A Koch Hack Tells the Pope to 'Back Off' on Climate Change

Pope Francis will be issuing a rare encyclical on the environment and climate change next year, and it's pretty clear that his message will not be "Drill, baby, drill."


According to the Guardian story, Francis will urge "all Catholics to take action on moral and scientific grounds."

Along the lines of what he said in October:

The monopolising of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water, inadequate agro-toxics 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.
Unlike in other matters through the many centuries, the Catholic Church has essentially accepted the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change.

But some Catholics, especially in Fox "News"-deluded America, will have none of that, at least according to one of the hundreds of Koch-funded conservatives on offer to journalists to give the polluters' point of view.

Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance, a Religious Right group that specializes in promoting pollution, has been well-paid by the Kochs and other polluters to say things like this:

[to believe in climate change] "really is an insult to God ... and it will eventually lead to tyranny."
Here's what he gave the Guardian for "balance":
Francis will also be opposed by the powerful US evangelical movement, said Calvin Beisner, spokesman for the conservative Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, which has declared the US environmental movement to be “un-biblical” and a false religion.

“The pope should back off,” he said. “The Catholic church is correct on the ethical principles but has been misled on the 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.”

This is interesting on several levels.

1) Beisner is not Catholic, so why would a reporter ask him about the Pope? Other than that he is sure to return your email/call, since that's his job.

2) Beisner's grift is getting polluters to fund his propagandizing of white conservative evangelical Protestants like himself. Preaching to the conservative choir is a solid meal ticket these days. But it's not a Catholic choir in this case.

3) A minority of US Catholics are right-wing conservatives, and some of them have lots of media cred. Were none of them available (on presumably short notice) to espouse climate change denial?

4) Why would Francis care what "millions of evangelical Christians in the US" think about his endorsing the climate change consensus? If he thinks it's the right thing to do, he will do it, even if millions of American Catholics oppose him.

5) The "false religion" bit is ironic, since that's a charge evangelical Protestants have been aiming at the Catholic Church for 500 years.

Besides the encyclical, Francis plans to convene a summit of world religious leaders and speak to the United Nations General Assembly, all with the goal of influencing a major UN meeting on climate change in Paris next year.

Climate change will become a much bigger story next year, in good part due to Pope Francis.

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