Over the weekend I read that during a congressional hearing, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) tried to argue against a cap & trade policy because… here, you have to read it for yourself:
SHIMKUS: It’s plant food … So if we decrease the use of carbon dioxide, are we not taking away plant food from the atmosphere? … So all our good intentions could be for naught. In fact, we could be doing just the opposite of what the people who want to save the world are saying.
I did the usual laugh-through-my-tears routine and moved on. But I found out that there was more. Moments later, he concluded his questioning by saying:
The basic finish for this comment is “the Earth will not be destroyed by a flood.”
Yes, he’s using passages from Genesis to inform his policy decisions. As it turns out, he had given a speech at the beginning of the hearing about his religious beliefs:
For those of you who can’t watch the video, he reads passages from the New Testament, professing to believe it the infallible word of God. After closing the book he says: “The Earth will end only when God declares it is time to be over. Man will not destroy this Earth, this Earth will not be destroyed by a flood.”
Many people have asked me how religion is harmful. This is the harm. Any time we encourage (or allow) people to trust faith as a legitimate knowledge source, we run the risk that their faith will be contrary to reality. Our observations of this world have indicated that global warming is a threat. Representative Shimkus’ faith instructs him that there is no danger. We have a problem.
Eventually the real-world evidence might build up to the point that he is forced to ‘reinterpret’ those passages, but I don’t want to wait and see.
What I DO want is for members of our secular government to make decisions based on secular reasoning–without being influenced by their beliefs about the supernatural. If Representative Shimkus is unable do that, then he is unfit to perform his job.