Bilerico Report

Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, and oxymoronic ‘Biblical’ science

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum

“Not knowing is bad. Not wishing to know is worse.”
—Nigerian Proverb

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking
we used when we created them.”
—Albert Einstein

Former Pennsylvania Senator and two-time presidential candidate Rick Santorum has joined Donald Trump’s newly formed Catholic Advisory Group to bring more Catholic voters to the campaign.

By now, most people are aware of Santorum’s position, so to speak, on marriage equality and his absurd rambling statements on same-sex sexuality, which can be summarized in a quote he gave during an Associated Press interview:

“In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality.”

Possibly less known and understood are Santorum’s views on climate change.

The devoted practicing Catholic recently publicly sparred with the spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, who has been speaking out again what he acknowledges as the human role in climatic change that is currently plaguing our planet. The Vatican released Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change, about which Francis stated to reporters:

“I don’t know if it is all [humanity’s fault] but the majority is, for the most part, it is man (sic) who continuously slaps down nature. We have in a sense taken over nature.”

During an interview with Fox News, Santorum asserted that the Pope should stay out of the global climate debate, and that he is more qualified than the Pope to raise the issue. Also, on a Philadelphia radio station earlier, Santorum proclaimed that the Pope should “leave science to the scientists” and concentrate his energies on “theology and morality” rather than climate change.

Actually, Pope Francis studied chemistry and worked as a chemist before joining the seminary, while Santorum graduated with a degree in political science. On Fox News, Santorum defended his criticism of the Pope while asserting his own political imperative to raise the issue of global climate change.

“Politicians, whether we like it or not, people in government have to make decisions with regard to public policy that affect American workers,” Santorum said. He continued by adding that while “the Pope can talk about whatever he wants to talk about,” Santorum does not think Francis should use his moral influence to combat environmental and climatic fluctuations. “I’m saying, what should the Pope use his moral authority for?” Santorum asked. “I think there are more pressing problems confronting the Earth than climate change.”

So, Mr. Santorum, state on the record why the destruction of polar ice caps and the disastrous raising of sea levels are not a high moral priority? Why isn’t the clear cutting of ancient forests a high moral priority? Why isn’t human pollution of our waterways, our air, our soil, and our ground water, especially in areas where economically disadvantaged people live in high concentrations, a high moral priority?

Why isn’t the human burning of fossil fuels, which 97.1 percent of environmental scientists assert stands as the leading cause of continually rising temperatures around the planet, a high moral priority? Why aren’t the following scientifically-verified consequences of human-impacted global warming high moral priorities?

• Increasing species extinctions
• Reduction of coral reefs, mangrove forests, and tropical rainforests
• Threats to small island states in the Pacific as sea levels rise
• Increasing drought threats in Africa
• More severe flooding in densely populated river deltas in Asia
• More severe weather in hurricane prone zones

Mr. Santorum’s assault on the facts related to the human impact on climate change and anyone who defends these facts has been continuous. As a candidate in the presidential primaries in 2012, Santorum questioned President Barack Obama’s “theology” in an Ohio campaign stop, February 19, 2012 by asserting that Obama believes in “some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology.”

When asked to explain his remarks on the CBS news program “Face the Nation” by moderator Bob Schieffer, Santorum responded that he was referring to “the radical environmentalists,” and by implication, placed Obama in this category. Santorum attacked the notion that “man is here to serve the Earth,” which he argued “is a phony ideal.”

While Santorum conceded “that man is here to use the resources and use them wisely, to care for the Earth, to be a steward of the Earth,” he was emphatic that “we’re not here to serve the Earth. The Earth is not the objective. Man is the objective. I think a lot of radical environmentalists have it upside-down.”

In yet another ill-conceived and executed religious crusade, Santorum, with his publicly expressed literal biblical interpretation, conjures up such passages as Genesis 1:26, which states:

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’”

And Genesis 1:28: “God blessed [humans] and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.’”

Unfortunately, Santorum is certainly not alone among his Republican colleagues and electorate. A Pew Research Center for the People and the Press study, “A Deeper Partisan Divide over Global Warming,” found that while 58 percent of respondents who identified as Democrats and 50 percent of Independents believe that global warming is mostly caused by human activity, only 27 percent of Republicans believed this.

Among Democrats with higher educational levels, 75 percent with college degrees, compared with 52 percent with less education, expressed the view that solid evidence has shown human activity largely as the cause of global warming. Opposed to the Democrats, however, educational levels of Republicans resulted in an inverse relationship in trusting the scientific evidence with only 19 percent of Republican college graduates compared with 31 percent of those with less education believing in the human connection to climate change.

How many more British Petroleum and Exxon Valdez oil spills, oil train disasters, burst and leaking pipes, fouling shale oil extractions, polluted and poisoned waterways and skies, dead lakes, clear cut forests, mine disasters, mutilated and scorched Earth, nuclear power plant accidents and meltdowns, toxic dumps and landfills, floods and droughts, trash littered landscapes, extinct animal and plant species, encroachments on land masses by increasingly raising oceans and seas, and how many more unprecedented global climatic fluctuations will it take for the anti-science Republican party and others to put the health of the planet, and by extension the health of all Earth’s inhabitants, on the front burner of policy priorities over the unquenchable lust for political payoffs and profits by corporate executives?

Today, fully 56 percent of U.S. Congressional Republicans deny climate change, or deny human causation. Within the 114th Congress, at least 170 elected representatives have collected approximately $63.8 million from the fossil fuel industry.

For a party claiming to stand as “pro-family,” what kind of legacy and what kind or future are they really bequeathing to our youth? For a party that claims to promote political conservatism and “traditional values,” what is more traditional and value-laden than conserving and thus sustaining the Earth’s resources responsibly and equitably for ourselves and for future generations?

We have long since answered the question of whether humanity is responsible for climate change, and now we need to figure out how to fix the damage we have wrought. And for the remaining science deniers and those who have profited from a destruction of the Earth, consider a poignant proverb from the Cree nation:

“Only after the last tree has been cut down,
only after the last river has been poisoned,
only after the last fish has been caught,
only then will you learn that you cannot eat money.”

So what does this tell us about Donald Trump who now relies on Rick Santorum for advice, scientific and otherwise? Actually, not much more than we already know about Trump.

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