Last week, 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg gave a copy of The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2019 report to U.S. lawmakers as part of her congressional testimony on the climate crisis.
However, Pastor Robert Jeffress—an Evangelical Christian minister and vehement supporter of President Donald Trump—proclaimed that perhaps Thunberg should consult quite a different document.
On Monday, during the United Nations climate summit, Jeffress was a guest on Fox Radio's Todd Starnes Show. Thunberg and the Climate Crisis were on his radar.
After repeating the conservative claim that climate change is an "imaginary crisis," Jeffress set his sights on Thunberg.
"Somebody needs to read poor Greta Genesis, Chapter 9 and tell her the next time she worries about global warming, just look at a rainbow."
"That's God's promise that the polar ice caps aren't going to melt and flood the world again."
Fox host Starnes concurred, stating:
"This whole global warming, tree-hugging fiasco—again, there is nothing to it. As you point out, they might as well hold a commission on the Tooth Fairy or Bigfoot, Sasquatch."
You can watch the comments here.
For those unfamiliar with the Bible, Genesis Chapter 9 involves Noah, the end of the great flood and God's covenant with animals (including human) kind. God says their bow in the clouds each time it rains will remind them to stop the rainfall and never allow rain to flood the Earth and destroy all plant and animal life again.
Rain. It's a covenant about flooding as a result of unending rain.
It seems Pastor Jeffress might need to brush up on his Bible himself. Or read the IPCC report—maybe Greta will read it to him.
Climate change and global warming projections from environmental scientists—like the UN's IPCC report Thunberg referenced—do not warn of excessive rainfall flooding the Earth.
Their concern is over melting polar ice caps, ice sheets and glaciers throughout the world that are disappearing at an alarming rate and ahead of previous projections. This raises both ocean water levels and temperatures.
God failed to mention that in Jeffress' Bible reading recommendation.
Jeffress got little backing for his "don't worry, look at rainbows" approach to climate change.
In addition to their ignorance of science, Jeffress and Starnes displayed a pervasive ignorance about young activists in general and of people with Asperger's Syndrome specifically. Starnes and Jeffress portrayed Thunberg and others as helpless victims "weaponized" by liberals.
Jeffress also repeated a sentiment many conservatives have expressed about Thunberg regarding her mental acuity implying Thunberg needs someone to read to her. Their remarks, echoing many conservatives online, seem to stem from their ignorance regarding Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
Many refer to Thunberg as mentally ill, then cite her Asperger's diagnosis.
ASD is not a mental illness, nor is Asperger's Syndrome. And mental illness is not a reason to disregard a person's valid and verifiable views on any topic.
According to Dr. Melissa Conrad Stöppler, people with Asperger's syndrome have normal to above-average intelligence. Experts in ASD stress the gifts and positive aspects of Asperger's, considering it to represent a different but not necessarily defective way of thinking.
But conservative Christians like Jeffress continue to question Thunberg's intelligence because... autism.
Dr. Stöppler reported the positive characteristics of people with Asperger's include:
- the increased ability to focus on details
- the capacity to persevere in specific interests without being swayed by others' opinions
- the ability to work independently
- the recognition of patterns that may be missed by others
- an original way of thinking
Dr. Temple Grandin—a fellow Aspie who was depicted in a film about her life, available here—created Autism & Asperger's Syndrome: An Insightful Presentation by Dr. Temple Grandin, available here, for people who want to learn more about Asperger's from someone with Asperger's.
Listen to the first season of George Takei's podcast, 'Oh Myyy Pod!' where we explore the racially charged videos that have taken the internet by storm.
Be sure to subscribe here and never miss an episode.