Congressman John Shimkus: The Bible says don’t worry about global warming

| March 29, 2009 | 22 Replies

Illinois Representative John Shimkus knows all he needs to know about climate change.  It’s all in the infallible Bible.  Here he is demolishing all of that silly science with a few phrases out of Genesis.   Based on his expressions, he’s a hero in his own eyes.  He’s got that look that he knows he will go to heaven.    Don’t worry.  There’s only going to be one worldwide flood and we’ve already had it.  Case closed.  Proceedings from the March 25, 2009 hearing of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment:

If you want to learn a lot more about the nonsense Shimkus spouts, visit Progress Illinois.

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Category: Current Events, Environment, global warming, ignorance, Politics, Psychology Cognition, snake oil

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Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich and his wife, Anne Jay, live in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where they are raising their two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Daylight Atheism > The Language of God: A Final Word | May 10, 2011
  1. I enjoyed watching the expression on the face of the cute woman on the right of the screen as he began reading from the bible!

    In my opinion, he should be removed from office. Imagine the outrage if he had begun reading astrology charts or invoking the Magic 8 Ball to calm our fears about global warming. There's no difference!

  2. Amanda says:

    So, why is it ok to have daily horoscopes in the newspaper, but not bible verses? This country is a republic under God. If you don't like it, move to North Korea.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Amanda: Huh? Who at this site is defending astrology? Where did anyone at this site write that newspapers should never publish bible verses? Back up your statement that this country is a "republic under God" with something other than the phrase the John Birchers put into the Pledge of Allegiance in the 1950's. Why don't YOU move to North Korea? This is my country and it is based on the First Amendment. You should go read it sometime. In fact, I'll paste it in for you:

      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.

      [emphasis added]

  3. Mindy Carney says:

    Wow. I'm stunned. This is embarrassing. And Amanda, what on earth does the astrology OR bible verses in a newspaper have to do with an elected official quoting Christian bible verses in government hearing in an effort to use them to establish policy?

    I haven't read a newspaper horoscope in awhile, but I remember clearly seeing "horoscopes are provided for entertainment only," every time I did. If a bible verse was inserted daily and given the caveat that it was there purely for the entertainment of the readers, well, I'd have no problem at all with it.

    But again, what does that have to do with this post or this video? This is an elected official!! He is actually quoting from a religious text, during an official hearing on a scientific matter! If he is going to vote based on his own beliefs, well, I guess that's his prerogative, IF that is the will of the majority of his constituents. BUT, to read aloud from the religious text in what can only be an effort to (a) justify his vote or worse, (b) to convince others to vote the same way for the same reasons – well, that is blatantly unconstitutional.

    Please, if you are going to "argue" on his behalf, do him a better turn than this.

  4. Tony Coyle says:

    The scariest thing about this is, as Erich suggests, the fact that Rep. Shimkus' religious beliefs not only 'inform' his decisions – but 'make' his decisions.

    That alone appears to me to conflict with the first amendment rights – not of Rep. Shimkus, but of those Illinois constituents in his district who do NOT believe in the inerrancy of the Christian Bible (a group that includes many Christians).

    Personally I have no problem with people having an opinion 'based on' their beliefs – no matter their source or accuracy. I do have a major problem with an elected representative demonstrating such unbridled and unthinking bias in their vote, which should be considered from the perspective of their constituents, not from personal bias or desire.

  5. Tony Coyle says:

    Erich – kudos for pointing out that we have only been one nation 'under god' since 1954 (thanks to the Knights of Columbus, The John Birch Society, and others). Our current crop of Christian Revisionists are seemingly 'hell-bent' on re-writing our History to suit their preconceptions.

    US money has only been godly since the late 1800's. The motto 'In God we Trust' was added to coins as a result of a Congressional Act on April 22, 1864 – to reflect the ' increasing religious sentiment' during the civil war. However, according to the US Treasury the motto disappeared from the five-cent coin in 1883, and did not reappear until production of the Jefferson nickel began in 1938. The Treasury also states in it's history, that

    A law passed by the 84th Congress (P.L. 84-140) and approved by the President on July 30, 1956, the President approved a Joint Resolution of the 84th Congress, declaring IN GOD WE TRUST the national motto of the United States. IN GOD WE TRUST was first used on paper money in 1957, when it appeared on the one-dollar silver certificate. The first paper currency bearing the motto entered circulation on October 1, 1957

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Tony: I had no idea that the mention of "God" on U.S. paper currency didn't happen until 1957. I guess that proves that the U.S. was an atheist nation for most it's existence. But I don't remember any Constitutional amendments around 1957 making the U.S. a Christian Nation. It's all beginning to sound like the legal-historical version of homeopathic medicine: nothing turning into something.

  6. Amanda,

    Can you say False Syllogism?

    Since in my opinion religion and astrology are pretty much based on the same kinds of assumptions about reality, then by all means newspapers should publish both. Or neither. Whatever they want.

    How come there are so few science columns in newspapers?

    I'll tell you—because so many people get bored when they have to actually think about things. Easier to regurgitate unlikely combinations of unrelated ephemera that have been spoonfed them by idiots (like Shimkus, who because they somehow inhabit positions of responsibility or authority, appear to be reliable) who really like the fact that people don't think logically or rationally and can be persuaded by—wait for it!—False Syllogisms.!

    And that love it or leave it crap is insulting. If you love something, don't you want it to be better? I do. So the question is, do you really think what Shimkus espouses is fine and that the country is fundamentally okay and doesn't need fixing? Does it irritate you when people keep pointing out the things that are broken?

    Maybe then you'd be happier in North Korea—it's already as broken as a country can get, so you'll be sure it won't get much worse. In fact, they don't want anyone to try to make it better and won't let anyone point out all the things that are wrong. You'd love it! So don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

  7. In God We Trust came into common use as "our" motto in 1956 to declare a major difference between us and the Reds. This led to, in hindsight, amusing flurries of hysteria when people in 1957 and '58 compared newer to older notes and found the slogan absent—leading them to declare that Communists had counterfeited our money and removed the declaration of trust in god!

    The only thing people seem to get that worked up about outside of government and religion is sports. But I shan't add to my already posted remarks on that subject.

  8. Dan Klarmann says:

    We bring up this modern adding of God to Americana regularly:

    In God We Trust (2007)

    The Changing Recipe of Pleasure Lesion Stew (2008)

    Let's start a traditionalist movement to remove God from public paraphernalia like money and the flag pledge.

  9. Tony Coyle says:

    I have a theory that much of America is founded upon a concept of loyalty to 'the community' much more than almost anywhere else in the world, simply due to the massive influx of immigrants.

    A driver of this was the desire of any new immigrant to 'fit in'. Coupled with America's generally small communities, new immigrants felt an overwhelming need to integrate (only the largest cities had sizable immigrant populations able to band together in Chinatown or 'Little Italy' of 'Little Greece').

    As Heinlein said (via Lazarus Long) "Whenever the locals rub blue mud in their navels, I rub blue mud in mine just as solemnly." These new immigrants may have wished to do may things differently, but 'blue mud' was the mode du jour, so they got rubbin'.

    Ethnicity and Community

    Many immigrants settled into 'ethnic' neighborhoods, where they could be proud of their ethnic backgrounds – even if it was their ethnic background that drove them stateside in the first place! Only in America do people care about their 'partial ethnicity'.

    I'm Scottish, but like most people in the UK, I'm a mongrel (Scots, Irish, Norse, Saxon, French, Germanic – you name it). It amuses me to hear Americans describe themselves as Irish-Lithuanian! But they really would feel disloyal to their ethnic community if they ignored such distinctions!

    Community and Sports

    One element that helped to fuse ethnic communities together into larger communities was professional (or league) sports – every town or city had a team, and it was important to 'root for your home town team'. Not because they were better, but simply because they were 'your team'. They were your champions, and you put your reputation in their hands.

    For new Immigrants, sports were an entrée into American life – what could be more American than pretzels and franks at the ball game? New citizens were eager to be seen as Real Americans™ – sports gave them the opportunity to demonstrate their 'American-ness' publicly.

    Community and Church

    Another facet of a new immigrant's life was religion. As with 'the underclass' throughout history, it was important that new Americans follow the example of the majority – and most Americans were church-goers (regardless of the depth of their belief).

    Culturally, Americans tend to be social conservatives, and in communities across the country church-going was simply what you did on a Sunday (or Saturday if you were Jewish). The new immigrants followed suit. In many cases, such as with the Irish, Italian, and Polish immigrants, their (Catholic) church came with them – but acceptance in most communities simply required adherence to the cultural norms – so new immigrants went to church.

  10. Tony Coyle says:

    Dan — I would be happy to join that cause! (but let me get my citizenship, first :D !!!)

  11. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Amanda, most people who read the horoscope in the newspaper don't take it seriously. and I don't recall hearing of more than a dozen elected US officials who consulted an astrologer on important administrative decisions.

    All the time you hear some politician say crap like

    "God is on our our side" or "We must protect our Christian way of life". and we accept it witout question. How does congressman Bob know this?

    Bob: God, how can we get these Moslem non-believers to tell what we want to hear, the truth that is?

    God: Well Bob, you could scare 'em. Here's a thought… stuff one into a little cage and put him in the middle of a corn feild when the tassels are in bloom, and tell 'em the tassel flies are wasps.

    Bob: That's kinda mean, isn't it? Besides, those stupid corn files can drive a man crazy even when he knows they can't sting or bite.

    God: Yeah, I was in a funky mood when I made them.

  12. Dan Klarmann says:

    The astrology consulting elected official that first comes to my mind is President Reagan. I doubt that he got there without the support of others.

  13. Danny says:

    Please, folks, don't let this Congressman speak for Christianity. His take is wrongheaded, as one of the first charges to humankind in the Bible is to be good stewards/caretakers over all natural life. Christians should be the example of conservationists, and many I know are just that.

    As a Christian, I fully get behind our country's First Amendment. Part of the reason is because if one cares about their particular faith, they would be wise to not repeat what happened in pre-reformation days where the Christian life was heavily polluted and diluted with politics and nationalism. I forget who said this, but I heard a quote, "whenever you mix politics with religion you get politics." Unfortunately, that's what I see with people who try to make Christianity and being a republican one in the same.

  14. Colten says:

    This man is not saying we shouldn't take care of the earth. Simply stating we don't need worry about Global Warming because it won't happen. Also, calling a christian brother wrongheaded because hes stating a verse that's in the bible is ridiculous and considered blasphemy.

    Although Science is God's creation, time after time, day after day we find out new things about the earth we live on. God is never changing. God is completely outside of those circumstances but at the same time is not put into a box. At one time we thought the world was flat. What makes us positive about some theory man created. That's it also. A "Theory" is not a fact. That's why it's called that.

    Now I don't see why any of you would believe me unless you have a relationship with Christ. Anything else outside of God is Bias and unimportant.

    Those who don't have ears to hear or eyes to see will not understand his word or ways. The enemy simply has a blindfold over the populist.

    Glorifying God is more important then any environment, any bill or law that can be passed. He is more then any relationship you claim to have.

    How many of you can truly say you have had a relationship with him? If you never have, or never even tried. Then What value is your opinion on something you don't know? There is none. The ones who have real faith will never back down from what we are called to do.

    You cannot Think your self to Salvation.

    Only a relationship with Christ is the answer.

    Religion Destroys, Christ Lives.

  15. Colten writes:—"Simply stating we don’t need worry about Global Warming because it won’t happen."

    Uh…but it is happening.

    also:—"Also, calling a christian brother wrongheaded because hes stating a verse that’s in the bible is ridiculous and considered blasphemy."

    That's just a clever way of roping something off and saying it's off-limits from any kind of critical examination. What if said brother IS wrongheaded?

    and:—"A “Theory” is not a fact. That’s why it’s called that."

    Another one who doesn't understand the difference between a hypothesis and a theory. Not entirely your fault, we misuse the term all the time. A Theory is a description of something that IS. In other words, it is about a FACT. It is a description of how that FACT operates and exists, but it is not airy speculation.

    then:—"Now I don’t see why any of you would believe me unless you have a relationship with Christ. Anything else outside of God is Bias and unimportant."

    Assertion on your part without any basis in evidence. In other words, no one will believe you unless we already believe you. This is called a tautology. Look it up. Also, it's nonsense.

    All the rest is the usual "Get yourself to the church" crap we hear and see every day. WE understand it perfectly. YOU don't understand what it is you're attacking. You are at a disadvantage.

    But since the subject of the post is solidly within the realm of the material, that's fine. If it's as unimportant as you claim, you won't mind if we vote this turnip out of office and anyone else who spouts drivel in lieu of reason. According to you, it won't make a bit of difference. So permit us benighted souls to RUN THE PLANET before idiots like Shimkus screw it up completely through negligence and uninformed indifference.

  16. Dan Klarmann says:

    Cotton: The Bible clearly states that the world is flat, as pointed out in Inerrant Biblical Geology Falls Flat. It is only a theory by man that it isn't. The round Earth theory is pretty well established, about on a par with biological evolution.

    The Bible also clearly states that all the stars and heavenly bodies rest on a single canopy. It is a theory by man that the planets, stars, galaxies, and so on are all at varying distances and velocities. Use of this theory is how we got close up pictures of the moons of other planets (none of which are mentioned in the Bible). Also how we figured out the minimum age of the universe (it could be much older than current theory, but not much younger).

  17. Karl says:

    Experts now starting to predict 20 to 30 years of Global Cooling.

    Here we go round the mulberry bush.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-12

  18. Dan Klarmann says:

    "Experts"? One guy, bucking the (thousands of) others. Using old records and ignoring new data. And also ignoring the normal 11 year solar flux cycle (we are just past a low, so we expect a cold winter or few). Also citing the long discredited climate model from the 1970's that said we should have steady cooling thru the 1990's as the new ice age approaches.

    I'm not concerned.

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