Carol Costello and her two clerical guests slammed "climate change deniers" on Wednesday morning's CNN Newsroom. Costello pointed out a recent sarcastic tweet by Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak on the climate change issue that "sparked a firestorm," and spotlighted how "religious leaders are more than concerned about statements like that. They're now battling climate change deniers on moral grounds."
The anchor turned to Reverend Mitchell Hescox of the Evangelical Environmental Network and CNN religion commentator Father Edward Beck as her one-sided panel on the topic, and accused the "deniers" of not only eschewing science, but also being unfaithful to Scripture: [MP3 audio available here ]
CAROL COSTELLO: Reverend Hescox, can't we say just say it like it is? Climate change deniers aren't listening to scientists – or they're not reading the Bible. They're denying global warming for purely political reasons, right?
Costello led the segment by asserting that "climate change is real, but for many reasons, some people keep debating this issue – like game show host Pat Sajak. Maybe Sajak was joking, but he certainly sparked a firestorm with this Tweet...'I now believe global warming alarmists are unpatriotic racists knowingly misleading for their own ends. Good night.'" She continued that Sajak's "statement [is] so ridiculous, it's easy to laugh it off, except we can't because powerful politicians, like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, say – quote, 'I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it...'"
The CNN anchor then turned to her guests, and highlighted that Father Beck "thinks denying climate change is a sin." Costello first asked Rev. Hescox her beyond loaded question about "deniers...not reading the Bible." The president of the evangelical environmentalist group replied, in part, that "the comments of Mr. Sajak yesterday, even in sarcasm, were hurtful. And I want to pray and lift him up because we need to get over this angry hatred, and really turn to following the God that I know best in Christ and his love in leading us out of climate change."
The anchor later set up Father Beck to cite remarks from the last three popes to support his contention. The Catholic priest also blasted the "deniers" as being the real racists:
COSTELLO: ...On the purely scientific route, Father Beck, there's a 97 percent consensus among scientific experts that humans are causing global warming. Now, religious leaders, like Pope Francis, say we have a moral responsibility to take care of the planet. You say if we don't, we're sinners. Is that right?
REV. EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGION COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't say it. The Church has indicated that this is a moral issue, and just today – talk about breaking news – just today, Pope Francis, at his general audience in Rome, said this: 'If we destroy creation, creation will destroy us. Never forget this.' The Church, for a long time now, has been talking about climate change as a moral issue. John Paul II, way back in 1990, was talking about it. Benedict followed. We know that Benedict even said it's a sin against the commandments to be a polluter against the environment.
And so, we have to see the Earth – as we're stewards of creation, we need to care for it. This is God's gift to us. And if you abuse it, then you're really maligning that gift.
COSTELLO: You know, it's easy to blow off comments like – you know, Pat Sajak's Tweet, but Tweets like that resonate among some people. So, Father Beck, what would you like to say to Pat Sajak?
BECK: Well, what's interesting to me is the 'racist unpatriotic' – how you link the two. The argument could be made that it is more racist to deny climate change, because those being affected by it are the poor. The global poor are affected most by climate change, not the rich who can afford air conditioning and can get around all the deleterious effects of climate control – climate change.