Does anyone hear the ominous background music? A window-shopping couple smiles; a mother pushes a baby carriage; a child plays in a sandbox. Everyone’s happy. But the slow drumroll and dissonant cellos betray the inexorable menace: A Palinized version of the Republican Party – that formerly stuffy but reasonable gent now gone wild – will soon run the House of Representatives, with Illinois Republican John Shimkus possibly heading up the powerful Energy Commerce Committee. The obvious evidence for climate change, one of humanity’s gravest challenges, will be buried beneath a heap of Bible verses stolen from their context. GOP leaders have already said they’ll axe the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
Shimkus’ name kills rational discussion about the Gospel as fast as you say “Pat Robertson.” Skeptics fear we’re like him, forcing us into verbal back-pedaling: “I’m sure the Congressman is a sincere man … bla-blah-blah … No doubt he’s a fine Christian brother … blah-blah-blah … I don’t question his motives, but … blah-blah … blah … blah … blabiddy-blah-blah-BAH!” They’ve heard he wants the committee chair and they trembled at his statements of March 2009. He began by reading from Genesis 8:21-22: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though all inclinations of his heart are evil from childhood and never again will I destroy all living creatures as I have done. As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, will never cease.” Then a passage from Matthew 24: “And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” He interpreted: “The earth will end only when God declares it’s time to be over. Man will not destroy this earth. This earth will not be destroyed by a flood. … I do believe that God’s word is infallible. Unchanging. Perfect.”
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