One of the greatest things to happen over the past year is the remarkable revelation that there is finally, at long last, a major Christian leader, and member of the clergy, who espouses, embraces, and promotes the teachings of Jesus Christ. Even for an avowed secular humanist, this is a stunning, and welcomed, development if for no other reason than one of the world’s leading religions appears to be adopting Christ’s regard for the world’s poor and downtrodden. Of course, the Catholic Pope has garnered nothing but serious opposition and pushback from America’s evangelical and Catholic Republican movement, and now the Koch brothers and their dirty energy cabal have joined what is developing into a dirty oil-evangelical war against Pope Francis.
The Pope already drew the wrath of both evangelical and Catholic Republicans in Congress for criticizing the greed and income inequality championed by the GOP, but now he has the undivided attention of the Koch brothers, Exxon, and their dirty energy cohorts. The cause célèbre for the Koch-funded evangelical movement is the Pope’s recent announcement that it is beyond high time for the world, and “all Catholics” to join the fight to reduce the existential threat to human beings from anthropogenic climate change. Last October, the Pope harshly condemned “The monopolizing of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water, inadequate agro-toxics that are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his birth. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness.”
Those words, although accurate, were toxic to a Koch-funded evangelical Christian group made up of pastors and Christian leaders, the Cornwall Alliance, that considers the devastating effects and great cataclysms we witness from the effects of anthropogenic (manmade) climate change the will of almighty god and biblical. A godly will that no man, much less the Vicar of Christ, dares speak out against or attempt to change. In the view of evangelicals and their leaders, if man destroys the environment and threatens human existence, it is god’s will and they will fight to see climate change’s full effects to fruition; for god, the bible, and the mountains of cash from the Koch brothers dirty energy cabal. Besides, evangelicals could not care one iota less if Earth becomes uninhabitable because something about an absurd idea of being “raptured” away for a ring-side seat as those sinners “left behind” receive god’s almighty wrath in the war of Armageddon.
The Cornwall Alliance was quick to lash out at the Pope this week when he announced he would be issuing a “rare encyclical on the environment and climate change” early this year, as well as convene a summit of the world’s religious leaders to address climate change. Pope Francis will also address the United Nations General Assembly with a view toward influencing the upcoming U.N. meeting on climate change in Paris this year.
The Pope’s announcement drew a harsh rebuke from the religious right’s Cornwall Alliance, whose spokesman, Calvin Beisner, said that regardless of his position as Pope, or intent to help mankind, “Francis will be opposed by the powerful US evangelical movement.” The Koch-funded “Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation” had previously issued a biblical declaration labeling the American environmental movement a dirty false religion and “unbiblical.” There is nothing whatsoever in any version of the Christian bible that refers to the American environmental movement as a religion, false or otherwise, or contrary to biblical principles. But American evangelicals cannot be expected to know the contents of an alleged holy book they refuse to read much less follow.
Beisner also warned the Pope that he had better “back off” talking about combatting climate change saying that although “The Catholic church is correct on ethical principles, it has been misled on science. It follows that the policies the Vatican is promoting are incorrect. Our position reflects the views of millions of evangelical Christians in the US” as well as the Koch brothers who fund the Cornwall Alliance. In fact, as an evangelical group, “specializing in promoting pollution” has been a funding bonanza for the evangelicals who issued their own Christian edict that “to believe in climate change is really an insult to god and will lead to tyranny.” Leave it to American-style bastardized Christianity to know what their god considers and insult; unless their “god” is the Koch brothers’ dirty energy industry money.
There are some addressable issues in Beisner’s warning to Jesus Christ’s “representative on Earth” to back off and stay out of the fossil fuel industry’s business of decimating the environment. The only “ethical principle evangelicals agree with Catholic doctrine on is controlling women by banning all forms of “unnatural birth control.” Other than that one abominable concurrence, this new Pope’s adherence to the biblical Jesus Christ’s teachings that “millions of evangelical Christians” reject is a major source of angst and ire to Republicans, the religious right, and their funding machine the Koch brothers. That the Pope embraces the obvious science and empirical truth about anthropogenic climate change, and is joining the battle to assuage its destruction, is why the Kochs and their dirty energy cabal are funding the evangelical war against the Pope; to perpetuate the damage from climate change and their ungodly profits.
This is not Cornwall’s first foray into the war to increase carbon emissions and oil industry profits. A couple of years ago one of the Kochs’ and oil industry’s greatest political and legislative arms, the Heritage Foundation, gave the evangelical Cornwall organization a forum to roll out its crusade against climate science called “Resisting the Green Dragon.” According to Cornwall’s pastors and Christian leaders, the Kochs’ oil industry campaign against efforts to combat climate change is the evangelical movement’s “biblical response to one of the greatest deceptions of our day” against what they have labeled “a false religion.” The group claims the entire climate change movement is a “nefarious conspiracy to empower eugenicists and create a global government” and portrays even the idea of climate change as the work of Satan the Devil.
Pope Francis has already shown he is not swayed, impressed, or intimidated by evangelical or Catholic Republicans in Congress so it is highly unlikely he will be terrorized by “millions of American evangelical Christians” or their Koch brother, filthy energy industry funding machine. The relationship between the Kochs and Cornwall is symbiotic in that the Kochs get a ready-made batch of religious sycophants dedicated to supporting the destruction of the environment to hasten the onset of their cherished end time “rapture,” and the Cornwall Alliance evangelical pastors and leaders get an endless supply of Koch, Exxon, and oil industry cash.
The Pope may not be an environmental champion yet, especially in America, but because he is the first Pope in generations to actually espouse the teachings of Jesus Christ, it is highly likely his war on global climate change will garner widespread support from the estimated 1.2 billion Catholic devotees around the world. Still, with only millions of American “onward Christian soldiers” in the evangelical movement opposing the Pope, and unlimited Koch and oil industry money, one can only assume that the Koch war on the Pope will not end quickly; at least not in America.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.