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During what appeared to be a throwaway line in a formal speech this week, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice downplayed climate change, suggesting God would magically fix everything.

The Republican governor made the remarks on Monday during what was called a “Covid-19 Press Briefing.” But after just a few minutes discussing the virus, Justice began talking about the importance of fossil fuels, especially in the wake of the Russian attack on Ukraine… then, as a retort against anyone who might say he’s ignoring the climate crisis, Justice said there was nothing to fear.

I absolutely stand rock-solid for all the alternative energies. But I believe that it is absolutely frivolous to think that, today, we can do in this country or this world without fossil fuels. And if we believe that, we’re going to have just what the hand is dealt to us right now. We’re gonna have chaos. We’re gonna have real problems.

I do also believe this: I believe, and my belief [is] as strong as it may be or can be, you know, for God. I believe with all in me, that we’ll have time and He will give us time as we go forward.

If there is such a thing—and I underline if—if there is such a thing as climate change, I believe that He will give us time, and the smart people will fix it.

But today, today energy is being used as a weapon. This country, hands down, needs to be totally energy independent. It is a crying, pitiful shame to see what has happened under the Biden administration in trying to absolutely cripple us. We have become weak, have we not?

… Maybe there’ll be a time 20 years, 30 years from today. Maybe there’ll be a time when we truly, truly can resolve our energy situation with alternative energies that are cleaner. But you know what I’d say to you? We’ve got to live here too, and God wants us to prosper and move forward right here, right now. Absolutely, we have to live here, too. He’s given us the smarts to be able to solve problems as we go forward, and we do solve problems. But with all of that, if you think we can do without fossil fuels today, you’re living a dream. That’s all there is to it. You’re living an absolute dream.

Nothing shows the futility of religious thinking more than a government leader ignoring everything scientists tell us about our own future because he assumes that God will fix any mistakes he makes.

God won’t fix the climate crisis. Jim Justice will be dead before the worst impacts of climate change began affecting the world. But because of his irrational decisions—along with the coal-loving decisions of Senator Joe Manchin—we will all suffer the consequences for Justice’s faith-based ignorance.

Justice made similar remarks a few days prior to that address, saying very bluntly, “God will give us time for the smart people of the world to solve the riddle. If there is truly climate change going on, He will give us time.” But the “smart people” have been shouting from the rooftops about how we must act immediately to blunt the effects of climate change. What good are prayers for more time if you’re going to ignore the solutions when they’re finally given to you?

A different Christian might argue that God gave us “the smarts” to recognize the impact of our idiotic energy decisions before it’s too late… but Justice doesn’t care. He’d much rather cash in while he can and let future generations deal clean up after him. Assuming that they can. Which is no guarantee at all.

The Party of Personal Responsibility never wants to clean up its own messes. The Party of God never seems to hear the word “No” when it might get in the way of something it wants to do. And, not for the first time this past year, the entire country will be worse off because of the irrational beliefs of a West Virginia politician.

(via Gizmodo)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of FriendlyAtheist.com, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.