AFA warns of climate change … wait … what?

AFA warns of climate change … wait … what? October 16, 2011

The American Family Association is a religious right organization that is viewed as a bastion of wild-eyed right-wing extremism even by other religious right organizations.

AFA is the home of, for example, Bryan Fischer, who seems almost to believe the outrageous and vile things he regularly says about gays, Muslims, Mormons, and the rest of the barbaric hordes he sees as threatening white straight Christian civilization. AFA’s website hosts blogs by Fischer, Chuck Norris and David Limbaugh, as well as other even more obscure far-right fringe commentators.

The general take on climate change from the AFA is that it’s some kind of elaborate conspiracy cooked up by scientists and other satan-worshipping atheists in order to bring in the one-world socialist tyranny of the Antichrist. AFA’s “Rightly Concerned” blog regularly features posts or videos denying the reality, or even the possibility, of climate change. See here and here and here and here for examples.

But then last month, inexplicably, an unsigned post on Rightly Concerned warned of “25 Signs That a Horrific Global Water Crisis Is Coming.”

Every single day, we are getting closer to a horrific global water crisis.  This world was blessed with an awesome amount of fresh water, but because of our foolishness it is rapidly disappearing.  Rivers, lakes and major underground aquifers all over the globe are drying up, and many of the fresh water sources that we still have available are so incredibly polluted that we simply cannot use them anymore.  … As sources of fresh water all over the globe dry up, we are seeing drought conditions spread.  We are starting to see massive “dust storms” in areas where we have never seem them before.  Every single year, most of the major deserts around the world are getting bigger and the amount of usable agricultural land in most areas is becoming smaller.  …

If dramatic changes are not made soon, in the years ahead water shortages are going to force large groups of people to move to new areas.  As the global water crisis intensifies, there will be political conflicts and potentially even wars over water.  We like to think of ourselves as being so “advanced”, but the reality is that we have not figured out how to live without water.  When the water dries up in an area, most of the people are going to have to leave.

The post never suggests, even in the broadest terms, what sort of “dramatic changes” must be “made soon” to avert this crisis. Nor does the post ever get any clearer than the vague statements above — “because of our foolishness” — as to what might be causing this impending crisis.

The overall tone of the post is apocalyptic, alarmist and hyperventilating. But the dire scenario it lays out is possible — it’s possible due to the very same man-made climate change that AFA spends so much time denying as a satanic/socialist plot.

I’ve waited to comment on this strangely environmentalist post from AFA because I wanted to see if it would be removed. Nothing about this post is in any way compatible with the rest of AFA’s blogs and website. Or with their message or mission. (“Take a hard look at the data,” it urges.)

I also waited to comment on this because I was hoping I’d eventually figure out how to explain such a post on AFA’s site. I haven’t figured that out yet. I have no idea how this got there or why, or what, if anything, it’s presence there means.

The AFA denies the existence of climate change. The AFA believes that climate change is a lie — a conspiracy cooked up by liberals to take away freedom. And now the AFA is warning us of the dire consequences of climate change, “if dramatic changes are not made soon.”

Very strange.




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  • Carla M.

    Y’know, if there was some way to convince them that climate change was another
    sign of the impending apocalypse, maybe then they’d accept that it
    might actually be happening. And then maybe they’d be inclined to….do
    something …..about……..


  • David Karger

    They aren’t talking about climate change.  Current water shortages are often driven by over-consumption of water, e.g. for irrigation of water-greedy crops in near-desert environments like California’s central valley.  They would happen even with no climate change at all.

  • P J Evans

     The problem is made worse by climate change – the Colorado River water rights treaty was written during a period when rainfall was much higher than it’s been in the last coupleof decades, so there’s not enough water to meet all the written obligations. (I think irrigating the desert is foolish, worse than most of the Central Valley farming, which relies on in-state snow for water. And putting ten zillion golf courses in the desert, with all their grass, is something that should have gotten developers kicked out of banks. )

  • gocart mozart

    Nicolae Carpathia is the cause of global warming!  Pass it on.

  • The only possible explanation is that somebody’s been talking to them about their Precious Bodily Fluids and Purity Of Essence.  I’m looking at you, Gen. Ripper.

  • It may be that if they are Christian-focussed and believe in some kind of End Times, that climate change effects could be a portent of such End Times.

    On the other hand, they may simply be slowly acknowledging the reality of such effects and are soft-pedalling the change in philosophy as much as they can.

  • Anonymous

    It might be that they published a rough draft and didn’t go back in to edit that the water shortage is because of the creeping threat of Sharia Law. Or Gay Marriage. Or Women in the workplace. Or Women wearing sensible shoes. Or Women. 

  • Anonymous

    One thing that I’ve learned from many long, unproductive debates with global warming denialists is that if you want any sort of rational arguments from them, you’re in for a long wait.  They’ll jump back and forth between, “Its absolutely, positively NOT happening” to “its an entirely natural phenomenon” at the drop of a hat. If you point out he fact that these two arguments are mutually exclusive, they’ll just declare that it costs too much to fix anyway. When you point out that they just made a third argument that contradicts the first two, they’ll just loop back around to the first, that global warming isn’t happening.  Repeat until you’re ready to bash your skull into a brick wall.

  • Meow

    It’s an un-attributed re-post from the doomist/survivalist webiste “theeconomiccollapseblog”:

  • That’s so strange. This whole time, I figured there was something in the water over there. Guess that’s just the second-biggest problem.

  • Matri

    Maybe they’ve been hit with a Misbehavinator?

  • The denialist’s argument progression is something like this:

    1) Global warming isn’t happening
    2) OK, it’s happening, but it’s a completely natural phenomenon
    3) OK, it’s man made, but the ultimate effects will be small/beneficial/nothing to worry about
    4) Yeah, well, it’s too late/too expensive to do anything about it anyway.
    5) Al Gore is a fatty fat fat fat.
    6) Return to argument 1

  • RickRS

    I fully expect that every AFA type that mocks global warming everytime there’s a winter cold snap in their area will have no recollection they ever said such a thing in a few years.

  • Caravelle


    Y’know, if there was some way to convince them that climate change was another
    sign of the impending apocalypse, maybe then they’d accept that it
    might actually be happening. And then maybe they’d be inclined to….do
    something …..about……..

    You mean they’d be inclined to precipitate it. Or buy guns, canned foods and dig a bunker. Or most likely, both. Those are not people who have a rational relationship with the concept of “impending apocalypse” is what I’m saying.

  • Anonymous

    How naive, dudes! I think it’s pretty clear why this is happening. (dramatic pause)

    God is punishing us for The Gay Menace by taking away our water! We must return to the times of wandering in the desert (but without all the other laws, I mean polyester is just so much cheaper than wool these days), because we have failed to drive them all off of the Holy Land that is Amuhrika!

    Or maybe, just maybe, the truth is finally sinking in? It’s probably too much to hope for, but it would be very nice, if people are finally going to admit that yes, climate change is happening, yes, it’s our fault, and we should Do Something about it.

  • Hawker40

    I see global warming denialists using a varient of the “NureMburg Defense”*.

    1. It never happened.
    2. I never knew it was happening.
    3. I wasn’t there when it happened.
    4. I could do nothing about what happened.
    5. I didn’t participate in what was happening.
    6. I was only following orders.

    The global warming version is more…
    1. It’s not happening.
    2. There’s nothing we can do about it.
    3. It’s a good thing, anyway.
    4. It would be too diffucult/expensive/inconvenient to do anything about it.

    And yes, they switch between excuses for not doing anything with glee.

    *Yes, it’s a Godwin, but I know of no other example.

  • I get the feeling that this is less about suddenly accepting scientific consensus as authority, and more about being an authority.  They could describe climate change in great detail, warn people about the dangers of it, make recommendations to fix it, and yet they would still deny that they were talking about climate change.  They would claim it is something else, not the global warming those atheistic scientists have been rambling on about all this time.  

    In this case, they are not disputing the facts.  What they are disputing is the authority of who gets to interpret those facts.  They want people to believe that only proper sources can be trusted, but that they are the only “proper” source.  

    It is not just the AFA and global warming though.  You see this in all kinds of issues the religious right take up.  Even if everyone agrees on the facts, the facts are unimportant to them.  All that is important is that they are seen as right and others are seen as wrong.  

  • Raka

    One audience reads that article and sees it as a call to personal responsibility and stewardship.  I suspect the AFA audience reads the very same article and sees that They (and We all know who They are, don’t We?) are a-comin’ for our water.

  • Uncle Max

    I suspect someone at the AFA has been told he can’t water his lawn/golf course.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Ah, reductio ad fatty fat fat. Always a winner.

    I’m always amused by internet arguments wherein my opponent raises some insult against Al Gore as their trump card. The number of times I’ve had to point out that not only are my opinions on scientific issues unaffected by the alleged character of a one-time candidate for political office in someone else’s country, neither does it have any bearing on my identification as a social democrat.

    See also: cower in shame as I raise doubts about the quality and legitimacy of Michelle Obama’s higher education.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    The United Nations causes global warming! Pass it on.

  • Anonymous


    (No, no point really; just needed to get that out of my system.)

  • Tonio

    I can understand your frustration. They’re not bashing Al Gore specifically, they’re using his name as shorthand for their anti-intellectual attitudes. In their minds, a climate change “expert” is someone who isn’t as smart as he thinks he is, someone who enjoys wealth and privilege while lecturing others on cutting back on energy usage. They seem to perceive scientists and intellectuals as phony authority figures in the power sense, not the knowledge sense. They sound like squabbling siblings: “You’re not the boss of me!”

  • Anonymous

    A future Sarah Palin quote:

    “Well, ya know, I always said, ‘Thanks, but nooo thanks’ to drilling in Alaska, dontchaknowyoubetcha!”

  • Tonio

    Meow’s find is one reason I suspect this was either a mistake, or an deliberate act by someone at AFA who cares more that about Revelation then about the group’s doctrine on climate change.

  • Hik

    It’s true that they aren’t necessarily talking about climate change when they talk about water shortages, as it could simply be ah issue of over consumption. However, it’s still bizarre for them to even draw attention to over consumption. Religious right wingers believe we have no responsibility to temper our consumption. They take that idea as an insult. I’ve actually heard right wingers say they that purposefully leave all their lights and appliances running on Earth Day, merely out of spite. Whatever it is, the idea that humans don’t have the right to live as comfortably and excessively as possible is extremely threatening to them, and any notions that we need to be stewards of our planet or be frugal or care for the environment is almost always viciously opposed. 

    I’m not sure the real reason for that. It could just be contrarian in nature.