Quizzed: Illinois Republican Representative John Shimkus answers questions for reporters after appearing before the House ethics committee

Representative John Shimkus

This month we learned about the Republican Representative from Illinois, John Shimkus. Representative Shimkus tried to make a play to Chair the House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee. Representative Shimkus did so by emailing his congressional colleagues saying that he was uniquely qualified to lead the powerful committee, citing the fact that he has served on it continuously for the past seven years. This has the potential to sound like a noble pursuit, yet  when you dig a little deeper and find out that House Representative Shimkus insists that global warming is nothing to worry about because “God promised Noah that he wouldn’t destroy the Earth”, that’s when the red flags pop up. This is a scary proposition when you take into consideration that this historic committee (established in 1795) has a central role in deciding United States’ energy and climate change policy. Shimkus also had the audacity to stand on the floor of the House in 2009, before the Energy sub-committee, and read them that very passage from the Bible. The passage was Genesis, Chapter 8 Verse 22. Here’s a quote from that session,

“As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, will never cease. I believe that is the infallible word of God, and that’s the way it is going to be for his creation. The earth will end only when God declares its time to be over. Man will not destroy this earth. This earth will not be destroyed by a flood.”

Representative Shimkus then went on to say,

“Today we have about 388 parts per million in the atmosphere. I think in the age of dinosaurs, when we had the most flora and fauna, we were probably at 4,000 parts per million. There is a theological debate that this is a carbon-starved planet — not too much carbon. And the cost of a cap-and-trade on the poor is now being discovered.”

That is chronic delusion at an astonishing level. The real question here is does Representative Shimkus actually believe this nonsense himself? Or is he just so far into the energy companies’ pockets that his brain is getting clogged with pocket lint? And by pocket lint I mean huge campaign donations…If I had to guess, I’d say it’s probably the latter. However for the sake of conversation, let’s first throw out the fact that this guy was reading the Bible on the floor of the House of Representatives, which is surely made up of people from multiple religions. Secondly let’s remind ourselves that as Americans, we abide by a system of checks and balances, one of which is a separation of church and state, which resides in the Constitution intentionally to weed out this sort of religious nonsense. Then let’s just focus on the quote Representative Shimkus so adamantly believes: “as long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, will never cease.” Well guess what Representative Shimkus? You’re right, but you have missed the point. The Earth will never cease, seed time and harvest will still exist, day and night will still move forward, and yes the world will in fact still be here. Do you know what won’t still be here? The people. You remember us, right? We’re the ones paying your $200,000 a year salary; maybe that rings a bell?

Electing this delusional energy company lackey to the U.S. House of Representatives was an obvious mistake. Letting him chair the House Energy Committee would be an even bigger one. There is a reason why 99 out of 100 climate scientists believe in global warming–because it is real. Unfortunately for Representative Shimkus, the imaginary man in the sky has never been good at protecting us from natural disasters. Just ask the people of New Orleans, Haiti or the Gulf Coast. Global warming is a legitimate threat and it is not a partisan issue. It is a human issue. No one in this country wants to live in the carbon rich utopia Representative Shimkus describes, with skyrocketing temperatures and polluted air. Furthermore, the people of South Florida don’t feel like getting washed out to sea when the ice caps melt. Quite simply put, a clean planet is something we should all be able to get behind because it benefits everyone equally. Now Representative Shimkus, let me put it into words you can understand, you’re obviously a religious man. So I ask you, do you honestly believe that if Jesus was here today, he’d be for destroying the planet? I don’t think he would be, I think old JC would have my back on this issue. It is hard to picture a God whose intention is harming mankind, especially when (according to the Bible) he created us in his image. After all, the Bible is supposed to be used as a guideline for living a good life on Earth–not as a shield for slowly killing its inhabitants.