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Jensen: Drunk on extremist Kool-Aid

Published September 14, 2013 1:01 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The obvious problem with extremist Republicans in Congress and their holier-than-thou, theocratic brethren in Utah is their penchant for denying scientific knowledge and consensus, especially if it interferes with corporate profits or fails to conform to some ancient scriptural edict.

Religion provides us with faith. Science provides us with facts. Faith alone will not save us from ourselves, and science is not the antithesis of religion. There is no reason why the two can't peaceably co-exist.

Rush Limbaugh can deny that climate change is real until the cows come home, but it's just hollow rhetoric from a shallow mind. Preachers can warn, and many have, that the world will end tomorrow, but a lot of tomorrows have come and gone and you can bet money that the sun will rise again in the morning.

But the same tea-party zealots who put their faith in these charlatans can look at shrinking glaciers, rising global temperatures, increased storm activity, super storms, rising sea levels, abnormal climate fluctuations, crop and habitat destruction, and drought, and swear up and down that they are hoaxes perpetrated by secular scientists and godless liberals. This is the "Drill, baby, drill" mentality.

These radicals will fight for the rights of fetuses, but they abandon those same children after they are born by denying them food stamps, school lunch, a quality education and health care. So much for Christian compassion. God helps those who help themselves, and he expects us to help each other. Or did they leave that part out of the Tea Party Bible?

Christian fundamentalism preaches that the Earth is only 6,000 years old (more or less), and that the Bible has the answers to all of mankind's problems. No, it doesn't.

The Bible is a guidebook comprised of parable, allegory, soliloquy and superstition, blended with bits of inspiration and revealed truth. It's a beautiful work of prose and literature containing many moral lessons; not a literal interpretation of historical fact or modern prophecy. It was not intended to be a panacea for all the ills of a modern world. This is where science comes to the rescue and why it's not the enemy.

Ignorance is easy because you don't have to know anything to deny everything. I'm a tolerant man, but I have no empathy for people so obtuse that they can't see past their own clouded ideologies to recognize a transparent truth, even when it bites them on the butt.

The radical right has abandoned common sense and basic human decency to embrace a vapid and simplistic world view that is so naïve it borders on idiocy and leads to self-annihilation.

There is hypocrisy on both sides of the political aisle, but it's business as usual for ultra-conservatives. Here is a perfect example from the group Mormon Environmental Stewardship about Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah: "Like most politicians, [Rep.] Stewart did what politicians do best [at a recent public meeting]: obfuscate. He cannot 'decide' on environmental questions, he said, because he does not have the facts. The EPA has 'kept' them secret," he claims.

"But he did say that regulations that cost money must be rejected. So, the facts don't matter if acting on them would cost the big-money hedge funds and oil industry tycoons. This is the reason Congress has a less than 10 percent approval rating. Politicians, like Stewart, don't care how many suffer and die of polluted air and water, as long as funding from their industry friends continues to flow."

Amoral rationalizations like Stewart's are the result of drinking too much watered-down red Kool-Aid. None for me, thanks. I'm not that thirsty.

David E. Jensen is a freelance writer, environmental advocate, and political agitator. He lives in Holladay.






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