God's Politics

God's Politics


Ryan Rodrick Beiler: Christianity Today Challenges Dobson’s Hard Line

posted by gp_intern

Readers of this blog already know about the letter from James Dobson, et al., attacking Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals for his activism on global warming. Bloggers Brian McLaren, Lyndsay Moseley, Bill McKibben, and Randall Balmer all rallied to Cizik’s defense, and Jim Wallis’ invitation to Dobson for a debate on the “great moral issues of our time” still stands.

What’s also significant – and greatly encouraging – is that Christianity Today, the flagship publication of mainstream evangelicalism, has now also made a strong editorial statement criticizing Dobson’s tactics and defending Cizik:

There are many problems with the letter, not least being that the signatories, as they acknowledge, don’t even belong to the NAE. Does Dobson think it would be appropriate for members of the NAE to call publicly for his resignation?

But the letter’s most troubling assumption is that a conservative approach to social issues represents the sum total of the NAE’s mandate and the evangelical political calling. Citing USA Today, the letter notes, “We believe that some of [the secular media’s] misunderstanding about evangelicalism and its ‘conservative views on politics, economics, and biblical morality’ can be laid at Richard Cizik’s door.”

Actually, restricting evangelicals to the narrower agenda of “conservative views on politics, economics, and biblical morality” is the bigger problem. This plays into convenient mainstream stereotypes of Christians being obsessed with sexual issues or pawns of the Republican Party.

It also underestimates the scope of modern evangelicalism, as well as Christ’s call for us to be salt and light in all spheres of life. Historically, Christian leaders from John Chrysostom to William Wilberforce to Carl F. H. Henry have addressed a broad array of issues. They did not give in to fear of diluting the gospel message, nor did they make common cause with non-Christians uncritically. While some Christians may question global warming, none can doubt our responsibility to be stewards of God’s creation.

CT goes on to affirm the breadth, depth, and diversity of evangelical social concern – and challenges anyone who would assume the role of evangelical gatekeeper:

And yes, as the letter notes, evangelicals have not reached a consensus on the magnitude of global warming, its causes, or the remedy. So? Evangelicals don’t agree about the Iraq War or the formula for immigration reform or even the best strategy to halt abortion. No evangelical group – Right or Left – can claim to represent all evangelicals. …

This diversity – even if it risks misunderstanding in the media – is something we should celebrate. That a wide spectrum of evangelicals feel called to engage in social justice is good for evangelicalism, the nation, and the world. But determining priorities and strategies is a matter of prudential judgment, and anyone who thinks they have the very mind of God on any matter should take heed. …

So let’s stop questioning each other’s evangelical credentials and just do the work we believe God has called us to.

Ryan Rodrick Beiler is the Web Editor for Sojourners/Call to Renewal.



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Mike Hayes

posted April 23, 2007 at 8:51 pm


Thanks for calling this to our attention, Ryan. I thought the following excerpt from the Christianity Today article “One Size Politics Doesn’t Fit All” was also encouraging: “…In response to the letter, the NAE board pointedly reaffirmed its 2004 document, “For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility.” This text lists environmental stewardship (although not specifically global warming) among seven key evangelical priorities. The others are religious freedom, the family and children, the sanctity of human life, the poor, human rights, and peace in a violent world…”.



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Ngchen

posted April 23, 2007 at 9:48 pm


I’ve always appreciated the centrist stance of CT. As we said two years ago, “God is not a Republican… or a Democrat.”



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moderatelad

posted April 23, 2007 at 10:06 pm


One Size Politics Doesn’t Fit All I could not agree with you more. As One Size Politics Doesn’t Fit All when it comes to climate change. It seems that so many are willing to blindly follow Al on this topic and will not question any of the statements made by the former VP. Science – historically has been skeptic about any theory, in essence trying to ‘disprove’ until all sides of the issue has been examined. With G.W. it seems that they are working to ‘prove’ that it is true.Prof. Lindsen (spelling might be in error) of MIT disagrees with Al and Company. Everyone acts as if this is the first time in history that the avg. temp. has been climbing. That this has never happened before.Al’s preposed purchasing of ‘Fossel Indulgences’ would be the highest tax increase in the history of the US.There are many of us ‘evangelicals’ that all into keeping the enviorment safe and secure for our children and grand-children. Just not willing to sell our souls and theirs for Al’s Tax increase. This increase would hurt the poor in our country the most. It could cause a significant recession for us and others around the world.Later – .



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Justin

posted April 23, 2007 at 10:44 pm


But moderatelad, the poor in our country are richer than the wealthy in other countries. Are we concerned about Americans or about brothers and sisters in Christ? If I understand Christ’s teachings on the matter, once we enter into fellowship with him, those brothers and sisters become our family. Would I let my children starve? No. But neither would I let my brother/sister starve. Peace to us all and bless you, Ryan, for this article. Truly, I must doubt how much of God I know.



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted April 23, 2007 at 11:26 pm


“Does Dobson think it would be appropriate for members of the NAE to call publicly for his resignation?” Um, maybe it’s time somebody DID! God’s bullies indeed!



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Kyle

posted April 23, 2007 at 11:31 pm


I agree that CT’s response is better than Dobson et al’s missive, but they are still nowhere close to centrist. While attacking Dobson for assuming conservative politics for evangelicals, this very editorial assumes rather conservative positions for evangelicals (such as anti-embryonic stem-cell research and pro-Federal Marriage Amendment, neither of which are anywhere close to universally accepted in evangelicaldom). It’s hard to think that CT understands what the “evangelical left” might actually look like if they can make these assumptions while criticizing Dobson for making false assumptions about the univocality of evangelical political beliefs.



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kevin s.

posted April 23, 2007 at 11:36 pm


One thing this whole deal proves is that a number of conservative religious folks already do look beyond two issues. Why is Dobson any more of a stalwart of religious conservatives than the NAE?



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Don

posted April 23, 2007 at 11:41 pm


Moderatelad, and others who might be so inclined, please stop your ad hominem attacks on Al Gore. The messenger here isn’t Gore, it’s the physical world. The message would be the same if Gore had never made his movie, or if he gets run over by a bus tomorrow. Al Gore is IRRELEVANT to whether anthropogenic climate change is occurring. I’m not going to defend Al Gore; I don’t like him that much either, but what he says or does (or doesn’t do) matters not a bit to this issue. You don’t want to watch his movie? Fine. Find some other sources for information. There’s plenty of it out there. You could try Scientific American or Nature magazines, for example. But become informed. Don’t continue to argue from ignorance or merely by attacking Gore’s persona. A scientific theory only needs to be proven false. One doesn’t need a lot of evidence to do that. Find some evidence that falsifies the theory of anthropogenic global climate change, if you can, and use that for the basis of your arguments, not your personal feelings about Al Gore or his ideas. And stop arguing your case against global warming by pointing out your disagreement with some of Gore’s proposed solutions to the problem (i.e., carbon taxes or offsets). The solution is a separate issue from the problem. Let’s debate the solution–good idea, in fact; it puts us all on the same page–but let’s become informed about the problem first. Peace,



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Erik

posted April 23, 2007 at 11:44 pm


In response to moderatelad (conservativelad?): Your attack seems to be more directed at Al Gore than it is at the issue of climate change. No one (not even Gore)is following Gore on climate change — we are following the science and God’s commandment that we be good stewards of the environment. Sure there are a few dissident scientists (BigOil can buy any scientific viewpoint they like), but the vast majority of scientists accept the reality of climate change. Attack the film “An Inconvenient Truth” all you like, but until you (or anyone else scientifically qualified and NOT on an oil payroll) can disprove the science, you really have no case. Which reminds me, DOCTOR James Dobson’s degree is in psychology, no? That does not give him any credibility or authority on issues of climatology OR theology.



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James

posted April 23, 2007 at 11:53 pm


Moderatelad’s propaganda is pretty amusing: * firstly most carbon trading schemes involve buying and selling between businesses – not the government – ie. they have nothing to do with a tax. * ‘fossil indulgences’ is a ridiculously loaded term that also happens to be about 400 years passe. Nobody is suggesting burning fossil fuels, in and of itself, is a sin, nor that carbon credits forgive a sin. It’s a cap on national output to take some control over the biggest polluting nation on earth. * agreeing to market intervention is not “selling your soul” unless you worship Milton Freidman and the Almighty Dollar. * Claims that the will hurt the poor or lead to a recession are hearsay unless you provide a reason. I would note that recessions are usually caused by a crisis of business or consumer confidence – not an increase in costs. Also, those opposing carbon credits also happen to be the least likely to do anything about poverty so claiming that carbon credits are the one thing that will do them in is pretty disingenuous. * regarding the science stuff: your argument amounts to saying that the entire scientific community has forgotten how to do their job, you know better and hey there’s this Prof at MIT who disagrees with them so he must be right. So patently absurd, I rest my case. peace, james



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John Mustol

posted April 23, 2007 at 11:57 pm


The CT editorial is encouraging, but asserting that we “celebrate” the diversity of views in the evangelical community supports Christian “relativism.” There is, I believe, one right view, God’s view, on these issues. The diversity of views we hold is a manifestation of our inability to discern God’s mind as a result of our own sin and stupidity. It is not something to celebrate, but to repent of. I don’t claim to know what “God’s view” is on these issues. I am just as sinful and stupid as anyone else. But that doesn’t mean I will celebrate my disagreements with fellow believers. Instead I will seek even more to understand these issues and learn of God’s mind and heart.



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moderatelad

posted April 24, 2007 at 1:08 am


James | Homepage | 04.23.07 – 5:58 pm | #those opposing carbon credits also happen to be the least likely to do anything about poverty soExcuse me…you have no idea what I do or don’t do for people in my community. I assist them in several ways that impacts their ability to get an education, clothing, food shelf etc. I do dirve people at times to their appointments – so the carbon credits would cost me when it comes to getting people to their destinations.regarding the science stuff:But that is classical education when it comes to science. I did not spend hours in a lab to not learn something. The MIT guy is just one of many – but they will never get the press like Al will. I never said that the ‘entire scientific community’ has forgotten, just some. There are several ideas about ‘why’ but many are just listening to Al.You can believe whatever you like and I will gladly dialog with you and not refer to your thinking as ‘patently absurd’.Later – .



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moderatelad

posted April 24, 2007 at 1:18 am


Don | 04.23.07 – 5:46 pm | #Al Gore is IRRELEVANTI don’t think so – without him and his reputation as a former VP of the US, who else would we be listening to on the subject and has his noterity? I am going to watch the movie as I watch F-911, Bowling for “C”, etc. I like to see what others are thinking.Find some other sources for- Core drillings tell us that the earth has gone through warmings in the past, about every 1500 years or so. – did you know that over the past 20+ plus year that the vairation in the earth’s temp. is in sync with the suns production of ‘solar flares’? – there is evidence that Venus, Mars, Jupiter and some of the moons of Jupiter have their temps. going up just like the earth is presently – you think that there might be a connection? Don’t get me wrong – we need to take care of our planet and over the past 2+ decades I have given to several projects and organizations that have or are trying to make this a better place for all.Later – .



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Erik

posted April 24, 2007 at 1:29 am


>(moderatelad wrote)But that is classical education when it comes to science. I did not spend hours in a lab to not learn something. The MIT guy is just one of many – but they will never get the press like Al will. I never said that the ‘entire scientific community’ has forgotten, just some. There are several ideas about ‘why’ but many are just listening to Al. Huh? Again, to reiterate, the MIT fellow whom you name is one of a few (or many, if by many you mean a dozen or so who are QUALIFIED by training in climatology to actually have something of importance supported by actual scientific evidence) people who makes such an argument. The vast majority have come to the conclusion that the climate is warming due to manmade factors. Why would scientists lie about this? This was a topic before the movie AIT, and will be long after. There is no liberal media — this is a myth, and has been debunked by study after study. Besides, Fox News, conservative commentators and conservative radio hosts who are PART OF the media are certainly not liberal. So the question is, why would anyone support global warming if it was a myth? On the contrary, there are two groups who deny it for their own purposes: 1) Oil companies, becauses it threatens their revenue, and 2) theologically conservative evangelicals, who believe the end is at hand and, as prominent fundamentalist John MacArthur states on his Q&A on his website, “the Earth is disposable,” and will be destroyed by God, so we should not be too concerned about saving it. The Earth is not disposable, and it is in our stewardship to keep and protect.



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squeaky

posted April 24, 2007 at 2:21 am


I promised myself I wouldn’t get into this debate again because essentially I am repeating what I said on previous threads. But–here goes. Deep breath. Don’s point that it isn’t about Al is right on the money. More and more I have heard people saying this is Al Gore’s theory. It is not his theory any more than he invented the internet. He is communicating the science because, quite frankly, although scientists are great at what they do, they often aren’t so great in the communication department. If you don’t believe his point that the concensus of scientists believe global warming is in fact real and caused by human activity, then do your own literature review. Don’t take his word for it, by all means. But don’t credit him with the idea and don’t dismiss the science because you think it’s his idea, either. If you want an official source that is maybe more unbiased, or at least should arguably be viewed as more balanced, here’s the EPA’s website on climate change: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/index.html



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squeaky

posted April 24, 2007 at 2:59 am


But to get back on track with the actual subject of this thread–I think Beiler makes many excellent points, not the least of which is”No evangelical group Right or Left can claim to represent all evangelicals….” I wish we could all concede this. We are so often so busy labeling each other (and I confess I am guilty of it) that we fail to recognize we are all children of God. We so often have our favorite issues, that we fail to recognize that morality is about much more than sexual morality or even environmental morality. And political parties see that and try to court the morality they think Christians care most about. Again, as in the abortion issue, when these very important issues become political, we stop actual dialog and cease working together to find solutions. We slip into the “us vs them” mentality and fail to look at both (all) sides of these issues. I have become increasingly convinced that there is no such thing as black and white.



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Don

posted April 24, 2007 at 3:30 am


Moderatelad, Squeaky is right. Al Gore is merely communicating the evidence; he is not the source of it. Attacking Gore’s character, actions, personality, etc. is not a valid argument about the truth of the evidence itself. Ad hominems are invalid arguments because they aren’t logical. A logical argument would be made if you presented valid scientific evidence that the theory proposing that climate change has a human cause were false. That’s the only kind of argument that would be valid in this case. Moreover, if Gore weren’t around talking about this issue, someone else would be, because it’s just too important to ignore. You are correct that glacial core drillings have indicated that earth’s climate has warmed and cooled in the past. However, what’s different about the present warming is the pace of the warming and the fact that the rate is accelerating. No previous warming of comparable magnitude took place over such a short period of time–a geological eyeblink as it were. The fact that this warming has historically coincided with increased human release of CO2 into the atmosphere (through burning fossil fuels) is one of the evidences in favor of an anthropogenic cause. James wrote: “firstly most carbon trading schemes involve buying and selling between businesses – not the government – i.e., they have nothing to do with a tax.” You are correct that buying and selling carbon credits is a private-enterprise function and not a tax. However, I think I have heard talk about levying a carbon tax, which presumably would be a function of government. I don’t know how such a tax might work or what specifically is being proposed, so I can’t comment on whether it might be a good idea or not. Opposition to such a tax proposal, however, is no reason to dismiss the evidence of warming. Later,



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Sarasotakid

posted April 24, 2007 at 3:46 am


Apart from the debate on global warming, it is good to see that Dobson is being publicly told by a prominent Christian publication that he does not have a monopoly on Christianity. I think he forgets that sometimes. I used to like to listen to his programs but then he would make ferocious personal attacks on those who disagreed with him politically. It is refreshing to see that his power is waning- it had really gone to his head. Peace.



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kevin s.

posted April 24, 2007 at 5:43 am


“The vast majority have come to the conclusion that the climate is warming due to manmade factors.” It is more complicated than that. The majority of scientists believe that human factors have contriburted to global warming, and are certain that the warming exists. I’ll try to add a new spin on this issue. I wonder if this issue won’t move forward now because of (not in spite of) conservative support. Before, public sentiment was in favor of stronger environmental policy…Until it meant their job, or their car, or their lifestyle. I mean, certainly your average “green” celebrity isn’t giving up their lake condo or their private jet anytime soon. Now, the evidence might compel people to believe that their lifestyle might be at risk. Perhaps then, those who, um, worship at the altar of Friedman, might be able to devise solutions to the problem that accomodate economic growth.I bet the NAE would be in favor of such solutions.



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Doug

posted April 24, 2007 at 5:48 am


Global warming is just another one of the left’s ways to control people. It is all about making people feel gulity over something they have no control over. As christians how can any of you think that humans can have any say over the weather? We lost that when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden and thus changed the world as God created it to be. There are a lot of scientists who disagree on Global warming but who’s voices are not being heard. As far as The media not being liberal give me a break examples abound. I do not have time to list them but I will post some later.



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aj

posted April 24, 2007 at 6:01 am


Amazing. In my opinion, this is going to be the one way Christians in the world can be like Jesus in our coming century. Recyclers and Bike Riders. The new evangelism is environmentalism.



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CKC

posted April 24, 2007 at 10:18 am


“So let’s stop questioning each other’s evangelical credentials and just do the work we believe God has called us to.” Amen to that!



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Don

posted April 24, 2007 at 12:57 pm


John Mustol wrote: “The CT editorial is encouraging, but asserting that we “celebrate” the diversity of views in the evangelical community supports Christian f”relativism.” There is, I believe, one right view, God’s view, on these issues.” John, I think perhaps CT may be guilty of poor wording here. I think the “diversity of views” they are encouraging us to celebrate is not relativism; rather, it is the kind of diversity Paul wrote about in I Corinthians–there is a variety of gifts but one Spirit. In other words, I think they are referring to the idea that God has called some of his people to work in some areas and others to work in other areas. This is the kind of diversity that James Dobson and his supporters seem to forget about when they try to tell us what issues really matter. They seem unwilling to accept that God may have called Christians like Richard Cizik to work on behalf of preserving God’s creation. Doug: 1. Define what you mean by “left” and give us evidence that support the notion that they are trying to control us. 2. Explain these facts in light of your understanding of a “leftist” conspiracy as explained under 1 above: About a week or so ago, National Public Radio’s “Marketplace” program devoted a large portion of their programming to a story on the burgeoning “green” industries–those industries built upon the idea of finding ways to reduce carbon emissions. The story said that these industries promise to become one of the USA’s biggest growth industries and exports over the next 20 years. Rather than a “leftist” conspiracy, this sounds like good old-fashioned free enterprise at work. Here’s a link to some of their broadcasts: http://search.publicradio.org/marketplace/query.html?col=apm&qc=apm&qp=site%3Amarketplace.publicradio.org&qp=site%3Amarketplacemoney.publicradio.org&rf=1&qt=green+industries&x=0&y=0 Of course, NPR is probably part of that “leftist” conspiracy; at least it’s part of the so-called liberal media. ;-) Later,



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 24, 2007 at 2:17 pm


Global warming is just another one of the left’s ways to control people. It is all about making people feel gulity over something they have no control over. As christians how can any of you think that humans can have any say over the weather? The human species is the only one that has ever been able to change his environment. As for the media being “liberal” — as someone in the media, I can tell you that it has virtually no meaning for us. That’s the label conservatives began to hang on us in the 1970s because they didn’t like what we were saying; on the other hand, conservative media are the biggest liars out there.



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moderatelad

posted April 24, 2007 at 2:42 pm


Don | 04.23.07 – 9:35 pm | #Squeaky is right. Al Gore is merely communicating the evidence; he is not the source of it. Attacking Gore’s character, actions, personality, etc. is not a valid argument about the truth of the evidence itself. You really agree with this logic – Sojo writers are some of the best at attacking the messager. Al is the mouth piece and is exponding these items and harder cold facts. (although if you listen with a critical ear – it is interesting how he structures his sentences) “firstly most carbon trading schemes involve buying and selling between businesses – not the government – i.e., they have nothing to do with a tax.” Not according to Gore – it is the indiciduals that would purchase these ‘credits’. Read some of the news papers from europe – they have a tendency to quote people directly more than the mainline press in the US. You compleatly ignored the solar flare activity and that other planets in our solar system are increasing in temp. like the earth. Unless they have life on Mars that we don’t know about and a ton of cars – why is Mars temp. going up like here on earth? I ‘reiterate’…in the 70’s it was the coming ice age, and we were the problem. In the new mil. it is global warming (%&^% – I mean ‘climate change’ you have to have an out) and we are the problem. What next – cows farting is depleating the ozone. (oh – they already tried that one on us didn’t they)I am not an alarmist and refuse to be whipped around by other who are. Later – .



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Don

posted April 24, 2007 at 3:12 pm


Moderatelad: “You really agree with this logic – Sojo writers are some of the best at attacking the messager [sic].” –So you respond to my pointing out one ad hominem with another ad hominem. You are compounding the invalid nature of your first argument by invoking another logically invalid statement. “Al is the mouth piece…” –Al Gore is merely pointing out what scientists have been saying. I reiterate: the messenger is the physical world, not Al Gore. If he weren’t around, someone else would take his place. Attacking Al Gore in any way is only a diversion from the real issue, which is global climate change. I reiterate: If you want to ignore Al Gore, go right ahead, but become informed any way you can. You can find all the information in Al’s movie and his speeches from other sources. “You compleatly ignored the solar flare activity and that other planets in our solar system are increasing in temp. like the earth. Unless they have life on Mars that we don’t know about and a ton of cars – why is Mars temp. going up like here on earth?” –Where’s the evidence of these things? I haven’t heard of any of them. Give me verifiable references for this data. Show me evidence that global temperatures on Mars have increased. How do we know this? How do we measure Mars’ atmospheric temperatures, how complete are these records, and and how far back do they go? Do we have enough data for a long enough time span to confirm any kind of trend in Mars’ atmospheric temperatures? And I would guess that we have even less data for Jupiter and the other planets. “global warming (%&^% – I mean ‘climate change’ you have to have an out)” –Moderatelad, I’ve explained this to you before; apparently you only read and/or hear what you want and ignore the rest. “CLIMATE CHANGE” is not an “out”!! Climate change is merely a descriptive term for the RESULTS of global atmospheric warming. Re-read my earlier posts on this topic. Don’t keep repeating a notion that has already been discredited. “I am not an alarmist and refuse to be whipped around by other who are.” –Another ad hominem, moderatelad. Nobody is being alarmist. The facts of climate change resulting from global atmospheric warming have accumulated over several decades. It is not being alarmist–indeed, it is being responsible–to point out the possibly serious consequences of such warming. Indeed, it would be irresponsible to the extreme not to. I reiterate: Bring to the table some solid, verifiable scientific evidence that falsifies the theory of anthropogenic climate change, and then you will have a valid argument. Until and unless, however, you are engaging in logically fallacious debate. Peace,



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squeaky

posted April 24, 2007 at 3:28 pm


Moderatelad–I gave you the EPA website on global climate change which is chock full of information and links for you to study the science of this issue. Did you check it out?



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squeaky

posted April 24, 2007 at 3:38 pm


“As christians how can any of you think that humans can have any say over the weather?”If you don’t concede that humans have any influence on the weather on the large scale, you have no choice but to concede we do on the small scale. Go to Wikipedia and look up “urban heat island.” The weather surrounding cities is warmer and dryer than the surrounding countryside. I’m sure you also have personal control of your own weather inside your home–do you turn up the heat when it is cold? Do you have a roof to keep it from raining inside your home? “It is all about making people feel gulity over something they have no control over.” Except we do have control, and what you are defending is a materialistic, selfish lifestyle. The love of money is the root of all evil. Why do you defend it? “There are a lot of scientists who disagree on Global warming but who’s voices are not being heard.” Evidence, please. What have you studied in terms of the actual science? “There are a lot of scientists who disagree on Global warming but who’s voices are not being heard.” Up until recently, those were the DOMINANT voices being heard, even though they don’t express the concensus view of science. Why? Because the biggest losers if something is done about global climate change are the big oil companies, who coincidentally, were major contributors to Bush’s campaign. If you pay attention, you will notice that even Bush (and even big oil, now) is starting to concede global warming is happening and is caused by human activity.



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted April 24, 2007 at 3:50 pm


“As far as The media not being liberal give me a break examples abound.” As do examples of the media being radically conservative. Faux “News” anyone? Rush Limbaugh? The entire panoply of “religious” broadcasters, channels amd networks? Even CNN is pretty conservative. ABC’s ‘clean-up’ job on Matt Sheppard’s assasins? NBC’s “To Entrap A Predator”? Try again. But do better.



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted April 24, 2007 at 3:54 pm


“It is all about making people feel gulity over something they have no control over.” You have no control over using compact flourescent bulbs instead of incandescent ones? You have no control over turning off lights in unoccupied rooms? You have no control over choosing a Hummer vs. a hybrid? You have no control over turning down the thermostat in winter? You have no control over not using so much air-conditioning in summer? You have no control over reducing your purchases? You have no control over recycling glass, plastic, paper, metal? You have no control over not choosing plastic shopping bags? You have no control over choosing to walk to the corner store instead of driving there? Etc.! Maybe the truth is you simply have no control – self-control, that is. Laff!



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Aaron

posted April 24, 2007 at 4:51 pm


The human species is the only one that has ever been able to change his environment. Not true, life has kept this planet consistently cool despite (by sequestering greenhouse gases as various carbon deposits)increasing solar luminosity for at least a billion years.



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Aaron

posted April 24, 2007 at 4:52 pm


moderatelad- Remember when you said there can’t be global warming because there’s sinkholes in Florida? Yeah, I think I’ll take a scientist’s opinion over, well yours.



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Wolverine

posted April 24, 2007 at 5:33 pm


curiouser and curiouser wrote: You have no control over using compact flourescent bulbs instead of incandescent ones? You have no control over turning off lights in unoccupied rooms? You have no control over choosing a Hummer vs. a hybrid? You have no control over turning down the thermostat in winter? You have no control over not using so much air-conditioning in summer? You have no control over reducing your purchases? You have no control over recycling glass, plastic, paper, metal? You have no control over not choosing plastic shopping bags? You have no control over choosing to walk to the corner store instead of driving there? No, that’s not what we’re saying. I have control over many of those. (Recycling is the one exception — that depends on whether or not there’s a recycling facility nearby) What has yet to be proved is that any of those will affect global temperatures to any significant extent. There’s lots of things I can influence. I’m not convinced that global climate is one of them. Wolverine



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squeaky

posted April 24, 2007 at 5:49 pm


Wolverine–even if those things don’t affect global climate, they are many other positives to not using resources wastefully. Not the least of which is just simply saving money as an individual consumer.



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Esther

posted April 24, 2007 at 5:58 pm


First of all, I’d like to comment on the refreshing change in the attitudes on this blog. I haven’t been visiting here because of the display of hostility among so-called Christians -people who claim to represent Christ in this world. This discussion, while controversial, has maintained an admirable level of civility. Second, I think that Global Warming is more of a bell-wether than the real issue. It may be possible that we are experiencing a warming trend in our planetary climate cycle, which will eventually swing into another ice-age, but that does not exclude our responsibility. There is no doubt that humans have polluted the land, water, and air. Our waste has accumulated over the millenia, and because we now create industrial size waste even in households, with an ever increasing amounts of households, the planet -our first home- is losing the battle. Everyone who loves God should feel a responsibility to be a good stewart of this gift He gave us. There is still beauty on this planet and now we need to clean up our waste so that our grandchildren and their grandchildren will have the opportunity to appreciate that beauty and live in a healthy environment, too.



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squeaky

posted April 24, 2007 at 6:23 pm


those are very good points, Esther. The bottom line issue is we simply are taking God’s creation for granted and using the resources He has supplied us with wastefully. He wants us to be responsibile stewards. If He didn’t the geologic processes that create fossil fuels or metals would only take a couple of years, rather than millions.



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PhilipH

posted April 24, 2007 at 6:26 pm


Are readers/posters genuinely interested in debating “liberal vs. conservative?” Why do we even conceptualize our political frameworks and theologies to be on a continuum from conservative to liberal or from right to left?? I think the categories and concept of a continuum are neither accurate nor helpful in furthering dialogue or understanding public life. Further, I see no Biblical, ethical or theological imperative to use these categories. What about weighing our attitudes, beliefs, assertions, policies, words, actions and blog comments against standards of truth, righteousness, love, mercy, shalom, justice and Jesus? James Dobson, Jim Wallis, and Al Gore are three guys who crawl out of bed, rub their eyes and look in the mirror just like most everybody else. They have also taken on levels of responsibility that I have not. I am more than willing to grant them grace for not always being or acting in ways that might be wiser. I would also welcome them providing grace to each other.Any of us who work passionately for a vision or cause will inevitably be considered narrow, imbalanced, and uncaring when viewed from the perspective of persons with other commitments. I belive in our mutual submission to each other within loving fellowships that submit to Christ’s Lordship–we find power and paths of obedience that produce fundamental wisdom–and a lining up of our labors with the full desires of God.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 24, 2007 at 6:31 pm


kevin s. “Until it meant their job, or their car, or their lifestyle. I mean, certainly your average “green” celebrity isn’t giving up their lake condo or their private jet anytime soon.” That’s as true for any of us as it is celebrities. Americans have grown accustomed to our comforts and will not easily be weaned from them regardless of our political leanings. The place to start, as I see it, is to become educated about the facts. Unfortunately, as is the case with many important issues we face, objectivity has been pushed out of the way by politics and rhetoric.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 24, 2007 at 6:35 pm


Wolverine, “Recycling is the one exception — that depends on whether or not there’s a recycling facility nearby” Having moved from the very green Seattle, where I recycled every scrap of paper that came across my desk, to post-Katrina New Orleans where, to the best of my knowledge, there are no public recycling facilities has been a shock to my system.



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PhilipH

posted April 24, 2007 at 6:37 pm


I believe the theologies and ethics of Evangelicals have long positioned us to lead in helping modern cultures maneuver the dance of expansive human populations living on a finite planet. We neither worship the creation nor have a concept of domination. We have long held to an ethic of stewardship. Having failed in the last 35 years to advance this ethic, we find ourselves sucked into a socio-political argument where we are making the ‘points-counterpoints’ of the broader society? I would contend the same on issues of poverty, global health, and human dignity.



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kevin s.

posted April 24, 2007 at 6:49 pm


“Wolverine–even if those things don’t affect global climate, they are many other positives to not using resources wastefully. Not the least of which is just simply saving money as an individual consumer.” I would much rather focus on this component. What Doug said about the left using this issue to make us feel guilty may not be true, but I think there is a perception that it is true. I’ve said this before, but for many people, environmentalism springs from a worldview in which we man is the aggressor. In other words, the world was great, until we came along. This narrative runs counter to the Bible (which isn’t to say man has been a cup of tea), and so it is inherently offputting to Christians and, I suspect, to the average Joe or Jane. Further, while we are called to be good stewards, we likely do not have much say in the future of our climate. Presenting the issue in hyperbolic terms related to worldwide calamity makes people feel powerless. Encouraging people to use fluorescent bulbs, recycle, clean up after themselves, and buy fuel efficient automobiles is much more empowering.



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Sarasotakid

posted April 24, 2007 at 7:03 pm


What has been so hard about the global warming debate for me is that I remember when in the 70s they were afraid of another ice age. I don’t doubt that a majority of the credible scientists have arrived at the conclusion that mankind is the primary cause of global warming. Until some credible countervailing evidence can be found, we have to try to limit our negative impact on the environment. I for one, do not believe that the market will incentivize conservation and green technologies on its own so there will have to be a govermental role. I find it laughable and completely disengenous when the left is being accused of a power grab over this. Many of the same people who level this charge are okay with things like the Patriot Act and are not very outraged at the abuses at Guantanamo. Peace.



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squeaky

posted April 24, 2007 at 7:32 pm


“the world was great, until we came along. This narrative runs counter to the Bible” Actually, I don’t see that it runs counter to the Bible at all. The world really WAS great–maybe not until we came along, but until we sinned. Our misuse of God’s creation is part of the fall. “Encouraging people to use fluorescent bulbs, recycle, clean up after themselves, and buy fuel efficient automobiles is much more empowering.” Agreed. Many people, in fact, most people, are woefully ill-informed on the issue of resource use and overuse and the effects that has on our environment or neighbors.



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kevin s.

posted April 24, 2007 at 8:08 pm


“Actually, I don’t see that it runs counter to the Bible at all. The world really WAS great–maybe not until we came along, but until we sinned. Our misuse of God’s creation is part of the fall.” That is a different matter entirely. The world was great, but incomplete. Our sin brought evil into the world, but it still did no subordinate us to nature. Thus, when environmentalism is tied to this worldview (think vegetarianism), Christians are naturally put off.



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Aaron

posted April 24, 2007 at 10:49 pm


Right, because veganism wasn’t the original Holy diet, I can see why christians would be put off….



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squeaky

posted April 24, 2007 at 10:59 pm


Kevin–those last two posts of yours are still very puzzling to me. could you clarify your position? On the one hand you seem to say that humans are not subordinate to nature–previously you took issue with the environmentalist view that humans are the aggressors with regards to nature (even though we were commanded to subdue it). I don’t quite understand what you are saying. “The world was great, but incomplete. Our sin brought evil into the world” What does this mean? Sin made the world complete? “Thus, when environmentalism is tied to this worldview (think vegetarianism)” What worldview are you talking about? And what does this have to do with vegetarianism?



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Kathy

posted April 24, 2007 at 11:33 pm


I for one believe God told us to take care of the earth not run it into the ground.I think any small change we make to lower our carbon footprint makes the world a little bit better place. I use public transportation and I buy CFL’s. Right now I use 3 CFL’s in the places in my home that are lit the most of the time. By using public transportation and using those 3 CFL’s I lower my carbon footprint by 3-4 thousand pounds a year. That’s right I don’t use 3-4 thousand pounds of carbon less per year. Yes the CFL’s are more expensive but they last multiple years so that offsets the cost to me plus it lowers my utility bill as well. This past weekend on Earth day Home Depot gave away 1 million CFL’s and I have seen other local hardware stores give them away too. I’m sure if you check locally you can find free ones sometime during the year. If you want read the book “Collapse”. It shows how other civilizations totally destroyed their bilogical surroundings by not taking care of the area where they farmed and grazed their livestock. Some of the cultures that are gone now never to return because of their poor stewardship of the land are the people of Easter Island, the Maya and the Anasazi.Pick it up from your local bookstore or library it’s a very good eye opening read.



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moderatelad

posted April 24, 2007 at 11:50 pm


Aaron | 04.24.07 – 10:57 am | #Please – that was an observation only – there were many other items addressed that no one entered into conversation about. squeaky | 04.24.07 – 9:33 am | #Yes I checked it out – was not persuaded at this time. I have checked out several sites and still gleaning from the info and forming my observations. There is a lot of other ‘theories’ out there on ‘climate change’. Just not going to be an Al Gore Bobblehead for Global Warming.In the past there were tons of articles on the coming Ice Age and it was the burning of coal and gas that was causing that problem. CC is so agenda driven it causes the skeptic in me to be much more wairy.I do not think that you are dumb or bad people – just can’t jump on the band wagon as quickly as you can. I did jump on the wagon about the Ice Age and got slapped by some (in some cases rightfully so) and abandoned by others that help pull me onto the wagon. The are all over the ‘warming’ issue now so I am a little skeptic.Been there – Done that – Got the tee-shirt. Later – .



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Kristi

posted April 24, 2007 at 11:54 pm


I can’t speak for him, but I think that maybe what Kevin is trying to say is that those who believe that we are subordinate to nature, often feel that we are guilty of an abomination when we eat animals. I agree with Kevin that we are not subordinate to nature, however, “with great power comes great responsibility,” and Christians are some of the worst offenders as far as not taking that axiom seriously. I do believe that many Christians believe that the earth is disposable, and that is why they feel no responsibility to take care of it. About the world being complete after we entered it, I believe that has to do with us being made in the image of God, however that confers on us free choice, which we have sorely abused.



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squeaky

posted April 25, 2007 at 1:17 am


So Moderatelad–what would be the downside of emitting less carbon or using less of the Earth’s resources? If you aren’t willing to get on the bandwagon (and by the way, the EPA is not Al Gore’s baby, either–you might also note we know a lot more about climate and the way the world’s systems interact than we did in the days of the Ice Age scare), then it is useful to realize that being better stewards of God’s resources have many other positive effects other than reducing carbon emissions. For example, if we weaned ourself from oil, we could be free of the Middle East’s influence on us (and thus free of terrorism), we would have a cleaner environment, there would be fewer respiratory illnesses and fewer lost work hours due to these respiratory illnesses, we wouldn’t have to spend so much of our money and our young people’s lives to defend our oil interests, our economy won’t be affected when the world runs out of “cheap” oil (which it may have already–can’t say I expect gas prices to drop back down). There are a myriad of reasons to move away from a fossil-fuel based economy, and global warming is just one of them. So don’t get on the band wagon if you choose, but at least acknowledge this wasteful, materialistic lifestyle we refuse to give up is not at all Christlike and simply indefensible.



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squeaky

posted April 25, 2007 at 1:20 am


Hmm, Kristi–I didn’t get that at all from reading Kevin’s statements, but I do agree with your take on environmental issues. I am afraid I fall into the camp that believes many Christians view the Earth as disposable, but I hope I am being far too cynical. Certainly the work of Cizik and others gives me hope…



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Doug7504

posted April 25, 2007 at 1:27 am


Christ’s gospel is pretty clear on the subject: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In all this debate about whether or not Al Gore is right, or wrong, or carbon credits are valid, etc., etc. there seems to be precious little talk about OUR responsibility to those less fortunate than we are. As long as the majority of Americans are content to produce 25% of the world’s carbon dioxide, use up at least that much of the world’s resources, and only be concernd about the cost of gasoline, the rest of the world will view us, rightfully, as greedy, self-serving hypocrites. Our political agenda abroad for the last twenty five years proves this. Preserving the lives of the unborn, acting as responsible stewards of the world around us, are just a part of Jesus’ charge to us. We owe it to future generations to work towards a world which is less polluted, less warlike, and emphasizes the dignity of each human being. The world we live in now, and are are building for the next generation, is a world of walls, environmental degradation, and endless warfare over resources and religious ideology. Ask yourself: Which world do you choose for YOUR unborn children? Peace.



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Canuckelhead

posted April 25, 2007 at 2:07 am


Al Gore was here last night to address all the big shots in the HQ of the Canadian oilpatch. Of particular interest in his introductory remarks was his comment that he has yet to be invited by Big Oil to Houston to speak.



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PhilipH

posted April 25, 2007 at 2:26 am


“The Earth is the __________ and the fullness thereof.” Herein, in my thinking, is the starting point for Christian stewardship and justice. Who owns what? Who is the owner? Who is the caretaker? What are the caretaker’s purposes? Aside from global surface temperatures (which we need the best information on, but will always be somewhat in the dark since the biggest contributor to global temperatures is the minimally understood sun) we are leaving far too heavy a ‘footprint’–in my view. We have already seen significant loss of biodiversity, huge loss of environments to sustain diversity, and degradation of human sperm. Life forms seem incredibly adaptable AND incredibly fragile. We are attempting to bioengineer our way to a way of life that can be sustained while crippling the created order. The Midwestern landscape is transforming before my eyes by the push to biofuels. If done right there is great potential for much positive change–but my fear is we are going to degrade the water and land further while reducing capacity to feed the world for the purpose of fueling cars.



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squeaky

posted April 25, 2007 at 2:30 am


Well, that’s unfortunate–because Big Oil keeps saying they are coming around. Certainly a dialogue with them would be a good thing. It’s really difficult to change the inertia, though–their assets are tied up in oil, and they aren’t willing to look elsewhere. However, as oil supplies are waning, particularly in non-OPEC nations, I can’t believe they aren’t truly looking at alternative energy sources. They would be smart to do so, if they want to survive into the next energy economy. Meanwhile, they will continue to suck as much oil from the ground as possible in order to gain the most profit–which, of course, is true of any business, so I am not saying I blame them for doing that.



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moderatelad

posted April 25, 2007 at 2:23 pm


squeaky | 04.24.07 – 7:22 pm | #I agree – moving away from fossil based fuels has advantages, I have no problem with that. I wonder what is going to happen to the ecconomies of WV and TN as they are so dependant on coal mining to employe their people. I like hydro-electric and nuclear power, much of Europe has gone nuclear over the past few decades. Not sure that not depending on the Mideast oil will decrease terrorism – it might cause more as they will have less money coming in and they might blow-up our bio-fuel refining sights – but we can deal with that if and when in happens.Have a great day Later – .



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted April 25, 2007 at 3:53 pm


“ethics of Evangelicals” Considering who are the representatives of Evangelicals today – Jimmy Swaggart, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, (etc.), I think that statement is a self-contradictory oxymoron. They HAVE no “ethics”.



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kevin s.

posted April 25, 2007 at 5:00 pm


Yes, Jimmy Swaggart is a prominent evangelical today. That is a completely fair statement. “Kevin–those last two posts of yours are still very puzzling to me. could you clarify your position? On the one hand you seem to say that humans are not subordinate to nature–previously you took issue with the environmentalist view that humans are the aggressors with regards to nature (even though we were commanded to subdue it). I don’t quite understand what you are saying. ” It is the nature of the narrative. In the postmoderinst environmental worldview, man is seen as the imbalance in an otherwise healthy eco-system. This rebuts the idea that the ecosystem was made for man. This is independent of questions about our responsibility to be stewards of the earth. In the postmodern perspective, we are not stewards, but rather passers-by. Man is not the greatest living thing, and therefore has no rights with regard to our earth’s resources. With respect to environmentalism, this gave rise to a number of movements, including vegetariansim, population growth control etc… In the minds of many Christians, the environmentalist movement is firmly entrenched in a narrative that cannot accomodate the idea that we are God’s special creation. It thus would behoove the movement to embrace other arenas of thought leadership on this issue, which it is only now beginning to do.



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kevin s.

posted April 25, 2007 at 5:01 pm


“About the world being complete after we entered it, I believe that has to do with us being made in the image of God, however that confers on us free choice, which we have sorely abused.” This is an example of a narrative that might work a little better.



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moderatelad

posted April 25, 2007 at 6:02 pm


You know when it comes to the enviorment and all that is happening and the ‘mother earth’ worshipping that seems to go on. What was the Almighty smoking when he created humans? The earth would be far better off if humankind would just disappear tonight. But then again – we would be able to label and bash the evangelicals then – would we. I will keep my ethics and I’m an evangelical.Later – .



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Erik

posted April 25, 2007 at 6:35 pm


Sarasotakid wrote: “What has been so hard about the global warming debate for me is that I remember when in the 70s they were afraid of another ice age.” moderatelad upped the ante with this piece of fiction: “In the past there were tons of articles on the coming Ice Age and it was the burning of coal and gas that was causing that problem. CC is so agenda driven it causes the skeptic in me to be much more wairy.” Let us put this canard to rest about the “prediction of the ice age in the 70’s.” There was one article. Time magazine, apparently at a loss for a cover story that week, published an article on this theory (which never held great sway in the scientific community.” There are not “tons of articles” out there. Based on the lack of information that your posts have displayed, you have not read the site that squeaky recommended. If you had, you would realize that there are not “alot of other ‘theories’ on climate change.” Only Fox News and conservative bloviating radio hosts pound on that, realizing that if they lie over and over, people like you will not only take it as the truth, but will repeat it to others and refuse to read any information to the contrary. Again you attack Al Gore. He is not, nor has he ever been, important to the establishment of global warming. He has written no peer-reviewed papers. Rather, he has actually READ those papers produced by others, and has commented on them. Again, look at the site — don’t just look at a conservative blog summary of it and claim you read it. Perhaps you will actually be able to explain in scientific terms what the problem with the global warming theory. Good luck finding all of those “ice age” peer-reviewed scientific articles.



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Erik

posted April 25, 2007 at 6:58 pm


” You know when it comes to the enviorment and all that is happening and the ‘mother earth’ worshipping that seems to go on.” I am not sure what happend to the rest of that sentence, but this is another classical conservative evangelical dodge. If you care what happens to God’s creation, then you are automatically an “mother earth worshiper.” You are now grabbing at straws in your attempt to discredit global warming. Tell me, do you agree with John MacArthur that “the Earth is disposable” since Jesus is going to destroy it anyway? see: http://www.gty.org/resources.php?section=issues&aid=176385



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Carl Copas

posted April 25, 2007 at 7:03 pm


kevin s: “the postmoderinst environmental worldview, man is seen as the imbalance in an otherwise healthy eco-system.In the postmodern perspective, we are not stewards, but rather passers-by. Man is not the greatest living thing, and therefore has no rights with regard to our earth’s resources.” I know little about “the postmodernist environmental worldview.” Where might I find more info?Thanks in advance.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 25, 2007 at 7:29 pm


You know when it comes to the enviorment and all that is happening and the ‘mother earth’ worshipping that seems to go on. What was the Almighty smoking when he created humans? The earth would be far better off if humankind would just disappear tonight. But then again – we would be able to label and bash the evangelicals then – would we. A bit of sarcasm, I’d say … :-) But this is precisely the kind of thinking that happens when you are taught that something belongs to you instead of to God; in fact, a whole lot of conservative evangelicals — fewer than before, thank Him — believe that they are the center of the universe, which frankly is idolatry. Looking at John MacArthur’s piece, he sounds as though his theology’s a bit off anyway — it is my understanding that God will restore this present Earth to its original state, and with the resurrection of the dead it makes perfect sense.



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Erik

posted April 25, 2007 at 7:43 pm


Precisely my point Rick. I believe that a lot of the anti-environmentalism on the evangelical right is driven by the belief that it is about putting nature above man and that the earth is going to be destroyed anyway. Both are incorrect, and you are spot on about the theology. Look at some of his other comments. He criticizes the Promise Keepers for being too willing to reach out to all Christian groups, including –the horror — Catholics. That is extreme right in my book…



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moderatelad

posted April 25, 2007 at 8:05 pm


Rick Nowlin | 04.25.07 – 1:34 pm | #A bit of sarcasm, I’d say …Thank you for picking up on that one. My High School friends that are Al Gore Groupies today were people back in the day that scoffed at ‘recycling – planting trees – etc’ and most if not all of them are card carring Dem’s today just like they were back then.I have done my little part to make the world a better place for all before if became ‘fashionable’ by the liberal elite. Nessessity in the Mother of Invention and I believe that bio-fuels will happen sooner rather than later. It would have happened, (in my opinion) if the liberals had not made the oil companies the bad guys. You can make change happen when you have all looking at a common goal. By making them the enemy – you now are dealing with the leadership – employees and dare I say – stock holders. (Gore is/was a major stock holder in a petrolium company) But we seem to have a ‘hitler mentality’ that says you have to have a scape goat to promote your agenda. Wallis has done the samething that he has accused the ‘conservative evangelicals’ of ‘doing to him’. (something about a pot and a kettle comes to mind right now…) There are a lot of us out there that respect the earth and want to give it to our children in better condition than we got it. But today you have to be an Al Gore Tree Hugger or you are dismissed as insignificant. So – you do your thing and I will do mine. But I will cost you and your children less money in taxes, you can go for the fossil taxes if you like. Later – .



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moderatelad

posted April 25, 2007 at 8:14 pm


Erik | 04.25.07 – 1:48 pm | #So as an ‘extreme’ conservative liberal I hate Catholics – want to destroy the earth because God is going to anyway. I am an anti-environmentalist… Did I get everything correct? I think that you left our Racist – Bigoted – Bible Thumping Dolts. Please – if you are going to lump us all together and define us – go for the gold and do it all. Whatever .



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moderatelad

posted April 25, 2007 at 9:00 pm


moderatelad | 04.25.07 – 2:19 pm | #Sorry the ‘liberal’ word should be ‘conservative’. Not sure what type a slip this one is…later. –



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 25, 2007 at 9:32 pm


I have done my little part to make the world a better place for all before if became ‘fashionable’ by the liberal elite. Nessessity in the Mother of Invention and I believe that bio-fuels will happen sooner rather than later. It would have happened, (in my opinion) if the liberals had not made the oil companies the bad guys. I don’t know how old you are, but I believe that all changed during my early college years when Reagan came into office and the corporate mood shifted to “bottom-line economics” with little regard to the future. Such a mentality is so pervasive today that, for example, most people believe we’re in Iraq for only the oil (I don’t, for one). So – you do your thing and I will do mine. But I will cost you and your children less money in taxes, you can go for the fossil taxes if you like. I can’t save on taxes if I’m not around to pay them in the first place. Did I get everything correct? I think that you left our Racist – Bigoted – Bible Thumping Dolts. Please – if you are going to lump us all together and define us – go for the gold and do it all. Methinks you’re overreacting just a tad (in fact, I’m myself an evangelical). The truth be told, we need to take a good, hard look at our policies and theology and determine how we have failed God and alienated people. Evangelicals, thank God, are now starting to do this; on the other hand, the “religious right,” so obsessed with maintaining its authority (but which is clearly slipping away with every ignorant pronouncement that Dobson et al make) that it will slam anyone who even dares to disagree.



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moderatelad

posted April 25, 2007 at 10:21 pm


Rick Nowlin | 04.25.07 – 3:37 pm | #on the other hand, the “religious right,” so obsessed with maintaining its authority (but which is clearly slipping away with every ignorant pronouncement that Dobson et al make) that it will slam anyone who even dares to disagree. I am not sure that they are slipping and that leaders in the Christian Church would take time to ‘slam’ each other…your point is? This has gone on for centuries. I am begining to see no difference between that retoric of Fawell or Wallis. They both will take and dis the other if it will advance their agenda – same old, same old. BUT – if what you say is true, why is that the denominations and colleges/universities that are more ‘conservative and very evangelical’ seem to be growing at a rate 2 to 3 times faster than their more ‘main-line, moderate/liberal’ counterparts. I myself am a member of a denomonation that most of the members in the pew are conservative. We have elected leaders that are much more liberal and our growth has stagnated for the most part. It still is a great denomination but we need to get everyone in sync – not sure what it will take to make that happen or how it will happen. I am praying that the Holy Spirit will lead and guide us back to a more unified group. Christ could return any day as far as I am concerned. Later – .



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 25, 2007 at 11:20 pm


I am not sure that they are slipping and that leaders in the Christian Church would take time to ‘slam’ each other…your point is? This has gone on for centuries. I am begining to see no difference between that retoric of Falwell or Wallis. I then daresay you haven’t been paying much attention to Christian media over the past couple of decades; in practice, your status as an evangelical, a truly “born-again” Christian was considered suspect if you did not hew to the standard conservative line. I myself used to take some abuse in such because I dared challenge the status quo; I was denounced in print as a “socialist” and “hedonist” because I wrote an endorsement of Walter Mondale in a local Christian newspaper in 1984. Three years ago I wrote an op-ed that deviated from the standard line against “gay marriage” — I said that that our romance-based marriage culture is the real issue here — and a “dominionist” I knew said that had he not known me he would never have known that I was a Christian from what I wrote. (Of course, that relationship eventually ended.) …if what you say is true, why is that the denominations and colleges/universities that are more ‘conservative and very evangelical’ seem to be growing at a rate 2 to 3 times faster than their more ‘main-line, moderate/liberal’ counterparts. Ron Sider, who is not ideologically conservative, answered that one in “The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience” — he said that it’s because they make “high demands.” But you missed the point I was trying to make — theological conservatism and ideological conservatism are not necessarily congruent. Now, Jim Wallis will tell you that he believes the Scripture to the letter, but who on the “right” has extended him the “‘right’ hand of fellowship”? It won’t happen because authority to determine who is “in” and “out” was always the goal of the right. (You can’t say the same about Wallis because he doesn’t have that kind of following and isn’t even seeking it.)



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Canuckelhead

posted April 26, 2007 at 2:27 am


My hope is built on nothing less Than John MacArthur and Moody Press I dare not trust the sweetest frame But wholly lean on Swaggert’s name



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moderatelad

posted April 26, 2007 at 4:18 am


Canuckelhead | 04.25.07 – 8:32 pm | #Thanks for the chuckle – but I have never been a Swaggert fan. Later – .



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moderatelad

posted April 26, 2007 at 4:43 am


Rick Nowlin | 04.25.07 – 5:25 pm | #I believe that many on either side of the issue will try to ditermine who is IN and who is OUT. I as a conservative evangelical white male in MN that will not think badly of you for your endorsement of Mondale. I have read some of the Left Behind books and the movie based on the book. I don’t agree totally with the theology in them but I enjoyed the read. I like the made for TV movie about the life of Christ that had John the Baptist tell Christ that he needed to ‘confess his sins’ before John could baptism him. HELLO – the one who was without sin needs to confess – I don’t think so. But I used it as a talking point for some of my theologically challenged friends.People of faith that I do not agree with to me are just people that I can have a discussion with. (OK – there are a few out there that I don’t care to talk with – but I will not ‘out’ them here – they can just do there thing – whatever.) You know – when I first stumbled onto Sojo and look at the site and read some of the items that they promoted and etc. I was so taken in because I thought this was a place that you could have a discussion and agree to disagree – respectfully. But as I read more and more of the articles that are authored by people on the board of Sojo or RLC or whatever the label is that they promote. I was pulled between people that I respect, not that I agreed with everything that they had to say. Or I had to agree with the authors of Sojo. So the Kennedy’s – Dobson’s – Graham’s of the evangelical world were wrong and should be dismissed. BUT – wow – Warren was now on ‘their’ side and now is one to be revered. (I wish I could find that article – it was an eye opener to me about the message of Sojo) I think that has caused me the most sorrow about being on this site. I really don’t care what those of us that post here say about me – it’s a stick and stones thing. But the wedge that was driven so deep that day (I think Wallis was the author) caused me to take a step back and become much more critical about what was being talked about on Sojo.I really need to remember to take my meds prior to getting on here. It’s late and I have 2 hours of work to do – be blessed. Later- .



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Payshun

posted April 26, 2007 at 5:00 am


Ah yes this discussion about our role in nature is kind of silly. We are one w/ it. We are nature. We can’t separate ourselves from the fate of what happens to the surface of the planet. If we screw it up then we play the price, and eventually when do enough damage the earth will vomit most of us of it and then we will wonder how that happened. I personally don’t like the idea that we have dominion over nature when we are it. It just seems a little schizoid to me. But here is a great website that speaks to the poetry of the dominion idea. (Go to page 2) http://www.ourmeetinghouse.org/environment.stewardship.pdf p



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Canuckelhead

posted April 26, 2007 at 6:25 am


Canuckelhead | 04.25.07 – 8:32 pm | #Thanks for the chuckle – but I have never been a Swaggert fan. Mod Mod, somebody had said something about Swaggert being a prominent evangelical which I trust was a joke. Heck, and here I always thought Ethel Waters was one of America’s most prominent evangelicals.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 26, 2007 at 6:28 am


moderatelad — Here’s my point. Two decades ago Jim Wallis was not for the most part on the evangelical radar screen, even though he’s been doing the Sojourners thing since the 1970s. He was not on Christian TV or radio (at least, not on a consistent basis to my knowledge); thus, the conservatives, who still have the bucks and the mics, had the freedom to define what “evangelical Christianity” was and was not. The problem is that there were a lot of people I knew were not believers of any stripe who received the endorsement of the conservatives; not too long ago Jerry Falwell even lauded Karl Rove. Bottom line, it’s not a matter of one set of evangelicals against another as you may believe; I’ve known for two decades that there was an “alternative” evangelical community that had the juice to critique the conservatives because it really believes that the conservatives in key area basically have it wrong and can prove it with Scripture (but, thanks to their collective insecurity, they accept absolutely no criticism). Now, however, certain evangelicals are rethinking what it means to be a believer in today’s world and in the process breaking free from the “political correctness” the conservatives insist on, and the right is scared to death. That’s why James Dobson doesn’t (at least publicly) deal with any Christian who doesn’t agree with him; on the other hand, it speaks volumes that even Christianity Today, hardly a bastion of liberalism, called him out.



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letjusticerolldown

posted April 26, 2007 at 9:35 am


Rick, Moderatelad, In the broad sweep of things–what do you think the ‘storyline’ has been in the mainstream media regarding evangelicals/fundamentalists engagement in politics (including their relationships to “left” or “right”, Republican or Democrat, positions)? I have supported politicians all over the political spectrum for varied reasons. Please reflect on whether there is really a single continuum (e.g. “left to right”) along which our politics and theology can be charted; or whether there are not a variety of grids, planes, and continuums that might better describe us. One of the big dividers is the different understandigs of the relationship of faith to culture (popularly described by Richard Niebuhr in Christ and Culture). e.g. Fundamentalists and Evangelicals did not differ so much theologically as in their differing stances towards the modern world. It seems to me the Moral Majority was a reactionary movement to what was perceived as a liberal monopoly; and the media basically took the bait and adopted a storyline of “Evangelical as Fundamentalist as Conservative as Republican as White people”. And ironically this took hold in 1980, just four years after Time (and others) announced Jimmy Carter as the coming-of-age of Evangelicals. I would agree that many in Christian circles accepted and promoted this narrative. But I think it was primarily the media’s narrative. I believe even Jerry Falwell conceived of the Moral Majority as more of a ‘right-wing morality-based’ political engagement than a mobilization of Christians. The Evangelical vote and public participation was, and is, very diverse. I feel the Jim Wallis “God is neither Democrat or Republican” deal is just a reaction to the Media’s storyline. And again, the Media has accepted the pitch as some new “Third way”



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Aaron

posted April 26, 2007 at 2:23 pm


Aaron | 04.24.07 – 10:57 am | #Please – that was an observation only – there were many other items addressed that no one entered into conversation about. Yes, an observation based on complete ignorance of earth dynamics. I really wonder how people parse their information sometimes.



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moderatelad

posted April 26, 2007 at 2:57 pm


letjusticerolldown | 04.26.07 – 3:40 am | #I feel the Jim Wallis “God is neither Democrat or Republican” deal is just a reaction to the Media’s storyline.He talks that way – but I have yet to hear or read about a conservative/republican that he has supported. He is doing the samething that he has acused Falwell and others of doing. I know Jim is a nice person, my son and my cousin have meet him personally. But he is not uniting us – well – not me. If I had his bully pulpit, and I do not want it. I would have never given the Dem responce to the Pres. sat address. That alone tells you that even though his says ‘the left doesn’t get it’ – they do and he supports them.Later – .



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moderatelad

posted April 26, 2007 at 3:03 pm


Aaron | 04.26.07 – 8:28 am | #Whatever – We will just have to agree to disagree on this one. I can not and never will be an Al Gore Bobblehead. I have mentioned other theories that no one has addressed and one personal observation that I never claimed was scientific – that is the one that I get hung with – whatever. Gore has to have an agenda – GW is the cause celeb for him at this time. He got his statue.We will have to work as individuals to make the world a better place – good luck. Later – .



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 26, 2007 at 5:02 pm


In the broad sweep of things–what do you think the ‘storyline’ has been in the mainstream media regarding evangelicals’/fundamentalists’ engagement in politics (including their relationships to “left” or “right”, Republican or Democrat, positions)? Until the last few years — I’d say around the last presidential election — the basic “media ministry” narrative was still pretty valid, with the “usual suspects” making the most noise especially because Bush, whom they nearly worshipped, became president. Ironically, it was then that Sojourners started its “Take Back Our Faith” campaign with the “God is NOT a Republican — or a Democrat” slogan (I have a bumper sticker on my car). It seems to me the Moral Majority was a reactionary movement to what was perceived as a liberal monopoly; and the media basically took the bait and adopted a storyline of “Evangelical as Fundamentalist as Conservative as Republican as White people”. And ironically this took hold in 1980, just four years after Time (and others) announced Jimmy Carter as the coming-of-age of Evangelicals. I would agree that many in Christian circles accepted and promoted this narrative. But I think it was primarily the media’s narrative. I believe even Jerry Falwell conceived of the Moral Majority as more of a ‘right-wing morality-based’ political engagement than a mobilization of Christians. That’s pretty good history. More accurately, conservative fund-raiser Richard Viguerie, a holdover from the Nixon/Goldwater era, encouraged Falwell in 1979 to form Moral Majority to add it to his direct mail empire. You are right in saying that it originally was supposed to be ecumenical; however, as former VP Cal Thomas said in “Blinded by Might” that all staff and almost all members were conservative Christians. So, in practice, the media were accurate in the results if not the genesis. What has always bothered me, however, is that African-American evangelicals (I am one) have rarely been part of the conversation, on either side. That’s significant because 90 percent of us vote Democratic, in large part because the conservatives who opposed Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil-rights movement now run the GOP. Conservatives say they want our votes but still want to dictate the terms, agenda etc. He talks that way – but I have yet to hear or read about a conservative/republican that he has supported. He is doing the samething that he has acused Falwell and others of doing. I know Jim is a nice person, my son and my cousin have meet him personally. But he is not uniting us – well – not me. That goes both ways — conservative Republicans rarely, if ever, reach out across the divide to people who don’t think the way they do, so you can hardly blame the “liberals” for not doing the same. Bush, for example, went to the NAACP convention only last year for the first time and only because there was political pressure to do so due to the government’s lousy response to Katrina — and even then he fell on his face and made no attempt to connect with those who attended. Rick Santorum (who — thank God — no longer represents my state in the U. S. Senate) faxed my newspaper some very nasty, not to mention inaccurate, comments about Bob Casey Jr. during the last campaign. And again, how many “liberals” are involved in Christian media? You can’t have just one side reaching out, and we’ve seen precious little evidence that the “right” even wants to do that. See what I said above about conservatives “reaching out” to blacks — they still want to run the show and that’s simply not acceptable.



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Aaron

posted April 26, 2007 at 5:30 pm


We will just have to agree to disagree on this one. You can agree/disagree all you want but your opinions are framed by politics and not any significant scientific knowledge of that particular subject or even related subjects. Ignorance can be corrected, but opinions based on ignorance that refuses to correct itself is a bad idea.



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moderatelad

posted April 26, 2007 at 6:42 pm


Aaron | 04.26.07 – 11:35 am | #I am not ignorant and I am not an expert. You have selectivly taken on some of what I said and dismissed other points that were more fact based. Have fun I am not going to comment on this one anymore. be blessed Later – .



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Aaron

posted April 26, 2007 at 8:08 pm


I am not ignorant and I am not an expert. You have selectivly taken on some of what I said and dismissed other points that were more fact based. You are certainly ignorant (which is not necessarily a bad thing as it can be remedied, afterall I’m ignorant on many subjects), but that’s the exact point. How do you know the other points are fact based? Claiming that other fact-based points were not addressed is a little disingenuous given that you have no way of understanding why one set of earth data are more valid than another.



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moderatelad

posted April 26, 2007 at 8:22 pm


Aaron | 04.26.07 – 2:13 pm | #OK – maybe because I listen to people that are more informed than I and do not have an agenda or a ‘dog’ in this fight – they are educators. Like the Prof from MIT that holds the Slone chair there. Others from Europe that look at Gore and disect his verbage so that you see that everything he says is carefully written so to allow him an out if things start to ‘cool’. He points out where snow caps and the ice cap is reseeding adn they show for the most part that is part of a cycle.If in fact Mother Earth has a temperture – get a thermomiture and find out what it is – I believe that butt resides in TN. Later – .



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Aaron

posted April 26, 2007 at 8:38 pm


LOL!



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Don

posted April 26, 2007 at 8:45 pm


Moderatelad: “If in fact Mother Earth has a temperture – get a thermomiture [sic] and find out what it is – I believe that butt resides in TN.” –You’re never going to give up making fun of Al Gore to “prove” that global warming doesn’t exist, are you? No matter how many times it’s pointed out to you that such “arguments” are fallacious and invalid. Aaron is right–you are ignorant. Further, and much worse, you wish to remain ignorant. You can’t even discuss the facts that others have brought up. You simply go back to bashing Al Gore. What is the actual evidence your revered prof at MIT is basing his opinions on? If you want to make the case against global warming, you should at least explain to us what he is saying, and what evidence he has to support his ideas. I’m not sure you really know what evidence he has proffered; it’s simply enough for you that he isn’t on the global warming bandwagon. The reasons why don’t seem to matter. Argue with facts, evidence and support for theories and ideas, moderatelad, not by dissing people you disagree with. Otherwise, you really don’t have anything to say. Peace,



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Kristi

posted April 26, 2007 at 10:58 pm


Hey there moderatelad I can see how you feel that we all get on somebody’s case because they are conservative or hold conservative ideals, but it seems to me you are as guilty of what you say we (and Jim Wallis) are guilty of in the reverse—you seem to be as dismissive of those with classically “liberal” viewpoints. I am thrilled to find a community that looks at the data and does not make decisions based on whether they are a liberal or conservative viewpoint. I am sorry that you do not feel that this is the case, and I am sorry that you feel dismissed.



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moderatelad

posted April 27, 2007 at 2:58 am


Kristi | 04.26.07 – 5:03 pm | #Please understand that I for the most part to not include people like you or I who post our thoughts on this site. I do hold the authors of the articles accountable and if I refer to someone here specific I will identify them like I did you – by referencing their post. I try my best to refer to others as this is their opinion and I disagree with what they said or one of their discussion points. I rarely will attack their character or them personally as I do not know them and would like to keep the issue the topic and not the person. Sadly that is not always the case in reverse.Have a great evening – Later – .



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moderatelad

posted April 27, 2007 at 3:07 am


Don | 04.26.07 – 2:50 pm | #I don’t need Al Baby to prove any point after all he is the Father of the Internet and he and Tipper were the inspiration for the book/movie Love Story. Although the ‘never having to say you’re sorry’ might work in his favor.Argue with facts, evidence and support for theories and ideas, moderatelad When I have cited studies or other theories – they have been ignored in following posts or just dismissed with a ‘whatever’. I have talked about how ‘this’ could be an influential factor in ‘climate change’ or ‘that’ could and I have cited the article or the person. But the info is not part of the Gore Sylibus and therefore – not worth responding to.Al is the mouth piece and therefore open to be commented on. But this thread is done for me when it comes to ‘climate change’ as I am not out to change your thinking or convictions – you have them and own them – great. I just would like to expand the idea that there is more than one theory. Hang onto yours – it OK. Be blessed – .



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Don

posted April 27, 2007 at 3:17 am


“When I have cited studies or other theories – they have been ignored in following posts or just dismissed with a ‘whatever’. I have talked about how ‘this’ could be an influential factor in ‘climate change’ or ‘that’ could and I have cited the article or the person.” You haven’t cited any studies; you’ve only mentioned some ideas that you got from somewhere. You said that temperatures on other planets in the solar system have risen concurrently with earth’s. So I asked you for evidence that indicates atmospheric temperatures on Mars have been increasing and where I could read about it–no response. I’ve asked you for the reasons your MIT professor has doubts about GW theory–no response. The only thing you have done is attack Al Gore. And you’re doing it again right here. That’s no way to demonstrate the validity of a contrary position. Until you can or do, you are quite correct, I’ll hang on to my theory. I won’t be persuaded otherwise by personal attacks and smears. Peace,



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moderatelad

posted April 27, 2007 at 6:36 am


Don | 04.26.07 – 9:22 pm | #Not attacking or smearing you -Later – .



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Don

posted April 27, 2007 at 2:23 pm


Modereatelad- Not me; Al Gore.



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moderatelad

posted April 27, 2007 at 3:05 pm


Don | 04.27.07 – 8:28 am | #You know – I will agree to stop refering to Al and deal with the issues and possible solutions if the rest will stop blasting Bush (and others) as the great lier, calling for him impeachement or trial in the world court and deal with the issues and possible solutions.So – no attacking or disrespecting the personalities or character of individuals, public or private. Only addressing the issues and refering to what someone has said and then expressing why you agree of disagree with their observation. Expressing why you feel their premise is in error but the person is respected. I’m game -Hae a blessed weekend – I will try to get on but I have two kids with a full schedule – it is the Dad Taxi. .



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Don

posted April 27, 2007 at 3:49 pm


Give me evidence, support, and places I can go for information that casts doubt on GW theory, and then we can have a discussioin–I’ve been saying that all along. FWIW, moderatelad, I never called for Bush’s impeachment. I have called him an inept leader–the mess in Iraq demonstrates that. I’ve also called his administration morally bankrupt–not Bush personally, but he’s ultimately responsible. Proof? Look at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, signing statements, illegal wiretaps, waterboarding, extraordinary rendition, and the falsehoods that led to the Iraq invasion, to mention only a few. Enjoy your chauffeur duties! D



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moderatelad

posted April 27, 2007 at 4:24 pm


Don | 04.27.07 – 9:54 am | #GW theory A friend of mine just sent me a load of reading on GW and I hope to plow through it this weekend between games. I will see what I can send you. wire tapps etc. Much of this has been talked about and people are just willing to believe what they want to believe. I have heard that much of what you listed is legal and has been allowed in the war on drugs etc. But CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC NPR PBS (the Deep Six as I call them) will keep parsing the retoric to fit the agenda. Yes – there is FOX and they have conservative hosts. But they also have Shaun and Allen – something that I do not see on the others. Rosie (bless her little pea pickin heart) went on the O’Reilly show and was treated very respectfully and she was the same. Can’t remember seeing or hearing about something like that on CNN. later – .



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted April 27, 2007 at 5:15 pm


“somebody had said something about Swaggert being a prominent evangelical which I trust was a joke.” It wasn’t meant as a joke. Mr. Swaggart IS a prominent evangelical. With an internationally broadcast television bully pulpit. And a mean spirit, I might add.



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted April 27, 2007 at 5:18 pm


moderatelad, ” I will agree to stop refering to Al and deal with the issues and possible solutions if the rest will stop blasting Bush (and others) as the great lier, calling for him impeachement or trial in the world court” Well, THAT’LL never happen. Because Mr. Bush IS a liar. Demonstrably and repeatedly. In fact, he “led” America into an unjust war BASED on lies. And for that he DESERVES impeachment. (And worse, imnsho!)



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moderatelad

posted April 27, 2007 at 5:47 pm


curiouser and curiouser… | 04.27.07 – 11:23 am | #did not hold out much hope for this as it is impossible to some to not attack for whatever reason. I did think that I would hear from someone a little more interested in issues over personality, substance over smutt, finding middle ground over skewering each other with character faux pas. But – so be it, lets just keep talk about my guy is less reprehensable than your guy – that will get so much done and clear the air. Then we can all walk around and do the Rosie to each other (grab it and yell bite me – or was it eat me)So folks – get your one liners honed up as curiouser and curiouser… | has declaired open season on character bashing. Do have a great day – .



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