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E. Calvin Beisner

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E. Calvin Beisner is a right-wing political activist and dominionist and was a theologian at the Knox Theological Seminary in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida from 2000 to 2007. He promotes just about every brand of extreme wingnut crazy, though he has been particularly active in global warming denial and anti-environmentalism.

Anti-environmentalism, climate denial, and the Cornwall Alliance[edit]

Cornwall Declaration[edit]

Beisner launched his crusade against environmentalism in 2000 with a document called the "Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship." It was signed by a number of prominent wingnut fundamentalists including James Dobson, Chuck Colson and R.C. Sproul. The document is essentially an attempt to hijack the theological concept of "stewardship." In Christian theology, stewardship is the concept that the Earth and its resources belong to God, but he has given them to man as gift. Thus, protecting the Earth and the environment is a service to God, or, in other words, humans have stewardship over the Earth and a responsibility to care for it.[1] This theological concept has historically been used to recruit evangelicals for environmental activism. The Cornwall Declaration spins this as a denialist tactic:

First, the document notes that "many people mistakenly view humans as principally consumer and polluters rather than producers and stewards.”

Second, Cornwall takes a critical look at the perception that “nature knows best,” or that “the earth, untouched by human hands is the ideal.”

Third, the declaration points out that while “some environmental concerns are well founded and serious, others are without foundation or greatly exaggerated.”[2]

Cornwall Alliance[edit]

In 2005, Beisner founded the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance (ISA) to promote the "tenets" of this document. In response to the launching of the Evangelical Climate Initiative, a project lobbying for action on global warming, Beisner (along with some other notable deniers such as Roy Spencer and Ross McKitrick) authored "A Call to Truth", a denialist declaration also targeted at evangelicals.[3]

In 2006, the ISA "reorganized" into the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. "Reorganized" translates to expanding their denialist campaign by attracting large sums of oil money and cosponsoring denier conferences and propaganda campaigns with other astroturf organizations like the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation. Beisner also sits on the advisory board of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, which employs a laundry list of experts for hire including Patrick Michaels, Marc Morano, and Michael Fumento.[4][5]

Their output mostly consists of cut-and-paste jobs of various esteemed scholars such as Spencer, McKitrick, the Idso family, Christopher Monckton, Richard Lindzen and the rest of the usual suspects (along with the Oregon Petition, naturally) with some quote mines of actual research and references to the Bible thrown in.

Beisner was tapped for his "expertise" to testify at a Congressional hearing on global warming in 2009, alongside Monckton.[6]

The Green Dragon[edit]

In 2010, the Cornwall Alliance launched its "Green Dragon" project to hype a 12-part documentary series they produced and the accompanying book. It features a number of luminaries in the field of religious zealotry, including Beisner himself, David Barton of WallBuilders, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. Besides copious amounts of climate denial and attacks on Al Gore, the series pushes some John Bircher-esque conspiracy theories (updated for the 21st century) about environmentalism (sorry, the "Green Dragon") being a secular religion supplanting Christianity, a front for a world government, and a population control scheme. Oh, and also, James Cameron's Avatar is supposedly a propaganda piece for this shadowy agenda.[7] The series got ringing endorsements from Glenn Beck and Victoria Jackson.[8]

Miscellaneous crankery[edit]

  • Beisner is, of course, a proponent of Intelligent Design. He didn't care much for the outcome of the Dover trial and he has done "research" for the Institute for Creation Research.[9]
  • AIDS is punishment for (what else?) the gay.[10] The homosexual lobby is also apparently a huge force in Washington DC].
  • Tornadoes? Just another punishment from God.[11]
  • In response to Stephen Hawking: "The law of gravity is, of course, not nothing, and consequently the universe's spontaneous self-creation wouldn't be a creation from nothing anyway."[12]
  • His batshit crazy brand of Christianity is just fine but Oneness Pentecostalism is a cult.[13]
  • His latest project is something called In His Image 2012, which is — you guessed it — yet more dominionist-inspired noisemaking against all the usual predictable bogeymen like "naturalistic Darwinism", "free-sex, no-fault divorce", "radical environmentalism" and the like.[14]
  • In an appearance on the American Family Association's Focal Point, Beisner and the even more cracked Bryan Fischer agreed that GOP Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan's suspect record on environmental regulation was actually a sign that Ryan understood that "God made man in His image to be creative and productive as He is, to fill and to rule the earth." What this has to do with understanding how the environment actually works is anyone's guess, but not to worry: carbon dioxide can't possibly have any deleterious effects on the atmosphere since plants eat carbon dioxide and an increase in carbon dioxide actually means that "the more the crops grow… the cheaper the food is around the world" and this "actually helps especially the poor" (sic).[15] This might be one of the finest examples of combined Dominionist doublethink and Dunning-Kruger pretzel logic ever found.

External links[edit]

References[edit]