Tea Partiers Fall Back on Religion to Deny Reality of Climate Change

The New York Times had an interesting, but unsurprising, article last week on the fact that Tea Partiers don’t accept the validity of man-made climate change. As I said, hardly surprising, especially in light of the fact that from the beginning, the oil industry has set up the Tea Party movement to use its supporters as the front-line infantry in their battle against anything approaching even a modicum of increased regulation. I noticed how ingrained this was in September 2009, when I attended the first 9/12 Rally in DC. Protesters spoke at length about the socialistic evils of the market-based reforms of cap-and-trade—a rather wonkish topic I thought for a group that loves to rail about the educated elites.

From the Times article:

Those who support the Tea Party movement are considerably more dubious about the existence and effects of global warming than the American public at large, according to a New York Times/CBS News Poll conducted this month. The survey found that only 14 percent of Tea Party supporters said that global warming is an environmental problem that is having an effect now, while 49 percent of the rest of the public believes that it is. More than half of Tea Party supporters said that global warming would have no serious effect at any time in the future, while only 15 percent of other Americans share that view, the poll found.

And 8 percent of Tea Party adherents volunteered that they did not believe global warming exists at all, while only 1 percent of other respondents agreed. Those views in general align with those of the fossil fuel industries, which have for decades waged a concerted campaign to raise doubts about the science of global warming and to undermine policies devised to address it.

The article makes clear the oil industry’s financial influence on the Tea Party movement, noting support from groups like Americans for Prosperity, which was founded and largely financed by oil industry interests. However, the most fascinating aspect of the article is how, when asked to explain their denialism of climate change, Tea Partiers seem to want to drop the pseudo-science fed to them from the corporate astroturf web sites and turn to religion.

Again, I noticed the same thing at the 9/12 rally. The minute they are pressed to explain themselves with facts, they fall back on faith:

Lisa Deaton, a small-business owner in Columbus, Ind., who started We the People Indiana, a Tea Party affiliate, is supporting Mr. Young in part because of his stand against climate change legislation. “They’re trying to use global warming against the people,” Ms. Deaton said. “It takes away our liberty.”

“Being a strong Christian,” she added, “I cannot help but believe the Lord placed a lot of minerals in our country and it’s not there to destroy us.”

“It’s a flat-out lie,” Mr. (Norman) Dennison (a 50-year-old electrician and founder of the Corydon Tea Party) said in an interview after the debate, adding that he had based his view on the preaching of Rush Limbaugh and the teaching of Scripture. “I read my Bible,” Mr. Dennison said. “He made this earth for us to utilize.”

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