GOP fears ‘rad­i­cal’ green agenda

The Washington Times Weekly - - Front Page - By Christina Bellantoni

Con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans who have han­dled en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­icy for the past decade say they worry the new Demo­cratic ma­jor­ity will use its power to pur­sue a “rad­i­cal” agenda that will hurt busi­nesses.

Repub­li­cans warn of end­less hear­ings on global warm­ing that re­quire sworn tes­ti­mony, new reg­u­la­tions on busi­nesses, and in­ves­ti­ga­tions meant to em­bar­rass the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion.

They say fu­ture en­vi­ron­men­tal pan­els will be “rad­i­cal” and “ex­treme,” es­pe­cially in the Se­nate with Cal­i­for­nia Demo­crat Bar­bara Boxer as the in­com­ing chair­man of the En­vi­ron­ment and Pub­lic Works Com­mit­tee.

“There’s a lot of gen­uine con­cern we’re go­ing to start drag­ging in oil com­pa­nies, util­i­ties and man­u­fac­tur­ers and start treat­ing them like crim­i­nals,” said a Repub­li­can staff mem­ber of the Se­nate panel. “She’s pretty out there.”

But Mrs. Boxer and oth­ers say out­go­ing Repub­li­can Chair­man James M. In­hofe — who calls global warm­ing a “hoax” — is the one with views out­side the main­stream.

Mr. In­hofe’s top press aide said at a cli­mate change con­fer­ence in Kenya last week that global warm­ing skep­tics have been “de­mo­nized.”

The League of Con­ser­va­tion

nica­tion, mas­tur­ba­tion and con­tra­cep­tion as sins that “vi­o­late the proper ends of hu­man sex­u­al­ity.” It passed on a 194-37 vote with one ab­sten­tion.

Bishops ar­gued about whether to en­dorse the New York-based group Courage, a sup­port group for ho­mo­sex­u­als that ad­heres to church teach­ings on stay­ing celi­bate.

“My own ex­pe­ri­ence with Courage over many years is that per­sons in­volved with this group are filled with hope and joy in lead­ing a chaste life,” St. Louis Arch­bishop Ray­mond Burke told bishops.

Chicago Car­di­nal Francis Ge­orge, who noted that Courage of­ten has been “un­justly at­tacked and falsely mis­rep­re­sented,” called the group “holy peo­ple.”

Other bishops ar­gued that they wanted to keep the state­ment generic. A ma­jor­ity voted not to men­tion Courage in the body of the text but in a foot­note.

“At least we made the foot­note,” said a Courage spokesman, who would iden­tify him­self only as “Ken.” There are 75 chap­ters na­tion­wide.

The Catholic ho­mo­sex­ual cau­cus Dig­nity called the doc­u­ment “deeply flawed.”

“We are deeply dis­ap­pointed the bishops did all the work on this doc­u­ment be­hind closed doors with­out even con­sult­ing ho­mo­sex­ual Catholics,” said Sam Sin­nett, Dig­nity’s pres­i­dent.

Bishops also ar­gued over whether to sin­gle out lib­eral Catholic politi­cians in the Com­mu­nion state­ment, “Happy are Those who are Called to His Sup­per.” About a dozen bishops dur­ing the 2004 elec­tions said pro-choice politi­cians would be turned away at al­tars in their dio­ce­ses.

“We can­not leave this un­ad­dressed,” said Arch­bishop Burke. “There is a clear pres­ence of scan­dal. When one of th­ese politi­cians who are im­moral [are shown] in Time mag­a­zine re­ceiv­ing Holy Com­mu­nion or what­ever, this is an af­front to the church.”

But Arch­bishop Burke’s amend­ment call­ing on bishops to is­sue a “for­mal canon­i­cal re­sponse” to per­sons “in di­min­ished com­mu­nion with the church” — which would pre­sum­ably in­clude pro-choice politi­cians — failed over­whelm­ingly.

The doc­u­ment does call on Catholics to re­frain from Com­mu­nion if they “re­ject the de­fined doc­trines of the Church.”

Even though bishops said only 4 per­cent of all Catholics ab­stain from ar­ti­fi­cial con­tra­cep­tion, the doc­u­ment spec­i­fied its use is “ob­jec­tively im­moral.” The doc­u­ment passed on a 220-11 vote.

As­so­ci­ated Press pho­to­graphs

U.S. Catholic bishops, at the an­nual fall con­fer­ence Nov. 14 in Bal­ti­more, ap­proved doc­u­ments that reaf­firm the church’s po­si­tion on ho­mo­sex­u­als, con­tra­cep­tion and Com­mu­nion.

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