As we survey the Republicans set to take charge of House committee chairmanships, we can see how some of them have said the darnedest things. For example, just look at the possible next chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL).
The committee’s current ranking GOPer, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), endangered his bid for the chairmanship this past June, when he publicly apologized to BP for the way they were cajoled into setting up a $20 billion escrow fund to compensate victims of that whole underwater oil geyser in the Gulf of Mexico.
But let’s take a look at Shimkus, who is a key alternative candidate to Barton for that chairmanship, and his pronouncements on climate policy and other issues — and how environmental catastrophes cannot possibly happen, because God will not allow it.
• Shimkus’s most famous moment came at a March 2009 hearing on energy and climate change, in which he cited as evidence against global warming none other than Genesis (the first book of the Bible, not the prog-rock band), and the story of Noah’s flood to demonstrate that only God can destroy the planet, not man.
As the State Journal-Register reported:
Shimkus read a portion of the book of Genesis that follows the great flood of Noah: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man,” God says in the excerpt, “even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood, and never again will I destroy all living creatures as I have done. As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”
Shimkus also referred to a biblical promise that “the earth will end only when God declares it’s time to be over. Man will not destroy this earth. This earth will not be destroyed by a flood.”
Shimkus said members of the clergy were in the room. “I appreciate having panelists here who are men of faith, and we can get into the theological discourse of that position,” Shimkus said. “But I do believe God’s word is infallible, unchanging, perfect.
Here is video, via Progress Illinois:
• As he also opined during the same hearing: “So if we decrease the use of carbon dioxide, are we not taking away plant food from the atmosphere?”
• In April 2009, he declared cap-and-trade proposals were scarier than terrorism: “I think this is the largest assault on democracy and freedom in this country that I’ve ever experienced. I’ve lived through some tough times in Congress — impeachment, two wars, terrorist attacks. I fear this more than all of the above activities that have happened.”
• During Obama’s speech to Congress on health care reform in September 2009 — the same one where Rep. Joe Wilson infamously yelled out “You lie!” — Shimkus walked out a bit early. His spokesman explained: “Congressman Shimkus was frustrated that the president was not offering any new ground and left with just minutes remaining in the speech.”
• He later voted no on the House resolution to disapprove of Wilson’s outburst.
• And more recently, he reaffirmed his belief that God’s guarantee against a new worldwide flood would prevent rising sea levels, telling Politico “I do believe in the Bible as the final word of God. And I do believe that God said the Earth would not be destroyed by a flood.”
• And on a non-climate or health care-related note, Shimkus played a role in the 2006 scandal surrounding then-Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) sexually inappropriate messages with male former House pages. Shimkus headed up the three-member panel that oversaw the page program — and did not notify its Democratic member, Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI), about the early reports of the messages.
Shimkus was first elected in 1996, picking up an open seat that had previously been held by Democratic Rep. Dick Durbin, who vacated the then-swing district to run for Senate. With the district’s current form, Shimkus now represents a Republican pocket of Illinois, in a district that voted 54%-44% for John McCain in 2008, and 61%-39% for George W. Bush in 2004.