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Tea Party Rejects Science, Embraces Religion

We keep hearing that the tea parties are a secular movement dedicated to issues of spending and deficits. But their insistence that climate change is fake has to raise some eyebrows. Lots of explanations can account for this, of course. Dealing with climate change would cost money, after all. And it’s no accident that the group most heavily bankrolling the tea party movement, the Koch Brothers, are a pair of oil polluters themselves. Funny how those priorities just line up.

But I don’t think you can discount the importance that religion plays in all of this:

A rain of boos showered (Rep. Baron) Hill, including a hearty growl from Norman Dennison, a 50-year-old electrician and founder of the Corydon Tea Party.

“It’s a flat-out lie,” Mr. Dennison 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.” […]

“This so-called climate science is just ridiculous,” said Kelly Khuri, founder of the Clark County Tea Party Patriots. “I think it’s all cyclical.”

“Carbon regulation, cap and trade, it’s all just a money-control avenue,” Ms. Khuri added. “Some people say I’m extreme, but they said the John Birch Society was extreme, too.”

I just added that last bit because I love the idea that it’s some kind of argument to say “Some people say I’m extreme, but they said the John Birch Society was extreme, too.” Yeah, and they were right.

The entire tea party movement is based on a certain faith in the durability of arguments that have failed the country time and again. But that lines up very well with the faith that God will protect the planet no matter what the people do to it. To keep that faith, they’ll concoct any number of theories about hoaxes to explain away the science. This just entrenches the status quo. But it also keeps alive the notion that God will heal all troubles, and that the world was brought into perfection and cannot be tampered with, etc., etc.

I agree with Digby on this one – the malefactors of great wealth know exactly how to get the rubes on their side – invoke religion as a means to continue their raping of the Earth.

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David Dayen

David Dayen