By BILL VANDERBUSH, Pastor of Grace Church in Maui, Hawaii

AN HISTORICAL DOCUMENT: Originally published in the spring 2007 issue of REP’s The Green Elephant newsletter


An email sent to REP Policy Director Jim DiPeso:

Great website. I’m thrilled to find another like-minded Republican. The following is a recent post on my own blog regarding Republicans and environmental issues. Keep up the great work!
xxBill Vanderbush; Maui, Hawaii


When the opportunity arises for a free dinner at a country club on Maui, one would be unwise not to take advantage of such an event.

So it was when I was invited to the Maui County Republican convention, where my good friend was vying for the voting affections of a few dozen retirees with sun-soaked faces and strangely dyed hair. It’s amazing that such a crowd decides the political leadership for the whole party, but I guess everyone else had to work or surf.

I was seated at a round table of eight people, including a brilliant man. We’ll call him Lewis.

Lewis was busy telling the man next to him of the scientific reasons why Al Gore is an academic jellyfish and that global warming is a hoax—and saying enough things about carbon dioxide to make me realize that this man was an expert in gas.

I’m an expert in gas. After all, I have a thirteen-year-old son. But the thing that made me put my trembling fork down was when he said that man has no effect on the environment. Now, I’m no scientist, but here was my take.

“Excuse me,” I say. “You mean to tell me that you believe that man has no effect on the environment?”

He responded by saying, “None whatsoever.”

A heated exchange ensues. I mean, has he never driven in Los Angeles?

Now, here’s where my fellow Republicans have become complete dunderheads. Let’s pretend that I say to my son, “You’re not taking care of your room. It’s a disaster area. Now clean it up.”

What if he comes back to me with this response? “This mess has no effect on the structural integrity of this house, and I can prove that scientifically.”

While he may be completely correct, his attitude demonstrates a great deal about his character. Whether or not the structural integrity of the house is in question is not the issue. The issue is that he has a responsibility to be a good steward of that which he has been entrusted with. If he fails to do that, he demonstrates a significant lack of character though the house continues to stand.

The Republican platform is built upon a base of people to whom character is a big deal. Many of them also regularly read the scriptures, which contain a great deal of instruction regarding man’s care and stewardship of this planet.

In order for the Republicans to capture the hearts of my generation, they’re going to have to care less about proving Al Gore wrong and care more about the Earth than Al claims to.

If they can’t do that, and the room remains a disaster area, they demonstrate a serious character flaw, though the house continues to stand.