Photo of the day

Love this series of images from Svalbard.  The light really is something else.

When Wu visited Svalbard in October, the sun moved in a shallow arc, kissing the horizon most of the day.  Reuben Wu.  

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Right-wing evangelicals are the worst

Worst person in DC?  Okay, that’s Trump.  But, damn, is Scott Pruitt a close second.  The level of malfeasance and penny-ante corruption in a single person is pretty astounding.  How the hell does he still have a job?  Margaret Talbot suggests his Evangelical Christianity may, in part, be saving him:

One reason that Pruitt has managed to hang on this long is that some of the people he seems to have most impressed include the heads of polluting industries whose support helped bring Trump to power…

But there may be another secret to Pruitt’s tenacious grip on the agency that he’s busy undermining. Like several other members of the constantly churning Trump Administration who’ve managed to hold fast—Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, and Vice-President Mike Pence—Pruitt is an evangelical Christian. This group attends a weekly Bible-study session for Cabinet members led by Ralph Drollinger, a seven-feet-one-inch former college-basketball player who is the founder and president of Capitol Ministries and the author of “Rebuilding America: The Biblical Blueprint.” Drollinger recently told an interviewer for the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that he offered his White House flock “the high-protein diet of the Word of God.” Speaking about Drollinger’s Bible study, Pruitt told Christian Broadcast Network News, in March, that “to be encouraged, to pray, to basically—each of us are dealing with large issues—and so to spend time with a friend, a colleague, a person who has a faith focus on how we do our job, whether it’s through prayer or through God’s Word, and to encourage one another in that regard is so, so important, and we have that in our Cabinet and it’s such a wonderful thing.”

And, oh, my, the stuff these guys say/believe to justify their anti-science (and I would argue, ultimately anti-Christian) take on climate change is something else.  Wow:

In an essay published on the Capitol Ministries Web site in April, Drollinger explains that accepting a human role in climate change and trying to do something about it poses a terrible moral danger: “To think that Man can alter the earth’s ecosystem—when God remains omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent in the current affairs of mankind—is to more than subtly espouse an ultra-hubristic, secular worldview relative to the supremacy and importance of man.”

Drollinger warns that environmentalism has pretensions to replace Christianity and must be halted in its tracks: “In our lifetime there has been a radical shift in aggregate, national religious belief. In essence and unfortunately, America has been in the process of changing horses: from the religion of Christianity to one of Radical Environmentalism. We are in the process of exchanging the worship of the Creator for the worship of His creation. This is a huge and dire error, with extreme consequences, and it presages disaster.” And, when it comes to exploiting natural resources, Drollinger writes, “God is pleased when organic and inorganic substances, the lesser of creation, are utilized to benefit those uniquely created in His image.”…

Pruitt echoes much of this thinking—he speaks frequently about “stewardship” and “management” of the resources that “God has blessed us with” and clearly wants us to use, and of following the “Biblical world view” on environmental matters. He has expressed doubts about the human contribution to climate change, and, throughout his career, voiced alarm that the United States was keeping religion out of the public square. What may be the scariest thing of all about Pruitt’s tenure at the E.P.A. and the damage he can do to the environment is the righteousness he surely feels in doing it.

And, just before posting this, I came across a Slate article hitting similar themes:

Environmentalism and American evangelicals are like oil and water. Joel Hunter was one of a small number of high-profile leaders who worked, over decades, to try to mix the two. The effort has yielded minimal results: Just 20 percent of committed Christians consider themselves active participants in the environmental movement—a number that has barely moved for a quarter-century and represents less than half the proportion of environmentalists in the general population. The proportion of Christians who prioritize environmental concerns over energy production has dropped by about 20 percentage points in the last 25 years. And indications are that the more ardently Christian an American becomes, the less he or she cares about the environment. Evangelicals are the least environmentally inclined of committed U.S. Christians…

But there’s something that bothers me about the simplicity and convenience of explaining this all by the transitive logic of evangelicals are RepublicansRepublicans hate environmental regulationso evangelicals hate environmental regulation. It suggests that Christians are willing to cast off their moral obligations for political convenience. Maybe that’s true. Or maybe they don’t feel a moral obligation to protect Earth in the first place.

Um, yeah, it is true.  But not political “convenience,” political identity.  And safe to say we’ve reached the point where Republican political identity clearly trumps pretty much anything Jesus ever had to say.

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