Sunday, June 12, 2011

Beisner Lambastes Environmentalists on American Family Radio

Right Wing Watch brought attention to a recent edition of American Family Radio, in which Bryan Fischer interviewed E. Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance. The Cornwall Alliance is perhaps best known for releasing an anti-environmentalist curriculum and book entitled Resisting the Green Dragon, which demonizes and caricatures environmentalism as allegedly un-Christian. A video excerpt of the interview is posted above, and the entire interview can be seen at www[dot]afa[dot]net/Radio/show.aspx?id=2147490466&tab=video&video=2147507154

Fischer and Beisner used recent flooding of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers as a backdrop to their anti-environmentalism discussion. Beisner criticized a member of the Ohio State University Olentangy River Wetland Research Park, claiming the man proposed demolition of levees along the Mississippi River in favor of a riverside wetland park. This, Beisner argued, would replace useful farmland with "swamp" and cause the river to flood every year instead of every fifty years.

Fischer asked his guest to contrast the worldview of "secular fundamentalists" with a supposedly Biblical worldview of man's relationship with the environment. Beisner replied that the supposed green approach to let the river flood typifies the environmentalist worldview, which allegedly wants to elevate earth to a higher status than humanity. He cited a lecture in the Resisting the Green Dragon series about Hinduism and nature, scoffing at a river-worshipping community in India that refused to build a dam to control river flooding. In response, Fischer asserted that environmentalism is a return to "dark paganism."

Beisner insisted that environmentalists want humanity to return to a "pre-industrial" and "pre-agricultural" society, requiring the disappearance of 95% of the human race. He and Fischer then discussed candidates for the 2012 presidential election, lambasting Mitt Romney for his belief that humans are contributing to global warming and praising Rick Santorum for rejecting the idea. The two referenced Santorum's recent interview on Rush Limbaugh's radio show, in which he claimed that the idea of climate change is a scheme by the left to justify more government control in people's lives.

Beisner's interview on American Family Radio contained his usual diatribes against environmentalism, including sweeping generalizations about environmentalists that do not reflect reality. For example, he assumes that all environmentalists subscribe to radical biocentrism, which is not the case. His outrageous claim that environmentalists supposedly want to return to some anarcho-primitivist stone age does not characterize the bulk of environmentalists. Finally, the men's conflation of environmentalism with paganism not only demonizes real-life pagans, but paints a dark picture of all environmentalists for their fundamentalist Christian audience. In short, the interview was another example of Religious Right voices caricaturing and demonizing environmentalism.


  1. I don't understand the anti-environmentalism of the Christian Right. Mormons claim to be against environmentalism too (Romney being an exception) even though so many of their teachings support the environment. Like food storage, growing their own food, home canning, sewing clothes, and being self-reliant in general. Also, Utah has some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet. I think it's a matter of appearing "liberal."

  2. Donna -- I think that many right-wing commentators look askance at environmentalism because (1) it challenges corporate interests, and (2) it challenges notions of hierarchical human dominion over nature.

    Your observation about anti-environmentalists among the Mormons is a head-scratcher, especially since many of those activities could be considered "green".

  3. This "dark pagan" would like to see Beisner returned to the pre-agricultural period.

  4. So let me get this straight. If we got rid of all the pollution, developed (mostly) free green energy sources, eliminated oil spills that kill off entire ecosystems, and drastically reduced harmful chemicals including carcinogens from our environment, this would eliminate 95% of the human race?

    Oh ... I get it. We're going to promote the evolution of human intelligence and ... eliminate the Religious Right through natural selection. Hey, that's the ticket. : )

  5. Cognitive Dissenter -- Your explanation makes a lot more sense than theirs!


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