Last November, the Environmental Protection Administrator, Scott Pruitt, set the scene for the dazzling Mayflower Hotel in Washington and casually cited the New Testament as he delivered his speech to redefine the country's top environmental agency.
"We, as a country, have been blessed with tremendous natural resources," he told the audience, gathering for a gala from the American Principles Project Foundation, won by previously unpublished audio HuffPost. "And to whom much is given, much is required."
The reference to Luke 1
Brent Bozell, founder of the right-wing media research center, opened the program as master of ceremonies before Pruitt presented a prize for "humane leadership" in his four-minute speech. Pastor Thomas Joseph White, a professor at the Catholic Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception, followed him with an appeal.
This was Pruit's hometown. Until 2017, he was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, an institution that "wanted to give their spouse a gracious wife" and formally opposed all forms of sexual immorality, including .. Homosexuality. "The biography of Pruit's now-defunct official Twitter account as Attorney-General of Oklahoma states:" Husband, father, Christ-follower. He attended Bible Studies  with Vice President Mike Pence and other Cabinet Secretaries recently following his tenure at the EPA last year
While Pruitt's penchant for environmental repossession and the strengthening of the fossil fuel industry are widely praised as the reason President Donald Trump refused to dismiss the EPO chief in the midst of a four-week hurricane of ethics and spending scandals that largely overlooks Pruitt's other value: his reputation as an avid crusader or conservative Christian politics.
For a president of Persecution of adultery and sexual indecent pursues this kind of reputation as a currency, the ostentatious Pruitt gives credence to Trump among evangelical Christian leaders at a time when five republican MPs and 170 Democrats in Congress are calling for his resignation e PA boss made two door-to-door hearings for a total of six hours during which Republicans plunged into his defense, arguing that the administrator was the victim of "Washington politics," "allusions, and McCarthyism." and "a shameful attempt to denigrate the work being done at the EPA."
The EPA made no request for comment.
"Pruitt is clearly part of the Christian right wing of the Republican Party and it is possible that these elite Christian right-wing networks protect him, or they have sent some kind of message that this is our type," Lydia Bean said. Author of The politics of evangelical identity . "He refused abortion and worked as a religious liberty solicitor, so he checks the right boxes for Christian right-wing evangelicals."
White Evangelicals largely support Trump's work performance, compared with 61 percent in a Pew poll in December to only 32 percent of voters overall. Nonetheless, this is a significant decline from 78 percent approval in February 2017. Among non-white evangelicals, his approval rating is declining according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis.
Pruitt played an outsized role in recruiting leaders on the evangelical right. In September, Trump hosted a dinner with "basic leaders," including evangelical heavyweights like Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Nance, chairman of Faith & Freedom Coalition Ralph Reed, and Tim Goeglein, a vice president at Focus on the Family. In a photo on the White House website, Pruitt appears at the table opposite Trump, the only Cabinet Secretary present, though his name is not in the caption.
As Pruitt's scandals rise, Christian groups have gathered to defend him. On April 6, the Conservative Action Project published an open letter calling for Pruitt's "tenure at the EPO," thanking him for the significant steps he took to implement President Trump's deregulation agenda. The list of 186 signatories included Christians Sustainable Economy Executive Director David Kullberg, Christian educator Lisa Calvert and Faith Wins President Chad Connelly. Some of the religiously affiliated signers, such as Anne Schlafly Cori, chair of the pro-family Eagle Forum, have a history of supporting efforts to combat climate change, according to an independent climate science center study.
White Evangelical Christians, more than 80 percent of whom supported Trump in 2016, are least likely to believe that a religious group in the US understands the science behind climate change, according to a 2015 data from the Pew Research Center. Only 28 percent of white evangelicals believed that the planet was warming mainly due to human activity, compared with 41 percent of white Protestants and 56 percent of black Protestants. About 37 percent of white evangelicals do not believe the climate is changing.
In 2005, the National Association of Evangelicals was on the verge of confirming climate research in a new national platform called " For the Health of One Nation ." However, after the executive committee was unanimously passed the request was answered in a simple vote with a massive fundraising campaign by oil, gas and coal groups. Since then, the same donors – including Mercer – who sponsor the network of think tanks that provide adversarial (and [19659-08] uncovered ) research on the climate change consensus have also funded conservative Christian groups. The fossil fuel industry made a climate denial when Splinters Brendan O'Connor described it "The Word of God" last year.
Pruitt was not shy to proselytize this view. Last October, Pruitt called God's warning to the Gentiles in the book of Joshua, in a speech to choose a new policy that discourages scholars who receive EPA research grants to serve in the agency's advisory boards ,
In a February interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Pruitt said, "The biblical world view regarding these issues is that we have a responsibility to manage and natural resources that we have blessed to cultivate to truly bless our fellow human beings. "
In March Politico published volumes of more than a decade in which Pruitt denies evolution:" There is not enough scientific evidence to support the theory It is about the origin of man, which emanates more from the philosophical than the scientific point of view. "
The statements have affected the workers of the EPA.
"It's scary," said an EPA employee of anonymity for fear of reprisal. "The impression we have is that his belief has led him to counterfactual convictions."
The employee, who identifies himself as gay, said Pruitt's former affiliation with groups that have tough positions on gender and sexuality is painfully confronting. "
" Knowing that the man I work for each day not only disregards the Agency's mission, but also believes that as a pan-sexual woman and many other EPA staff … I am a perverse in his belief system I feel heavy weight every day at work, "she said.
Although Pritcht's reputation for piety might help him protect him for the time being, Bean warned that he could not have grown down on ordinary evangelical voters.
He is not an individual with a mass persecution, not a household name for the evangelical rank file, "she said." I do not think Scott Pruitt has a national brand as an evangelical leader who would prevent Trump from dismissing him. " Pruitt's legacy may alienate him from moderate evangelicals Ronald Sider, a professor at the Palmer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, called Pruitts main task, Trump, out of the Paris Climate Agreement pull out one of the "really big, longer-term negative policies," and said that the administrator does not accept the climate change will determine his tenure for many years.
"It's really immoral and tragic," Sider said. "If that does not change soon, our grandchildren will pay for it."