Rejecting The Enlightenment

And here I thought Scott Pruitt was just a bought-and-paid-for member of the “mafia” wing of today’s GOP. His long history of combatting environmental regulations while representing fossil fuel industries seemed adequate to explain his (toxic) presence in the Trump Administration.

Now, however, we discover that he is also a True Believer in the Pence mold. According to Politico, Pruitt has a history of statements that would do Pence and the rest of the “cult” wing of the party proud.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt dismissed evolution as an unproven theory, lamented that “minority religions” were pushing Christianity out of “the public square” and advocated amending the Constitution to ban abortion, prohibit same-sex marriage and protect the Pledge of Allegiance and the Ten Commandments, according to a newly unearthed series of Oklahoma talk radio shows from 2005.

Pruitt, who at the time was a state senator, also described the Second Amendment as divinely granted and condemned federal judges as a “judicial monarchy” that is “the most grievous threat that we have today.” And he did not object when the program’s host described Islam as “not so much a religion as it is a terrorist organization in many instances.”

The six hours of civics class-style conversations on Tulsa-based KFAQ-AM were recently rediscovered by a firm researching Pruitt’s past remarks, which provided them to POLITICO on condition of anonymity so as not to identify its client. They reveal Pruitt’s unfiltered views on a variety of political and social issues, more than a decade before the ambitious Oklahoman would lead President Donald Trump’s EPA.

This is the man who is charged with safeguarding the nation’s air and water, the man whose agency is our first line of defense against climate change. Never before has the EPA been headed by a person who actively dismisses and ridicules science and scientific evidence.

When the taped conversations emerged, an EPA spokesman was asked whether Pruitt’s skepticism about evolution– one of the major foundations of modern science– could conflict with the agency’s mandate to make science-based decisions.

Spokesman Jahan Wilcox told POLITICO that “if you’re insinuating that a Christian should not serve in capacity as EPA administrator, that is offensive and a question that does not warrant any further attention.”

Obviously, that was not the “insinuation,” although I for one would agree that a person espousing Pruitt’s particular version of Christianity and its mandates should be kept as far away from the EPA as possible.

Some polls show that less than 30 percent of white evangelical Protestants believe that human activity is the driving factor behind climate change.

And Pruitt has echoed that sentiment, telling CNBC last year that he did not believe carbon dioxide was a primary contributor to climate change. Last week, he told the Christian broadcaster CBN News that he supports developing the nation’s energy resources, a stance that he believes aligns with Scripture’s teachings.

“The biblical worldview with respect to these issues is that we have a responsibility to manage and cultivate, harvest the natural resources that we’ve been blessed with to truly bless our fellow mankind,” he said.

To suggest that criticism of Pruitt is tantamount to saying that religion disqualifies people from heading the EPA is not only appallingly dishonest, it flies in the face of the agency’s history.

Pruitt isn’t the first EPA administrator to openly express his or her religious faith, of course. His immediate predecessor, Gina McCarthy, was a Roman Catholic who visited top officials at the Vatican in 2015 as church officials worked to write Pope Francis’ climate change encyclical. She oversaw the creation of the major climate change and water regulations that Pruitt’s EPA has started to unwind.


  1. “Allowing Scott Pruitt to make decisions about the environment is like putting Mike Pence in charge of women’s reproductive health.”

    Since the Rev Pence has been so active in filling Gov posts with true believers, he really IS in charge of women’s reproductive health

    These folks have a more enlightened way of thinking:
    Ron Reagan – Freedom from Religion:

  2. I was a volunteer for Congressman Phil Sharp’s campaign when Pence ran against him. We would hear the campaign staff talk about Pence and his “faith.” He was faithful to anyone who paid him enough money (as in the tobacco corporations) to push their agenda with a little bit of God and Jesus thrown in. Anyone who Pence has brought into this administration is as much of a POS as Pence. It is clear that Pruitt, like Pence worships anyone who has the money to support their bogus faith.

  3. Now you know why these (Christian) religious zealots fear other religious zealots. Yet, they claim they don’t want to push their religious beliefs on others.

    It also demonstrates the base of the modern day gop – conservatism. Fundamentalists.

    Trump was bragging on Twitter yesterday about the number of regulations eliminated by his administration with the EPA. Music to Charles and David Koch’s ears.

    And speaking of irony…the indiana gop who are literally stealing Muncie School District from the people with HB 1315, made this last minute amendment yesterday:

    “4:16 p.m. – Amendment #9 by Sen. Randy Head (R-Logansport) would require the Muncie Community School Corporation to follow Indiana law when it comes to the U.S. flag, including the pledge of allegiance, instruction on the Constitution of Indiana and the U.S., the system of government, American history, and good citizenship instruction.
    Amendment #9 was approved by a voice vote.”

    They honestly believe they are following the constitution by stealing a public school district from the people and handing it over to Ball State University so they can eliminate the teacher’s union.

    Two minutes after the above amendment was approved, this amendment by OUR local rep was rejected:

    “4:18 p.m. – Amendment #2 by Sen. Lanane would allow teachers in the Muncie Community School Corporation to maintain their contracts and require the corporation to recognize collective bargaining rights. Amendment #2 failed 15-34.”

    Liberals and liberalism (open-minded) are the anti-Christ to these fundamentalists.

  4. The statements “… according to a newly unearthed series of Oklahoma talk radio shows from 2005.” is an indication to me that even George W.’s administration ignored Pruitt’s senatorial foundation was not worth considering. It also puts our current situation on all issues Pruitt tried to push through the legislature solely on the backs of our entire current presidential administration. Why do they insist on a Biblical basis for pushing through these issues while ignoring the most Godless man ever to serve at any level in the United States government? If God was seeking a replacement for Satan when Trump took control; He/She couldn’t have found a more qualified candidate.

    “Allowing Scott Pruitt to make decisions about the environment is like putting Mike Pence in charge of women’s reproductive health.” Of course we can’t eliminate Pence and his qualifications for the same position replacement for Satan. “Like seeks like.” “Water seeks its own level.” “We are known by the company we keep.” all come to mind. Those of us who wondered in 2016 why Pence was the GOP selection for vice president with Trump no longer question that decision. Who else would qualify?

  5. The damage done to the teachings of Christ by Evangelicals is immeasurable. Twisted interpretations of the Old Testament, self righteousness mixed with a certitude based on fantasy, and an unquenchable thirst for power have driven thousands from the pews of every denomination. They have been aided by the silence of leaders of other religious groups and the direct help of politicians mostly of a Republican bent.

    There truly are good people out there, doing the good works taught in the New Testament, daily living a life of honesty, humility and hope. They need no church or cathedral; they need no ideology, no dogma, no leader. Their course is charted in their hearts and guided by reason based on reality.

  6. Theresa; AMEN!

    The religious basis for the repealing of protective laws, passing laws which endanger lives, turning the nation’s education system into “God’s Kingdom”, using the term “Christian” as their foundation makes no sense when you know most of their “beliefs” are based in the Old Testament. The foundation of the Jewish religion is used as their guidelines to lead this country in the name of Christianity to…who knows where…while practicing anti-Semitism to the fullest measure confuses this spiritual old woman. In the words of Yul Brenner as the King of Siam, “Is a puzzlement!!!”

  7. The title of today’s post is appropriate in more than one way, because “enlightenment” pertains to ones intellectual status as well as to an historical period.

  8. I often wonder why those who profess such strong faith in their god see a threat to their personal beliefs in anything that varies to any degree from their “deeply held beliefs”. If the purpose of religious faith is for personal spiritual discovery why does it matter what anyone else believes? So there is only one conclusion: religion is not about faith, spirituality or personal comfort; it’s only about grabbing and holding control of social institutions and forcefully imposing “deeply held beliefs” on others who don’t share those beliefs and separating society into well defined classes, with members of their religion at the top.

    Pruitt, like Pence, is a pay-to-play kind of guy. Who has and will do or say anything to maintain cash flow. and control. With respsect to the pressing problem of climate change, he’s our Nero.

  9. For those of you wondering how Pence got his job, here’s an explanation that makes sense. The Koch’s didn’t like 45 and were disinclined to support him. Pence, on the other hand, had been in their pockets from the beginning of his career. Republicans were desperate to keep Koch money flowing. They lined up behind Pence and convinced Ivanka that he was the man for the job, so the family supported him as well. They believed that whoever became VP would be in charge of this administration. They clearly underestimated 45’s ego.

    The only way to understand what’s happening is to become well versed in Chaos Theory.

  10. Putting Pence in charge of women’s health is akin to putting Casanova in charge of nunneries. Of course believing Christians can be environmentalists, too, as Jimmy Carter was and is. Trump has no religion but appoints those who profess a religion to sensitive positions of power in order to carry out Bannon’s “deconstruction of the administrative state.” Anyone who thinks that Bannonthink has exited the Oval Office because Bannon is gone has another think coming, given Trump’s phone call proclivities and Bannon’s love of influencing the powerful.

    Pruitt is a disaster not because he claims to be a Christian; he is a disaster because he is a laissez faire apologist for the fossil fuel industry who occupies a position of power. There were no diesels, coal-burning power plants or billions of people around to foul the environment in the day of Jesus. The problem is that fossil fuel extractors and users have somehow managed to persuade people who may otherwise be of good will that there is a connection, or as in the case of Pruitt, that his religion is a convenient crutch to cover his right wing ideology. If he really believed what Jesus had to say rather than what medieval monks subsequently interpreted what he said, he would be an environmentalist. In words of the street, I think Pruitt is a phony.

  11. “Chaos theory is a branch of mathematics focusing on the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions. ‘Chaos’ is an interdisciplinary theory stating that within the apparent randomness of chaotic complex systems, there are underlying patterns, constant feedback loops, repetition, self-similarity, fractals, self-organization, and reliance on programming at the initial point known as sensitive dependence on initial conditions. The butterfly effect describes how a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state, e.g. a butterfly flapping its wings in China can cause a hurricane in Texas.[1]”

    Peggy; the above is copied from Wikepedia, the term “apparent randomness of chaotic complex systems” describes our Trumpism situation in the White House with “underlying patterns” based in wealth, “feedback loops, repetition” leads us back to “follow the money”. That includes Trump’s sex life, a “nonlinear system” seeking gratification in many directions and has led us back to the “follow the money”. That questionable $130,000 paid to Stormy by somebody indirectly for or by Trump directly while all those involved throughout the current administration are “Rejecting The Enlightenment” of of the “deconstruction” of our government and destruction of our country. Your reference to “Chaos Theory” took me to the movie, “Jurassic Park” and Jeff Goldblum’s explanation and on to his comment regarding the “creation of a lost world” with the warning “nature finds a way”. In the case of this government; the human nature of racism, bigotry, sexism, et al has found a way via one man’s gigantic ego to create a new version of the Cold War. Quickly heating up to total destruction and bringing about another “lost world”, this time for humanity. Anyone else notice the explanation referring to the “later state” using China and Texas as the example?

  12. Gerald,

    “.. Pruitt is a phony.”, says all there needs to be said about him, Pence and Trump. It is truly a collection of dunces, no matter what book they’re following. It IS all about the money, and the seditious, greedy morons who buy into the claptrap of evangelical Christianity should never be anywhere near government at any level. They and their self-righteousness destroy everything good that they touch.

    So, naturally, Trump picked Pence and Pruitt…along with DeVos, Carson and the other 60-something knuckleheads who left or were fired. That speaks more for the failure of the true-believers who voted for this crap storm than anything else. They just weren’t paying attention to anyone.

  13. JoAnn,

    You might want to read “The Nazis March to Chaos: The Hitler Era Through the Lenses of Chaos-Complexity Theory” by Roger Beaumont.

    “Although Fascism is widely seen as a right-wing movement, those boundaries have been blurred as well. Some variants like Peronism and Nazism enfolded populist and socialist values and rhetoric and modernist and antimodernist themes.”

    “That ambiguity blurs our view of what elements of neo-Fascism might be merely pallid traces and which might be powerful pathologies and precursors of a significant resurgence. While it seemed unlikely from the end of World War II to the mid-1980s, Fascism was not dead but dormant. If as David Schoenbaum and others have suggested, all complex societies harbor germs of Fascism, then, in CHAOS-COMPLEXITY TERMS, it might be some sort of self-organizing system generated by the convergence of a set of not necessarily identical conditions and, like the tracings of a double attractor, orbiting withing a range that produces roughly approximate pathologies.”

    “COMPLEXITY: Not all complex systems are chaotic, and not all chaotic systems are complex. An extremely intricate system may look highly regular in its behavior, but become chaotic very suddenly-like a single flat tire jamming freeway traffic, or a chance remark triggering a prison riot. In such instances, a highly charged and delicately balanced system that appears calm at one instant becomes widely turbulent the next, like the description of the “political upheaval in eastern Europe in 1989” flowing out of “long maintained stable states” and the sudden outbreak of some wars.”

    Does this sound familiar?

  14. Daleb for the win! Your post spoke to me.

    My creed is this: You can be good without god.

  15. Surprised that Todd defends the crooks who really stole $10,000,000 from Muncie in their latest heist. Sheila hadn’t heard about the Fag end of the Enlightenment? That happened a long time ago….need to be catching up to the times. Amusing that the idiot whose opus was A Theory of Moral Sentiments (morals are determined by polls), is also the guru idiot whose unread Wealth of Nations is being dredged up as an argument against tariffs. But, the choir above sings the same old songs….surprised the Loon Kool Krull hasn’t chimed in.

  16. By working on Wall Street and Hollywood, Steve Bannon was cognizant of the complex-chaos system that was moving for the most part sub-surface since the late 60’s in the U.S. He tapped into it and was able to pull off through Donald Trump, possibly, the biggest heist of all time.

  17. Oddly enough the fossil fuel industry at it’s core uses geology and the evolution of the planet to determine where to dig or drill. Ordinarily, you could reasonably presume Scott Pruitt would be conflicted. He is a champion of fossil fuel, but would have deny the processes that created fossil fuels.

    The movie Lathe of Heaven has this quote: To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven.

    This quote describes the extreme religious or evangelical world view, that is if you do not understand – go no further or you will be destroyed.

    Science does not stop at what cannot be understood. Science seeks an answer or explanation.

    As a Boomer, the change after Sputnik was launched and in particular after Gagarin circled the earth, heralded an explosion of Science in all directions. Somehow Science has lost ground (Satire except if it is an expansion in cell phone games), I suspect once Science began to clash with corporate profits and theocracy it was fair game to be attacked.

    What I did not see was the marriage or joining of Steroid Capitalism and Steroid Theocracy to produce the willful display of proud ignorance, that protects profits. Since I grew up a catholic, I should have seen this coming. Back during the Middle Ages the rich could buy indulgences from the catholic church, that is a remission of sins.

  18. Who says stuff like “..Fag end of the Enlightenment? ” Really? Choir above? Perhaps that “contributor” will one day discover that his voice is mute while others try to hit the right notes.

  19. Just a few words on the Chaos Theory – Dictators and Authoritarians will encourage rivalries among those in the palace so to speak. It keeps potential rivals for power or prestige in check by having them fight among each other. No one person can be allowed to eclipse the Trumpet (aka Agent Orange) thus, he can and will dispose of those who do not meet his loyalty demands or get too big – like Steve Bannon, etc.

    Agent Orange will also spin and turn on a dime. A statement today by Agent Orange can be contradicted tomorrow. This perpetual spinning forces his underlings to make a choice, take a principled stand or prove their loyalty by ignoring, covering up or adding to the lies. Agent Orange’s claim of the largest inauguration crowd required fact twisting to the point of alternative truth.

  20. I mentioned the other day a David Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud, and writer of several very influential books the best known one being “Propganda”. Here’s the opening paragraph from Wikipedia about him.

    “Propaganda, an influential book written by Edward L. Bernays in 1928, incorporated the literature from social science and psychological manipulation into an examination of the techniques of public communication. Bernays wrote the book in response to the success of some of his earlier works such as Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923) and A Public Relations Counsel (1927). Propaganda explored the psychology behind manipulating masses and the ability to use symbolic action and propaganda to influence politics, effect social change, and lobby for gender and racial equality.[1] Walter Lippman was Bernays’ unacknowledged American mentor and his work The Phantom Public greatly influenced the ideas expressed in Propaganda a year later.[2] The work propelled Bernays into media historians’ view of him as the “father of public relations.”[3]”

    While he may well have been aiming at “propaganda to influence politics, effect social change, and lobby for gender and racial equality” what he unleased had much of the opposite impact.

    One of his first of many financial success’s was a project for the tobacco companies wherein he taught them how to access a very large untapped market. At the time it was culturally inappropriate for women to smoke. He initiated a complete cultural reversal by suggesting that cigarettes for women were “torches for freedom” thus freeing women from the slavery of male dominated culture.

    We can clearly see his influence in today’s politics. Everybody is for freedom. Authoritarians have been focused on the freedom to impose what they want on others. Liberals see that as power. Liberals want freedom for everyone from disease and ignorance and economic slavery and poverty and prejudice and religion. Authortarians see that is restricting their freedom.

    The bottom line is the propaganda is about pushing the buttons we all respond to. Sex, freedom, love, and safety and probably more.

    We are all susceptible to it whether it’s applied for good or evil.

    We have to get out from under it’s influence to be really free and self actuated. That requires strong capable government which regulates the forces which can’t distinguish between self interest and public interests.

  21. “Rejecting The Enlightenment”

    “Allowing Scott Pruitt to make decisions about the environment is like putting Mike Pence in charge of women’s reproductive health.”

    Trump’s Conscience and Religious Freedom Division of the Department of Health and Human Services will protect health care workers who refuse to prove medical treatment based on their religious beliefs. This control would pass to Pence (if he isn’t already overseeing the Division), we really don’t know what he does as VP but well remember what he left behind in Indiana.

    Trump just signed the “Trade War” bill, rejecting more common sense enlightenment regarding our employment and economic livelihood status. There is no end in sight to the Republican’s promised “deconstruction” of this government and democracy. Remember that popular old WWII song, “When The Lights Go On Again All Over The World”? The results of this act will be felt around the world; punishing billions of citizens in other nations due to his “coming unglued” during one of his temper tantrums. Those other nations will blame us, and rightly so; we allowed this to happen with our partisan infighting and ignoring all signs of troubling factors in Trump’s campaign – after ignoring his lifetime of the same immoral and illegal egotistical public behavior for 40 years. Who else is there to blame? He has only accomplished this chaotic situation due to our own election system based on gerrymandering, the Electoral College, Citizens United and the 1% who bought out this government; lock, stock and barrel.

    Maybe Trump is more “enlightened” than the rest of Americans.

  22. Vernon Turner @ 9:29am yesterday:
    ‘So, naturally, Trump picked Pence and Pruitt…along with DeVos, Carson and the other 60-something knuckleheads who left or were fired. That speaks more for the failure of the true-believers who voted for this CRAP STORM than anything else. They just weren’t paying attention to anyone.’

    “CRAP STORM”: The GOP sh!t hitting the fan,
    always extruding from ignorance.

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