forgivness, about shareing, about love and justce for the poor and the widow, not some right wing, or left wing political moral agenda. When I read the scriptures the only time Jesus judged people harshly was when he judged the leaders of the church; the good moral people. He forgave those who were broken and hurt. Lets focus on the heart of the gospel and it ain’t about morals and right living. lv



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tomas

posted March 9, 2007 at 3:48 am


first of all we must ask: what is my motive for writing here? am i bored? escaping? passionately interested? seeking some way to make a difference, yet not clear on how to do it? I don’t believe that belief is what counts (joke) – what counts is ones actions (serious). does integrity and kindness resonate throughout my life as a reflection of my acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah? Of course Jesus challenged the money changers and the priveleged religious elite who were benefiting from collusion with the romans – but what form does this take today? for a true Christian there has to be purification and there has to be service. perhaps it is easy to place too much value on “debate”. how am i going to change what some people believe? should that be my goal? but at the same time how do we take a stand against those whose beliefs may be causing harm and suffering? how are we using our precious life energy? what master are we serving? that is what I am thinking. and yes I am probably escaping by writing…



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Alison Smith

posted March 9, 2007 at 3:56 am


It is encouraging to see so many Christians finally giving heed to the global warming reality. James Dobson’s public endorsment of Ann Coulter on his website and this most recent, limited view of our Christian moral responsibilities has been a wake-up call for me because I have always respected his commitment to encouraging families in the ways of Christ. I believe he is being pulled off course by the Conservative Right agenda and is no longer following the leading of the Holy Spirit.



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Danielle

posted March 9, 2007 at 4:02 am


You rock my world Mr. Wallis! I would really dig it if Dobson would debate with you,but I think he’s a narrow minded person at this stage in his life. Your not,and you speak from a space of wisdom often. Thank you,and bless you for keeping your mind growing,and open to new ideas,and effecting positiveness in our world. Blessings to you!



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Phil

posted March 9, 2007 at 4:05 am


That debate idea sounds like a great opportunity to better define morality. For example, I’d like to hear solid moral reasons why it’s wrong to kill an unborn child but it’s okay to kill an adult as long as it’s a ‘police action’ or ‘war’. People like Dobson, who deserve respect for speaking out, have hijacked the term “pro-life” to fit their narrow definition, specifically the anti-abortion movement. Now I don’t disagree with the anti-abortion belief–it’s just that when those ‘prolifers’ promote killing people in the name of patriotism that I say they’re not really ‘pro-life'; they’re just anti-abortionists. So I say, go for the debate. Let’s us Christians fight each other over this stuff instead of promoting the gospel that Christ brought.



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Anthony Egan

posted March 9, 2007 at 4:16 am


That Dobson & co. don’t want to get off their usual soapboxes about private morality in the face of ecological disaster is not really surprising to me. They are not alone in this among Christian churches. One is sometimes left with a sense that these church leaders are opting for a ‘conscious irrelevance’ – addressing issues that can get at individuals (often marginalized figures)while not offending the power elites.Of course the issue of family values is linked to the broader issues – nothing like drought, famine, tsunamis (or Stinger missiles and cluster bombs) to break up a family! At least thats my impression – and I may have less insight than our good & holy brethren. We cannot mess with the environment & not pay the price. We depend on the environment for key resources – food, water etc. Destroying environment through pollution, mismanaged economy, overpopulation is going to destroy us unless we take the issue seriously ….whether we practise proper family values or not. Indeed if we don’t address environment now the future scenarios could be even worse for the family: 1. Resource conflicts over water, land etc. Casualties: families caught in the crossfire. 2. Rigid state restrictions on births, akin to China population limitation, made necessary by depleted resources. 3. Family breakdowns as people are forced to ‘go it alone’ in search of basic resources. These may seem like sci-fi images {now}but many are saying that resource wars over water may begin within 50 years.Our moral duty is to protect the planet. Maybe our Christian ethics must be rooted more in an ethic of creation & sustaining the earth as a whole than in a narrow human-centred ethic – if only for a narrow, human-centred reason that its in the best interests of ourselves to do so!



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Diane

posted March 9, 2007 at 4:16 am


The environment and its destruction are indeed relevant topics for discussion among Christians. It’s a matter of basic stewardship. The earth does not “belong” to us. It was given to us by the Father and we are to be responsible stewards. Any one can clearly see that we are NOT. I have heard others say that the end times are coming so it really doesn’t matter if the earth is decimated by our greed and rampant consumerism. People have been predicting the end of the world almost since its beginning. Remember, Christ said that no one will know the time of His return.



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A hermit

posted March 9, 2007 at 5:11 am


The issue really isn’t ‘global warming’-the issue is the ignorance, materialism and greed that pushes human ‘consumption’ of the earth and its resources. The materialism and greed that poses far more threat to family life, and that helps push abortion and war. The materialism and greed that is the most predominent ‘sin’ of humans; and that Dobson and co. choose largely to ignore.



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Paul Aarden

posted March 9, 2007 at 5:42 am


It would appear that as the perception of things getting globally worse on so many fronts become ever stronger so those who believe they are ‘in the know,’ theologically speaking, start taking on ever more prescriptive demeanour. The Pharisees in biblical times did this if I recall. I’m not suggesting anyone here is a Pharisee but we are tending to behave like them sometimes. There are now so many moral issues that some would prescribe the prioritisation of these issues (while Rome burns) from their own perspective, interpretation or vested interest. A sad state indeed. What I have learnt as I have become older and seen more of the world and its ways is that we know so little and furthermore, that in realising that we don’t understand do our understanding is enhanced. Just as we have to surrender to be free, God works us in this way. If God’s way are not our ways (and they certainly aren’t) then I suggest some humility when it comes to deciding what God would do in our situation – we may well see that our responses are 180 degrees out of synch as God invariably does the exact opposite of what we would do. By way of example Jesus said that the one who has no sin should cast the first stone and here we are debating with stones aplenty. We are called to address the world just as we are called to take care of the world we have been given in Trust. Lastly, given that we’re all supposed to be on the same side and use the same user manual God gave us in the Bible, perhaps the bickering would satisfy the opposition and the oppostion only.



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John Freer

posted March 9, 2007 at 5:51 am


Jim Wallis: Thank you and Thank God for you, a Godly and prophetic voice crying in the wlkderness. I only wish Dr. Dobson would debate you but I’m sure he won’t. He’s won’t rish being in the refining and purifying light of Godly God bless you, John Freer, MD



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Bird in Flight

posted March 9, 2007 at 6:08 am


What if Christ’s death and resurrection IS the coming of the kingdom he spoke of…ie. his gift of grace through the Holy Spirit makes it possible for mankind to surrender to God’s will and re-estblish the intimate love relationship God intended? What if we live forever in Him both in THIS LIFE and after death? What if many people who call themselves “Christians” don’t understand the need for complete surrender to God’s will and are therefore not true Believers? If these people are not Believers guided by the Holy Spirit, are they then motivated primarily by their own wills and egos? What if part of the Grand Commission is to work toward the healing of ALL God’s creation? What if God loves the whole world as much as he loves humanity? We are facing an environmental crisis that is much bigger than the possiblity of being inconvenienced by higher oil prices. Dwindling water resources and major climate change world wide are going to be the issues we’ll face in our own lifetime. Only those motivated by greed, ignorance or fear deny this truth. And tell me…why would anyone base their perception of reality or truth on reports by the media, political pundits and popular publications? Read the scientific journals. If the author says there’s no such thing as global warming check to see who funded the research.If I had children I’d would be spurred to agressively investigate global warming theory and act quickly to make changes for their and other children’s sakes.



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Scot McClamma

posted March 9, 2007 at 6:22 am


I don’t know if this was mentioned before, I didn’t take the time to read all of the above posts, but it would appear that the drafters of this letter, in speaking for the Religious Right, are talking out of both sides of their collective mouth.”we believe the NAE lacks the expertise to settle the controversy, and that the issue should be addressed scientifically and not theologically” How convenient for these guys to start saying that religion should stay out of science. I wonder if they would feel the same way if Creationism was banned. How dare they condemn a fellow believer when they don’t even pretend to live by the same standard that they demand of others. This is nothing short of hypocrisy. It’s a shame that Dobson has allowed the money and power of his political affiliations to corrupt him. It really taints his ministry.



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Liz Hornbaker

posted March 9, 2007 at 6:38 am


I think that we have an ethical and moral responsibility to be careful and good caretakers for this world that God so lovingly provided for us. Don’t we owe our progeny a stable and functional environment as well? So many of the “religious community have been emphasizing their concept of “family values” and continually haranguing us about the sanctity of human life. Why do they have no sense of responsibility for the world that our families will inherit in future generations? Doesn’t the quality of life hold any importance in the consideration of maintaining the sanctity of human life?



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nstuva

posted March 9, 2007 at 6:49 am


I am writing this, to a certain point, to answer those who have commented on the importance of ‘Missions.’ There is a certain place in your heart that starts to bleed when you see Gods creation raped and spoiled. Living in Tanzania has provided me with just a small glimpse of the destruction that humans can do to God’s gift of the environment. I have stood on hills that have been completely stripped of their trees in order to make way for farm land that is poor at best. Then when the rain comes, it washes away another 6 inches to a foot of precious top soil. I have listen to stories of children who travel up to five hours away from home, facing many dangers to collect fire wood for cooking. I have heard the old men speak of the former glory of Kilimanjaro, and the great ice cap that is almost completely gone. I walk passed burning heaps of tires and trash daily, and smell the stench of an open sewer on my shoes. All of these remind me of the times when Israel was punished by God. Punishment came when God people did not care for the land (letting it rest every 7th year), oppressed the poor (Year of Jubilee), and miss treated the foreigner. It was the combination of these things that brought judgment. In my mind, I see that God was deeply concerned with all aspects of his creation. We in turn must be concerned as well. I did not realize that when I became a missionary, I would become an environmentalist, a hydrologist, and a botanist in addition to preaching and teaching the word of God. I encourage those living in the states to engage all issues that effect life, even if they do not directly effect your life. Read and study the word of God with the help of the Holy Spirit. Romans 2:8-9 says that ‘all things were placed under Jesus, yet even though we do not see all things under Him, we SEE JESUS..’ As we look to Jesus, and see Him, I believe that our perspective will change. We will begin to see the issues that He wants us to be concerned with. All that to say, “Go get ‘em Jim Wallis.”



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Brendan Conroy

posted March 9, 2007 at 10:04 am


Breda O Brien is one of Ireland’s most dynamic, articulate and tireless advocate of marriage, the rights of our tiniest human beings and respect for human life at all stages and in all its privations. She writes a weekly column in Ireland’s ‘paper of record’ The Irish Times where she writes broadly out of a Catholic ‘seamless garment’ model of human dignity – her view would be that all of these great moral issues of the day are inherently interconnected and to focus on some to the exclusion of others eventually results in a body with some very well developed systems and organs but with a few withered limbs and and atrophied tissues. The hip bone’s connect to the leg bone… This is a column she wrote recently whose title played deliberately on the fact that she is widely recognised in Ireland as coming from a passionate Pro-Life position… Global warming is the ultimate pro-life issueMost of us, oddly enough, don’t relish being told that if we don’t change our ways, our planet is going to be wracked simultaneously with floods and droughts, potentially resulting in famine and millions of displaced people. Most people’s reaction seems to be to metaphorically pull a large, fluffy duvet over their heads and hide, or alternatively, to pour scorn on anyone suggesting such a doomsday scenario. All of which probably means that Al Gore is a very brave man. He has been criss-crossing America, and indeed, other parts of the world, with a slideshow that has a very simple message: global warming is a reality. Glaciers are melting, and so are polar ice-caps. In a very short time, perhaps mere decades, because of our profligate burning of fossil fuels, we could render this green and blue planet barren and inhospitable to human life. After viewing one of these slide-shows, a film producer suggested that Gore could reach far more people by making a movie. The result is An Inconvenient Truth, shown by the Green Party in a special preview last week in advance of its official release in Ireland. Gore might be considered doubly brave for embracing this mission, because in the US, he has a reputation for telling porkies in order to make himself look good. Bush supporters gleefully inquire how you can believe anything from a man who claimed to have invented the internet. Of course, Gore never claimed to have invented it. Those who really had a seminal role in its invention came to his defence, saying that Gore had sponsored crucial legislation and thus was right to claim some credit. Gore’s critics claim that An Inconvenient Truth is filled with junk science and exaggerations. Even to these unscientific eyes, An Inconvenient Truth does have some over-simplifications. It is very much made for an American audience, where there is even more resistance to the reality of global warming than there is in Ireland. Notoriously, despite being one of the world’s major polluters, the US failed to sign up to the Kyoto agreement aimed at reducing greenhouse gases. Mind you, we don’t exactly have the high moral ground in Ireland, because while we signed up, we used our favourite b al bocht tactic to get a derogation from the standards demanded of others. Yet here in Ireland we do not have the same level of nay-sayers that Gore has to contend with in the US, people who seem to suspect that he is some kind of closet communist determined to wreck the economy. Gore retorts that listening to environmentalist concerns could actually be good for the economy. Cars manufactured in the US cannot compete on the global stage because they are so fuel-inefficient and their emission levels are so high. Even China’s standards for cars are far in advance of the US. Gore, commonly perceived as having the dynamism and personality of a plank, is a revelation in this film. If he had managed to show the American people this relaxed, self-deprecating version of himself, there might have been none of that bother with hanging chads. He consistently emphasises hope. He reiterates that we already know the answers to the problem of global warming. We simply lack the political will to implement the solutions. Over and over, he presents global warming not only as the great moral issue of our time, but as an opportunity, as a potential issue that could unify the globe as people act together to solve the most serious dilemma the world has ever faced. Yet he is also guilty of over-simplification, and of underplaying the massive scale of change that is needed on an individual, family, corporate and institutional level. Unless there is a persuasive coalition of political, economic, social and spiritual forces, we will continue to flounder. We are light years away from the visionary leadership needed to mobilise popular support. Even in the most benign scenario, which is not as apocalyptic as Gore’s vision, we are still facing massive loss of species and irreversible damage. Political leadership alone will not be enough, if the manufacturing, financial and agricultural sectors do not begin to accept responsibility for the long-term good of this fragile planet. From a social point of view, our whole suburban and commuter-based lifestyle is based on vast consumption of fossil fuels. One unexpected benefit of attempting to tackle the problem may be the strengthening of local communities, as the concept of living and working within a confined area becomes a necessity. On a spiritual level, the churches and faiths have a valuable role to play. In this regard, with the notable exception of individuals like Fr Sean McDonagh, the Catholic Church has not given anywhere near enough leadership. The Protestant World Council of Churches has been promoting environmental awareness since the 1990s. The Catholic Church needs to rediscover a neglected tradition of stewardship. Global warming could be described as the ultimate pro-life issue. Unlike the popular media, which regularly casts doubt on the reality of global warming, or suggests that it is simply a natural phenomenon, the mainstream scientific community accepts that it is happening, and that it is being accelerated by the wilful wastefulness of the developed world. The only scientific dispute is about the degree of seriousness of the consequences. Gore does repeat one urban legend in the film to illustrate our failure to take action. He claims that a frog will leap out of boiling water, but will passively sit in water that is slowly heating up, until it is boiled to death. In reality, a frog thrown into hot water will probably die, and a frog in slowly heating water will struggle to escape. It is a small point, and one that might easily be changed. Gore could retain his analogy, including a very cute graphic where an over-heated frog is rescued and set down on a sun-lounger on a lily pad. All he needs to point out is that despite the urban legend, frogs do not sit and stew, but human beings currently appear content to boil slowly as our atmosphere heats up. It might neatly serve to illustrate that the average human who prefers to disregard the threat of global warming could fairly be assessed to be less intelligent than the average frog. 2006 The Irish Times



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jack drennan

posted March 9, 2007 at 10:23 am


Speaking as an evangelical Christian working as a minister in west belfast in Northern Ireland where we share an inter-face with nationalist Roman Catholics just a few yards away. I am amazed at the attitude of the religious right in the USA. For me there is no distinction when it comes to Christian morality betwwen the questions of private morality and public morality. Why would I be concerned for the rights of aborted babies and not for the millions of children, born and unborn in Africa and Asia who are subject to climate changes which affect their daily lives? How can I say that the life of a baby in the US or UK or Ireland or Europe is any more a question of morality than one born in the, so called “developing world”? We are struggling here with the issue of shared space withnthose who dissagree with each other over the very nature of the state and who should hold the power to govern it- is that a moral questio? Could I ask people like Dr Dobson if the evangelicals of this country should have anyrthing to say about sectarianism or is that also a distraction from the main issues of personal morality?



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Joanne Hibbert

posted March 9, 2007 at 11:11 am


I listen to a ‘Focus on the Family’ radio broadcast quite frequently on a christian radio station. I listen to Dr Dobson conduct skillful and caring interviews with people who appear on the radio show. The visitors on the radio show often show a openness to human failing and human weakness which i find striking – even though i am a evangelical christian (well ecumenical actually – I love alot about the catholic tradition and the free church, etc). There is a strong doctrinal basis which underpins Focus on the Family organisation. That’s positive! I really like listening to the broadcasts – they raise all sorts of issues about family life and human relationships and people often admit to their own limitations and weep with others. I feel these broadcasts are full of safe and wholesome and wise advice, teaching and reflection and i appreciate this start to my day. I also recieve ‘Sojourner’ bulletins. I have loved listening to Jim Wallis, he inspires me and he reflects my interests and Christ informed compassion for our culture and our society. I feel that Jim Wallis is someone who has a heartcry for the issues of our day and that he is someone who champions the cause of the poor, the voiceless, the people who are marginalised. He upholds the cause of the victim and he cares about social justice issues globally – the big picture, and often highlights the root causes. Jim seems to be a academic and he is surrendured to stand up for what is right and just. A prophetic voice, as biblical accounts and historical narratives illustrate, often challenges injustice in society and calls for repentance and to champion the cause of the poor. Ecological issues have so many consequences which can affect human populations especially those in developing nations who already have tremendous hardships. We cannot harden ourselves to that fact. It is a big issue and how we have treated gods creation is horrific. Surely impassioned and aware evangelical and christian leaders should be embracing ecological issues along with the other social justice and moral issues of our time. I warmly salute Jim Wallis. He is a wonderful spokesman for biblical christianity and christians who should involved in the issues of our times. I consider Dr Dobson to be impassioned also and to be enlightenend. He has stood firm in his love for Jesus and is a tremendously gifted leader in the christian community. Well, I am just a ordinary christian but we belong in the same family because of Jesus and the cross. I hope that Jim Wallis and James Dobson hug each other and even weep in one anothers arms and share their love for each other. Then i hope they have a fruitful and informed debate – and that Jim manages to peruede Dr Dobson to take up the cause of global issues as vital on the christian agenda!



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Jim Simpson

posted March 9, 2007 at 1:19 pm


So long as some/many “self-described” evangelicals continue to teach that the world was created 6,000 years ago they and those who follow them have no choice but to pour scorn on the truth of global warming.Their campaign is the clearest expression of “truthiness” currently in the public domain – and that says something when you think of head in the sand over Iraq, World Poverty, VA Health care for the victims of an unnecessary war in Iraq and the recent “fall guy’ Libby indictment.



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Allan Richardson

posted March 9, 2007 at 1:36 pm


An additional point can be made about the climate change (pollution) moral issue: there are TOO MANY OF US already for the planet to support COMFORTABLY! Population needs to be stabilized, if not reduced over the long term, humanely. Killing people by war or by pollution, aside from being immoral, only results in more frantic conception as parents want AT LEAST one child to support them in their old age. The fact is that third-world economic and cultural conditions encourage runaway births, while first-world conditions encourage responsible family planning. But the “morality” of some extreme religious people would outlaw means of preventing unwanted births, and in fact encourage excessive fertility. A cable documentary that runs occasionally praises a Christian family with FIFTEEN childres born of the couple, and more coming! While they may be blessed with the resources to support them (assuming those resources are acquired ethically), would not a BETTER Christian witness be to restrict their own production to one or two, and take in many orphaned or unwanted children? Just a thought. Shalom, Salaam, Pax Christi



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Carol Harrison

posted March 9, 2007 at 2:16 pm


I would be very interested in a debate between Jim Wallis and Dr. Dobson. The more information that is given publically is better for us to make informed decisions. Christians need to be involved in the issues of our time.



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Rev Stewart Pierson

posted March 9, 2007 at 2:26 pm


Jim: I believe that Dobson sees global warming as God’s punishment for allowing abortion and same sex marriages etc etc. Therefore, if we stop all that activity, God will stop warming the globe. Not my cup of tea!!



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Dwain

posted March 9, 2007 at 2:41 pm


Jim, a “discussion” of the issues facing us is always important, so let us all continue to talk. But, don’t you just hate it when the “but” shows up, all the issues mentioned — global warming, widespread poverty, pandemics, abortions, cultural & societal views of marriage, sexuality — are issues that face our world and society. All are worthy of our time and effort. No one is “more” important than another. but I believe that some can be more catastrophic in the long term than others. God has given to each of us gifts to do the work before us according to the need and our talents. It is time to lay aside all our self-centered desire for God to put us in the center of the universe and support each other as we each deal with the issues God has empowered us to deal with.



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alex d. chapman,jr.

posted March 9, 2007 at 2:49 pm


“Dr. Dobson” needs to re-read Matthew 23 to see if he hasn’t become a Pharisee.



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Tony C

posted March 9, 2007 at 2:49 pm


Christians are followers of Jesus. The great moral issue of our time is that Jesus’great imperative to love God and love neighbour has been subsumed to the idolatry of political rhetoric, self-serving power and to the greed of soulless economics. Weeds have been sown among the wheat, but this too will pass. The truth of the Gospel cannot be murdered or squelched. The sensuus fidei is awakening to the horrors sown by those who would lead the fold away from the Gospel. As we begin to collectively face the emptiness and horror of our participation in the corrupted political, economic and even religious structures of our time, there will be great grief and temptation to despair. For me the greater question is: how can we be be ready to bring hope to the world? In as much as our lives are caught up in the structures of idolatry, greed, political posturing and indignant finger-pointing, we are not yet ready to be needed icons of hope for others. Perhaps the great moral question has more to do with compunction, repentance, restitution, and deep inner conversion to the Gospel. We all bear responsibility for the great moral evil of our time. Debate cannot and will not replace the need for indifferent hearts to be pierced by the consequences of our failure to heed the Gospel’s call. The time is now for us to be cut to the heart, to turn away from sin and live the Gospel.



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Jim Lahey

posted March 9, 2007 at 2:57 pm


As Christian engineer working in the industry, I can say that we are polluting the earth and it will have consequences. It will take time but pay-day will come. It is common sense to always look a ways of preserving and bringing no harm to human life and the gift of creation. Also,to try to paint a broad stroke over the scientfic community as anti-Christian is both false and dangerous. We need to be a thinking and discerning community. I that means discerning the motives of our own so call leaders first and then others. Lets pray for guidance and work in untiy for all of God’s creation.



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Nigel

posted March 9, 2007 at 3:11 pm


And one of them a lawyer asked him a question, testing him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? And he said to them, “You shall love the lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind” “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” – Matt 22:35-40, NASB I would have thought that preaching the gospel, caring for the poor, being concerned for the way people destroy their lives with sexual abandonment & substance abuse, the destruction of unborn children, and anything else that shows disregard for our brothers and/or Gods directions for us. All these issues are of our concern and requires we stand up. Not just in words but how we live and act. Who was it that said? – preach the gospel at every opportunity and only when absolutley neccesarry, use words. God bless.



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Steve Weatherly-Barton

posted March 9, 2007 at 3:21 pm


1. Man was charged by God to rule the earth on behalf of God. 2. The invasion of sin commenced when man chose to be as God rather than serve God. 3. Seeing the relevance of this to global warming and environmental pollution really doesn’t seem very difficult to me. Steve



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henry clark

posted March 9, 2007 at 3:32 pm


Keep up the good work, Jim. I wrote a book review of GOD’S POLITICS that has evidently persuaded a number of libeeral Protestants to start following the work of Sojourners. (See CA Council of Churches website about a year or so ago.)



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a. rohrscheib

posted March 9, 2007 at 4:41 pm


“God is in the details.” While I don’t remember who said this, it is certainly evident when it comes to His creation. The popular press, while adequate to depict Brittany’s troubles and tabulate headlines, is wholly inadequate to the task of educating the public about global climate change. For that, access to scientific articles and the mass of very complicated data is needed. Global climate change is something that will only be accepted by those who understand the scientific method and believe in it, and are willing to read about the details.Unfortunately, we now have a very undereducated and hypocritical public – a public that seems strangely averse to concommitant belief in both science and religion, and yet blithely goes to get its flu shot every year… I prefer to think that God, who created Galileo, and Einstein, and all of our great scientists, knows all of the incredible detail of His earthly creation, and would want us to honor and value it by doing everything we can to prevent its demise. Good science, unlike religion, is not divisive. And global climate change is the one issue that could serve to bring us all together, because unlike most other “moral” issues it will affect ALL of us and ALL of our children directly, in ways that the popular press cannot even begin to imagine.



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Al

posted March 9, 2007 at 7:15 pm


Why do we pin each other down like this? Dobson and Evangelicals have a bigger view then what you are saying. They just don’t want to take thier eyes off some things that have been dealing with for a long time. We’ve heard the pronuncements of science on this.. And those in science who say hold on really are being shut down and ridiculed… There is something wrong here.. Let’s have a debate… But be careful here… ap



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Brenda

posted March 9, 2007 at 7:25 pm


Dear Jim, Dobson will never take you up on your offer to have an honest debate because he knows you will make him look small, foolish, and perhaps even unchristian. One of the obvious and serious problems of Dobson and his followers is the preoccupation with the self. Christianity to them is all about MY prayer life, MY personal relationship with God, MY needs, MY sins. The wider concepts of responsibility for others or for the planet is inconsequential.



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Anna Bridgman

posted March 9, 2007 at 7:25 pm


It seems no one can see the forest for the trees, no wonder there was a ‘scientific’ flood of all sorts!



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Arthur French

posted March 9, 2007 at 7:37 pm


Jim says: I happen to believe that the sanctity of life, the health of marriages, and teaching sexual morality to our children are, indeed, among the great moral issues of our time. But I believe they are not the only great moral issues. I agree with all that, but I do believe that there is one issue underlying all the others. We need to discuss: Love God, and love your neighbour as yourself, for on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. And what is love, and who is my neighbour? In England, where I live, more and more people are becoming self-centred, self-indulgent, shopaholic . The way I read the Bible, it says that it s OK to have enough (whatever that is) of food, clothes, and shelter, but we should then turn our attention to our neighbour . That s not happening. If someone is in need, we say they should do something about it. Our TV channels encourage people to think about selfish uses of money, and we are bombarded with advertising, often with bribes attached. Gambling is good because it creates jobs for a few more people. Schooling in UK has become less personal, with larger schools, and an emphasis on getting higher marks in tests. (What about U.S.?) Feelings and relationships are neglected in the curriculum. If, in schools, we could help people to work on their inner life and relationships, and if, in church communities, we could ask each other: What are the barriers to loving God , neighbour, and self? then answers to questions about things like sex life and global warming (and drugs and gun culture etc. etc.) might be much nearer an answer.



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Stuart Vaughan

posted March 9, 2007 at 7:56 pm


Hi Jim, A brief comment on the title of your article in which you make the point of Dr Dobson being “out of the mainstream”. To my mind this suggests that Dobson is in error, in part or even altogether, because he does not subscribe to the majority view. I – we – serve One who was distinctly out of the mainstream, and paid for it – and calls us to precisely such a position. I’m sure you will agree that Dobson, or yourself, or whoever is to be assessed in terms of truth – a consistent and cogent argument in light of biblical revelation. And where we differ may it be in a manner consistent with our calling; i.e., in love, displayed by unfailing courtesy and respect. My adversary is made in God’s image no less than my supporters, and if they call themselves Christians they are brothers and sisters in our Lord – even though we would go to the stake for the opposite of their views.



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Disillusioned Southern Baptist

posted March 9, 2007 at 9:50 pm


Am I the only person who has noticed that the only folks who doubt global warming, or that there is a human element causing global warming, are folks who also hold right-wing political views? There seems to be a strong correlation between right wing political views, mistrust of science, and calling oneself a “Christian.” These same folks will politically support the petroleum companies, such as ExxonMobil, that are opposed to the science of global warming for their own greedy business reasons. Why do so many Christians insist on being scientifically ignorant? Does science threaten your faith? There is no reason for it to.



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Dorothy Jackson

posted March 10, 2007 at 12:54 am


I am saddened to see the name-calling in the posts around this issue. Name calling reduces the other to thing status and does not advance the discussion. The climate is actually changing; we are putting a lot of carbon and carbon oxides into the atmosphere as we deplete the tropical rain forests. In addition, the earth’s magnetic polarity is changing, according to scientists. I do not believe that scientists are any more venal than the rest of us (look at the scandals around people who identify themselves as people of faith). The Bible is not a science book and is not a history book, it is a love letter from God to his people. It is a series of truths (not necessarily facts). Most science is also a series of truths that are facts. Who are we to tell God how to operate? Who are we to not be good stewards of this planet we have been given to tend?



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Stephen Ruff

posted March 10, 2007 at 1:15 am


I would love to see Jim debate Dobson, and I would eagerly buy a ticket to the event. Jim Wallis is a voice that is long overdue in the Chrsitian community. Hats off to you Mr. Wallis for bringing other issues that weigh heavy in the moral arena into the public/Christian eye. The cliamate, the poor and many other issues weigh heavy in my heart and I know that they have been long overlooked by the Christian community and chalked off to the ‘liberal agenda’. Thank you for bringing the issues that I know weigh heavy on God’s heart into perspective. Thank you also for doing it in a way that is not divisive and condeming as I have so often seen done by members of the religious right.



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steves

posted March 10, 2007 at 5:28 am


The most misunderstood passage in the Bible is the parable of the Good Samartan. The original question asked by the man is (read the whole conversation): What must I do to be saved (much like the rich young ruler later in Luke). So Jesus puts the man’s nose into this type of thinking and basically says, “if you think you can save yourself then this is what is required… what does the law say to you…” Jesus was bringing this man to the end of himself as having any hope of “being saved”. So to use this scripture as “we better do something about … is totally out of context of the meaning of the passage and to start making the Bible, and Christianity, into a Law Book. We all have done this to a certain extent, left or right in the political realm. So again, if you want to be an environmentalist, a pyschologist, etc. do it with all your heart. Just don’t make it a measurement of “christianity” and put people under the law. Steve S



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Jean

posted March 10, 2007 at 12:56 pm


I do believe that the sanctity of life, the integrity of marriage, and the teaching of sexual abstinence to our children are moral imperatives. But they are not the only ones. We are called to be good stewards and we must, among other things, teach our children to be good stewards in caring for the gift of our planet. It has become clear that we have caused a climate crisis, a climate crisis that scientists tell us are tied to floods, droughts, violent weather – all of which challenge the sanctity of life. It certainly qualifies as a great moral issue of our time.



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dan waits

posted March 10, 2007 at 2:06 pm


Thank you that we finally have someone like you engendering an honest, clear debate about the broad-based moral issues we face, rather than those who are merely the lap-dogs of the Republican far right. I find it ridiculous that someone w/ the education of James Dobson to infer that abortion, gay marriage, & the attack on the family unit to be the only maral issues we face. What about the immorality of our consumeristic, self oriented middle class lifestyles that are draining our lanet of its resources, denying children & adults resoureces they need to simply exist, who threatening to permanently alter our world? Perhaps Dr. Dobson, his fellow lap-dogs, & the Republican far right will become concerned about global warming only when their beach front condos/homes/commercial properties have been inexorably flooded by the melting glaciers & ice caps. And then they will probably convenitently & self-righteously blame the left wing media & Democrats for it all. But, then again, probably not – in the time for that to take place, they’ll all be dead. Please excuse the spleen venting. Thanks again for causing us to look at the broad-based moral issues that face us today, not just the vote grabbing ones foisted on us by the Republican far right whose aims are far more politically/econimocally motivated than we choose to believe.



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dan waits

posted March 10, 2007 at 2:13 pm


oops, sorry about that previous post – I hit send instead of spellcheck :-) Thank you that we finally have someone like you engendering an honest, clear debate about the broad-based moral issues we face, rather than those who are merely the lap-dogs of the Republican far right. I find it ridiculous that someone w/ the education of James Dobson to infer that abortion, gay marriage, & the attack on the family unit to be the only moral issues we face. What about the immorality of our consumer-run, self-oriented middle class lifestyles that are draining our planet of its resources, denying children & adults resources they need to simply exist, while threatening to permanently alter our world? Perhaps Dr. Dobson, his fellow lap-dogs, & the Republican far right will become concerned about global warming only when their beach front condos/homes/commercial properties have been inexorably flooded by the melting glaciers & ice caps. And then they will probably convenitently & self-righteously blame the left wing media & Democrats for it all. But, then again, probably not – by couple of decades for that to take place, they’ll all be dead. Please excuse the spleen venting. Thanks again for causing us to look at the broad-based moral issues that face us today, not just the vote grabbing ones foisted on us by the Republican far right whose aims are far more politically/econimically motivated than we choose to believe. dan waits



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HASH(0x116bb494)

posted March 10, 2007 at 5:33 pm


I agree with your view, Jim. I am tired of hearing the same 3 moral issues from Evangelicals. Its time they opened there eyes and saw the whole picture. I have friends who “worship” James Dobson and his views. I believe most evangelicals are narrow minded and need a wake up call.



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Sylvia

posted March 10, 2007 at 9:42 pm


I find it interesting that the Dobson letter-signers agree that moral issues are only those that relate to sex. This country needs to notice its sex obsession, and then think about the morality of larger issues. Of the 25 signers, 24 are men. What would Jesus and women do?



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John D. Sens

posted March 10, 2007 at 10:32 pm


I have a cynical view of James Dobson. I think he and many who support him, which includes many, but not all, radio and television preachers, are in it for the money and power. They have had a good run attacking GLBT people in various ways and they will keep doing it as long as those checks keep coming in. Sticking to a position and never backing off has always been perceived as strength and is generally admired. Having a few points to dwell on is an advantage that Dr. Dobson has. There isn’t going to be a debate, at least not in the sense I think most of us mean, because Jim Wallis and James Dobson are like apples and oranges. Jim Wallace seeks universal justice. He is everywhere at once – petitioning congress for minimum wage legislation, pushing for aid to people in Darfur, you name it. James ostensibly seeks enforcement of a strict moral code he has defined. He knows it isn’t going to happen. But, there is still plenty of money to be made.



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Ehren

posted March 11, 2007 at 12:00 am


Just wanted to thank Mr. Wallis for his timely response. I believe that he speaks for those of us in the evangelical community who take a broader view of the role of our faith in our political choices. We have seen the disasterous effects of voting solely based on “family values.” By following that path and failing to keep our leaders accountable, we have elected a President and a Congress who have passed tax cuts for the rich while cutting essential programs for the poor and oppressed. Anyone who is familiar with scripture will recognize the spiritual peril we place ourselves in by ignoring the needy among us. Moreover, our current leaders have taken a “might means right” approach to foreign policy. We have been taken to war under false pretenses and have been shamed by an administration that has eroded American protections for human rights. If, as Christians, we continue to lend our unconditional support to candidates based on such a narrow scope of issues, we will have lost all credibility in a society that pays close attention to our actions. Will they know we are Christias by our love or by our gullibility? And, yes, Dr. Dobson, global warming is a moral issue as well. Scripture gives firm warning to people who fail to care for their children. Do we not owe our children the courtesy of protecting the world that has been entrusted to us? Thank you again, Jim Wallis, for being the voice of reason in a political discourse full of deception and confusion!



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pjhannam

posted March 11, 2007 at 5:33 am


Thank you Joanne Hibbert for post above. I too listen to James Dobson and to Jim Wallis with appreciation. I would simply request each person posting to be circumspect in considering the purpose of your words. How many of our words are compelled by the love of Jesus? Would this proposed debate manifest the love of Jesus?????



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HASH(0x12221360)

posted March 11, 2007 at 6:53 am


The politicians Dobson has cast his fortune with will never bite the hand of big business. So while he says that taking on global warming is a distraction from the great moral issues what he is actually afraid of is that we will start to think for ourselves and vote accordingly thus damaging his political machine. Our vision should aspire to transcend this political manipulation to achieve the full spectrum of moral stewardship. Our allegiance is to truth not to a political agenda. Shame on you, Dr. Dobson. “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:5



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Bren

posted March 12, 2007 at 7:36 am


It’s stunning to see so many posters stuck on small details rather than the big picture. I am convinced that climate change/global warming is real. Even if I weren’t, God’s instruction to be stewards of the earth would require me to leave a smaller footprint, drive less, walk more, recycle, re-use. Knowing that there is a finite amount of oil suggests that we look for alternatives. And other countries’ experience and discovery that being good environmentalists can improve the economy, that some jobs will be lost and new jobs will be created–there is enough experience with these matters that cause me to feel confident that we can each of us begin to make changes, even small ones, that collectively will make a BIG difference. I also want to get back to the matter of the big moral issues. America is filled with people tied up in knots about who can marry, who is sufficiently pure/virginal to bear children. Why are Americans not outraged that your country has so many children living in poverty? Where is the moral indignation over the fact that the U.S. is a leader in child poverty? Why is there no noticeable Focus on these Children? I believe that if we paid more attention to the environment, treated it more gently, we might even remember to love the children amongst us, as our Lord did. May it be so.



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rfreeman

posted March 12, 2007 at 4:58 pm


Great comments from neuro-nurse on science. Wouldn’t it be nice if evangelicals got over their fears about science? Often we fear what we don’t understand and as she points out, most christians know nothing about science, except that their pastor or religous leader says: don’t trust it! I suspect that the religous right rejects global warming primarily because they don’t want to change their behavior, much like the political right. They don’t want the guilt about driving their suburbans. Another reason for the distrust of science is the fear that it conflict with a literal enterpretation of the Bible- a legitimate fear.



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rfreeman

posted March 12, 2007 at 5:04 pm


Insightful commment from anonymous: “The politicians Dobson has cast his fortune with will never bite the hand of big business. So while he says that taking on global warming is a distraction from the great moral issues what he is actually afraid of is that we will start to think for ourselves and vote accordingly thus damaging his political machine.” I have seen very little debate on the ties between the religous right and big business. I also wonder if religous right is closely tied with the defense industry and thus profiting from the war? Anybody researched this? I have researched war profiteering in general…



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HASH(0x116c7d8c)

posted March 12, 2007 at 6:26 pm


Dobson is a crackpot. Who would even listen to him?



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 12, 2007 at 11:43 pm


I have seen very little debate on the ties between the religious right and big business. I also wonder if religous right is closely tied with the defense industry and thus profiting from the war? Anybody researched this? I have researched war profiteering in general… Well, considering that the religious right is big business … :-) But more seriously, there were people working on that connection back in the 1970s. Fundraiser Richard Viguerie, a holdover from the Nixon years, encouraged Jerry Falwell to form Moral Majority in 1979, while Grover Norquist back in the day was trying to marry business groups to the political right at that time.



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John Holmes

posted March 13, 2007 at 3:22 pm


The culture wars of the USA often appear quite abstruse from outside that culture. This is of little import to the rest of us, apart from making Christians like me to be a little embarrassed when quizzed by our peers. However in issues like climate change and the health of the planet is involved, it is of intense importance to all humans.The intense conflict over issues such as evolution has lead to an apparent substantial degradation of the understanding by many in the Church of the nature of Science in Western Society. We do not accept that nuclear engineers should be theologians unless they are trained in both disciplines and theologians with no biological skills to be genetic engineers. Yet those who are not trained in climatology are suggesting that they know more than the specialists. I also have a very healthy scepticism of the use of strict legal thinking when judging Science; it is not in the same arena. When an undergraduate and during my career in Agricultural science, the maximum of Let faith and theology guide me on why the Creator, and allow Science tell me how the Creator did it. An interesting question is can we as created beings can we see outside of the creation we are in? So we should be using our minds to check the science, and to explore the consequences of our actions. At this stage those climate change due to mankind sceptics look like groups such as Big Tobacco looking after their interests at the expense of all others. Incidentally much of the criticism of evolution seems to be very North American centric. Living in Australia; my field observations often lead me to question the basis many of those criticisms.



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Linda

posted March 13, 2007 at 5:57 pm


Although I am an American, I understand where you are coming from, John. I have heard, though, that there is a “religious right” in Australia as well — but I could be mistakekn about that. I like the maxim you gave — and I’m paraphrasing it to suit where I amn coming from: “Faith and theology provide the ‘why’s’ of the Creator and let science show me the ‘how’s.'” I’d like to visit evangelical communities in other countries — I have a feeling that the perspective on theology would be about the same, but in politics, it would be different.



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CARL R. SMITH

posted March 14, 2007 at 12:32 am


I am reminded of a paraphase of a proverb: “Fools make a mock of sin and at destruction sport. But death will stop their silly grin and cut their laughter short”. The ‘religious right’ and the ‘anti-religious left’ might well want to consider that as long as they stay at each other’s throats the enemy of all mankind has us where the ‘hairs grow short’!Jesus said we would ALWAYS have the poor with us-he might have well added we will ALWAYS have the sick with us, we will ALWAYS have the hungry with us, we will ALWAYS have the diseased with us, we will ALWAYS have wars with us! Ten thousand years+ of civilization and we still don’t get it! Sin is the root, branch, leaf and fruit of all human misery; The cause and effect of all human suffering. If we would quit beating each other over the head with our ‘agenda clubs’ we might actually get some work done for the kingdom of God! Does anybody actually learn from the past so they can at least try and change the future?



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dan

posted March 16, 2007 at 1:54 am


For Dobson and Co. morality begins and ends with sex. Religion in their minds is something that you use to herd sheep (people) in the direction you want them to go, even if it is not in their best interests. Reading Mr. Dobson’s writings leads me to the conclusion that he knows and feels very little of what Christianity is about, but he does understand how to use it to further his own secular agenda. That agenda appears to be patriarchial domination of the family and society with him as the patriarch, of course, and submission of lesser beings (women and children) to his “wisdom.” This is the same drive behind many “prophets” in history from before Joseph Smith to after Jim Jones and David Koresch. Since prevention of environmental disaster does not aid his agenda, he is opposed to it and cannot afford to allow it to become part of the national discussion. Those of us who live in a reality based world realize that the evidence is overwhelming for global warming and we feel the obligation to ameliorate its effects as much as possible.



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Bruce Schultz

posted March 16, 2007 at 6:38 pm


I rememebr during the mid-70’s when many in the scientific community where expressing the need to do something immediately to stem the tide of a rapidly advancing, new ice age. It’s true. So, some of us who have been around a while are dubious. Maybe we can at least agree that we are to be stewards of God’s creation. I’m thinking the folks at Focus could buy that. And Wallis? I don’t think anything will make him happy. Jim, you’re dang busy calling names and making mean spiritied, divisive comments. Maybe you should cool your contribution to the heat of global warming.



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Dennis McQuerry

posted March 20, 2007 at 2:14 am


I take issue with the statement, “How about the reality of 3 billion of God s children living on less than $2 per day?” I’ve just returned from Malawi where $2 is considered a substantial sum — enough to feed a family comfortably for a day. I won’t argue that most of Malawi is impoverished — their needs are desperate. But the $2 figure is an attempt to characterize their economy in terms of our economy. It’s misleading and a bit arrogant. Misleading, because the cost of living in most developing countries is orders-of-magnitude less expensive than in our own economy. And arrogant, because America and it’s bloated economy are not the center of the universe, and are actually pretty irrelevant as a benchmark of poverty for the rest of the world. McQ



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 21, 2007 at 6:18 am


Falwell wants Christians to focus on telling people about Jesus, what s so wrong about that? He has said that three of his priorities are to get people “saved, baptized and registered to vote.” I need say no more.



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Jason

posted March 23, 2007 at 4:17 am


Bruce, I think that North American evagelicalism suffers from some serious deafness when it comes to a more comprehensive understanding of morality. Sure, most evangelicals pay lip service to creational stewardship, but few exert any energy into pursuing it. No question Jim is picking a fight here. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it would wake people up a bit and get them to consider that their understanding of morality is unbiblical. I don’t think it’s helpful to avoid all conflict for the sake of preventing “division.” Conflict is often a prerequisite to repentance and renewal, and sometimes you gotta pick a fight to get it to happen. I have to say that personally it is incredibly disturbing that so many people think we shouldn’t be investing any energy into fulfilling our cultural mandate to care for and cultivate the creation. I don’t recall God saying anywhere in the Bible that we didn’t have to care for his handiwork anymore…



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Jason

posted March 23, 2007 at 4:22 am


By the way, I also personally really like Dobson’s writings and the work he has done to educate people about relationships and family life. My problem with him lies in his political expression which is unfortunately too narrow in its view of morality. But that doesn’t mean I don’t value his teachings when it comes to family and relationships. We need more of that stuff.



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Samuel

posted March 24, 2007 at 12:36 am


Below is the web address for a brilliant documentary on global warming. All Christians would benefit from watching this and then sharing it with a friend. Here at last is a sane response. http://www.littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=24760&only



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Paula

posted April 5, 2007 at 5:46 pm


Thank you for your words. God’s view of morality is not narrow. It encompasses all that we do. We have been given the charge to be good stewards over those things that have been given to us… inculding the earth. We pray for guidance… and for all who call themselves “children of God” to truly see our responsiblity and pray the we heed the call to righteousness, holiness and responsible guardianship over all God has given us.



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Jason

posted April 24, 2007 at 1:47 am


I did not take the time to read all of the 300+ comments, here, but I read enough to know that there are still people here, apparently intelligent people, who doubt the scientific consensus on global warming. Wake up! So, you don’t buy into “An Inconvenient Truth.” Fine, agreed, it’s a bit over-the-top in terms of apocalyptic imagery. But the overwhelming majority of scientific evidence confirms that humans are inducing climate changes at an ever-increasing rate! Read about it! And for Samuel, re: the video about global warming – do a little research on the documentarian that produced that video.



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Christie

posted May 26, 2007 at 6:17 am


come to azusa pacific univ.! debate, discuss, delve into the issues surrounding this topic lets change the world



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Marty

posted July 27, 2007 at 5:46 pm


Global warming is a hoax and a fraud. If you look at the behavior (not the rhetoric) of Al Gore he doesn’t believe it either. Humans are insignificant specs on the earth’s surface. The constantly erupting volcanoes all over the planet spew far more “greenhouse gases” into the sky than we have since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Additionally, our measuring equipment has gotten more sensitive over the last 100 years which could account for the minute temperature differences we have experienced. Additionally, since matter can neither be created nor destroyed, we could not produce more carbon if we wanted to–it just changes form.



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Frank Dracman

posted July 27, 2007 at 5:49 pm


What would Jesus drive? He was a carpenter. He would drive a pickup truck. End of discussion.



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C

posted May 17, 2008 at 10:15 am


Since the warming trend has flat lined for the last 8-10 years I guess all this discussion has fixed the problem.
The problem I have with some of the ‘Church’ involvement in this issue is that most of the pastors speaking out haven’t done the minimal research required to give an informed response. There are more and more scientist and climatologist jumping off that catastrophic global warming band wagon as the hand picked selective facts have been scrutinized and the more recent data has been analyzed.
When we’re in the next cool down phase (already started) 10 years from now these ‘religious leaders’ will be dismissed as foolish and superstitious or maybe just faddish.
Has the earth warmed? Yes it has, but it has warmed and cooled for ages. Try not to base geological history on the last 50 years.
You want to make a difference? Go help at a homeless shelter, teach at a children’s vacation bible school, or host a home study group.



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Chief_Cabioch

posted September 16, 2008 at 9:21 pm


As one of the “Riligious Right” let me counter some of this Rhetoric, The Global Warmist” have an issue with Credibility for One, putting someone like “Al Gore” to represent them when he lives the Life he so strongly seems to say the rest of Us shouldnt Enjoy, living in a House that consumes over 200 times the electricity of the Average Americans Household, that alone makes me Question the Whole Agenda here, not to mention we in the US have only been sampling the Temps for a short time, as compared to how long Mans occupied space here, and since 1700 the CO2 content in the Atmosphere has increased approx 100 ppm, thats 100 Parts Per Million, from around 280 ppm, to 380 ppm, and 25% of that increase was between 1700 and 1900, before the Internal Combustion Engine was Developed, the next Issue I have is the Data thats sampled isnt “Real” data, when you sample temps 4′ from the Exhaust of an Air Conditioning Condeser then you arent really interested in the “Real” temp from the Area you are sampling, and Only trying to “Perpetuate” your “theory” and Agenda



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Jacob

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This is something we really need to act on asap! Global warming might be something way way way down the road and we won’t see much in our lifetime but for the sake of human kind we should start heavy R&D on this.



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