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Should John Shimkus's religious beliefs disqualify him from chairing a Congressional committee?

Posted by Jesse Singal  November 22, 2010 04:46 PM

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sh.JPGRep. John Shimkus, a Republican from Illinois, is hoping to chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He also happens to think that humans don't have the capacity to destroy the earth — a claim which stems from his theological beliefs. "The earth will end only when God decides it's time to be over," he said during a House hearing last year during which he quoted the Bible at length. "This earth will not be destroyed by a flood." (He has since reiterated this belief in an interview on KTVI in St. Louis.)

Now, kvetching over committee chairmanships is a standard ritual every time the House changes hands. Since Republicans are regaining control over these committees, they're going to be using them (and their subpoena power) much differently than their Democratic predecessors did. That may frustrate liberals, but it's part of the game.

But doesn't this rise to a new level? The Energy and Commerce Committee deals with climate change, and while many Republicans don't believe human-caused climate change exists, it's a different thing entirely to think that not only aren't human beings warming the planet, but that they cannot, because the Bible says so. This transcends partisan politics; while Shimkus has every right to his beliefs, they make him unqualified for the particular job he's seeking.

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ABOUT THE ANGLE Online commentary and news analysis from the Boston Globe. The Angle is produced by Rob Anderson and Alan Wirzbicki. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @rcand.

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