While admittedly unscientific, the Nov. 30 opinion poll on climate change showed that respondents, by a 2-to-1 margin, agree with the worldwide consensus of independent scientists.
In contrast, Republican politicians reiterated their contempt for the president by voting to subvert his efforts at the Paris climate conference (12-2, A15, “Congress undermines climate talks”).
Could it be that they live in a state of denial because of campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry, including the Koch brothers and Americans for Prosperity? Exxon Mobil, using its $100 million per-day profits, has employed the same tactics that the tobacco industry used for years to intentionally deceive the public — this time about climate science.
Unfortunately, trends in climate change are not easily reversed. For decades, our children will be paying for the foolishness Republican deniers are displaying today.
“Defund the government,” say members of the tea party. Except the airline pilots need to be certified, airports need to be inspected and have security, water and air should be of such quality that they can be consumed, our food should be safe and edible, meat should be safe and free from contaminants, highways should be drivable, mail should be delivered and drugs (especially the imported ones) should be inspected.
President Ronald Reagan used to say, “Government is the problem.”
Or is it?
“Stop the people at the border,” says the anti-immigration crowd.
But before you do, make sure of the following: The meat is always available and cheap. Vegetables and fruit are plentiful. Our yards are tended. Construction and roofing go on. Our homes are cleaned regularly. Our children are watched and kept safe, and our hotels and motels are cleaned.
I am writing in response to the devastating attack at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, the most recent homegrown terrorists’ target (11-30, A10, “Clinic attack comes amid political fight”).
One definition describes terrorists as “non-state actors using violence against civilians to achieve a political aim.”
It is clear that whether releasing doctored videos or picketing Planned Parenthood clinics, the intent is to incite fear in people seeking health care. Anti-choice extremist ideology, enhanced by repulsive text and visuals, promotes fear and incites violence.
Americans’ cherished right to free speech does not excuse or condone acts of violence. Outrageously, some media and politicians encourage this toxic situation by obfuscating and redirecting attention to peripheral issues rather than denouncing the violent acts perpetrated by homegrown terrorists.
Enabled if not provoked by extreme right politicians and legal strategists playing the system, these terrorists are ignored until horrific damage has been suffered. Then claims of free speech or right to carry again are allowed to drown out the cries of the innocent victims and their families.
Love, not fear
As a Christian pastor, I am compelled to speak out for refugees fleeing the horrific, state-sponsored violence in Syria.
Once a lawyer asked Jesus how he might inherit eternal life.
Jesus told him to love God and his neighbor.
Then the lawyer asked, “Who is my neighbor?”
Jesus answered with a parable about a Samaritan who stopped to help a man who had been beaten and robbed after two others simply passed by. At that time, Samaritans — who inhabited the land just south of Jesus’ home of Galilee — were a suspect people who practiced a strange religion.
To the north was another territory known then and now as Syria.
The point of that parable was that all those “suspect” citizens were indeed the neighbors we are called to love. Today, the descendants of Jesus’ neighbors to the north are risking their lives to find safe sanctuary for their families.
The values of my faith and my country are clear: love and welcome these neighbors.
As our representatives debate closing our borders to Syrian refugees, I hope that they will remember those values and act in love, not fear.
Rev. Donna Simon