Thursday, January 18, 2007

RED ALERT!! Follow Up to Brief Notes

Two alarming stories hit my eyes earlier this morning and I will link to them shortly. In my brief notes post the other day, I mentioned the growing merger between left and right on environmentalism. Yahoo News has a story on the evangelical and "scientists" [quote marks around the word scientists are for obvious reasons]. Here is the article in full:

Evangelicals, scientists join on warming

JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press Writer
Wed Jan 17, 7:22 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Saying they share a moral purpose, a group of evangelicals and scientists said Wednesday they will work together to convince the nation's leaders that global warming is real.

The Rev. Rich Cizik, public policy director for the National Association of Evangelicals, and Nobel-laureate Eric Chivian, director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, were among 28 signers of a statement that demands urgent changes in values, lifestyles and public policies to avert disastrous changes in climate.

"God will judge us for destroying the Creation. Therefore, we as evangelicals have a responsibility to be even more vigilant than others," Cizik told a news conference.

"Science can be an ally in helping us understand what faith is telling us," he said. "We will not allow the Creation to be degraded, destroyed by human folly."

Among the project's supporters are Edward O. Wilson, a two-time Pulitzer prize-winning scientist and author; James Hansen, a prominent NASA climatologist; and Calvin B. DeWitt, president of the Academy of Evangelical Scientists and Ethicists.

Chivian said evangelicals and scientists are not as odd a couple as they may seem.

"We discovered that we were both speaking from our hearts and our minds. We found that we really like each other," he said.

Not all evangelicals were on board.

The Interfaith Stewardship Alliance, formed by evangelicals who say scientific evidence counters claims of climate change, derided Wednesday's announcement as "just another attempt to create the impression of growing consensus among evangelicals about global warming. There is no such growing consensus."

The alliance charged that the National Association of Evangelicals' board never approved the new collaboration. The NAE said its board approved a "dialogue," but no specific actions.

The new effort represents the boldest evangelical step yet into the world of environmental activism.

To start, the coalition is meeting with congressional leaders, both Democrat and Republican, organizing a summit on environmental issues and developing public relations tools such as a "Creation Care" Bible study guide.

It also has requested a meeting with President Bush. Sens. Barack Obama (news, bio, voting record), D-Ill., Richard Lugar (news, bio, voting record), R-Ind., and Olympia Snowe (news, bio, voting record), R-Maine, all signaled their support Wednesday for the collaboration of evangelicals and scientists.

Their pairing grew from a retreat last year at which all sides agreed that human behavior and public policy have put the environment at risk.

In the past, conservative Christians who embraced that cause have met significant resistance.

The Rev. Joel Hunter of Northland megachurch in Longwood, Fla., refused to become president of the Christian Coalition of America last year because he said the group would not expand its agenda to include the environment and poverty. Hunter has now endorsed the new project.


On the Net:

National Association of Evangelicals:

Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment:

The other story that hit me, coincided with gus van horn's excellent post on the Fairness Doctrine. Found here:

This is from a fellow blogger, Bill Hobbs, of Nashville who had this important post on his Blog yesterday--again, posted in full with link:

Criminalizing Free Speech
The Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate is moving to restrict your free speech rights in a big, big way. Section 220 of Senate Bill 1, the lobbying reform bill legislation currently before the U.S. Senate, would require grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to 500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report quarterly to Congress just as big-time lobbyists do.

Section 220 would require reporting of "paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying," - and would define "'paid" merely as making communications to 500 or more people. That's it. And last week the Senate passed an amendment to the lobbying reform bill to create criminal penalties, including up to one year in jail, if someone "knowingly and willingly fails to file or report."

So, a blogger with 500 readers who criticizes Congress or urges some sort of policy action would be subject to the law's reporting requirements. In effect, critics of Congress would have to register with Congress.

This blog has more than 500 readers. In fact, it is read by around 25,000 different people every month, though not every day. But I will never register with or file a "lobbying" report to Congress. Never. Because is not a lobbying effort, it is a independent project in journalism, protected by the First Amendment, which says that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Section 220 threatens to abridge my - and your freedom of speech and of the press (ink or digital), and it even threatens my - and your - First Amendment right to the free exercise of your religious faith.

That's because Section 220 isn't limited to bloggers and others who wish to write and speak out about their government. Section 220 also represents a wholesale attack on the free exercise of religion, as any pastor, rabbi, imam or guru who speaks about a public policy issue to an audience of 500 or more people would have to register as a lobbyist and file quarterly reports. A pastor who writes an op-ed urging the U.S. to pull its troops out of Iraq, or urging Congress to fund or not fund stem-cell research, for example, would be communicating to more than 500 people. They, too, would be subject to the onerous registration and reporting requirements of Section 220 =- or risk the criminal penalties.

it is not just an assault on the First Amendment rights of religious leaders - it is an assault on the First Amendment rights of all Americans. If you emailed 500 people and urged them to "call their congressman" to support or oppose some bill, and you didn't register as a lobbyist and file a quarterly report, you would be at risk of a year in prison.

All brought to you courtesy of the Democratic-controlled Senate.

[Addendum: Hell, in my post the other day, I didn't even mention the mindless Islamic hordes who want to kill us. A good ten other things could've been included, too for that matter. I just didn't want to depress myself any further!]

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