Acton Institute Powerblog

Moyers/Beisner Update

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[Got a request to cross-post this from my other habitat.]

In the in-box from an "evangelical enviromentalist who prefers to remain anonymous," responding to the Moyers/Beisner fallout:

IF Moyers said what Cal claims, and tape recorders were running, where is the tape? IF no tape, presumably no statement, and Cal is, um, lying. Is this how a Christian defends his presumably biblical position to a sceptical journalist?

Looking at other transcripts on the same subject (linked here), Moyers certainly gives the impression that he sees ecology as devisive to evangelicals. But it’s also possible [Cal] Beisner could have jumped to conclusions on Moyers motives (vis a vis deliberately using ecology to divide evangelicals politically) and either interpreted what Moyers actually said in light of this, or deliberately put words in his mouth; the latter Cal clearly denies, by the way.

Don’t know though; wasn’t there, and yep – no tape.

The whole Moyers/Beisner kerfuffle was unfortunate because (a) litigation ain’t a great way for two Christians to resolve issues, and (b) it detracted from the discussion over God being green, which frankly benefits neither Beisner nor Moyers, regardless of political leanings.

The only redeeming thing may be if the noise will draw people to read the other Grist interviews. Thought the one with Cal DeWitt, for example, was fantastic.

Thoughts from the group?

Don Bosch


  • Dean Ohlman

    I posted a comment on the Moyers/Beisner affair on the 25th, and while it shows up on Google, when I go this site, it does not show up. Whazzup?

  • Your comment was unacceptable so I deleted it.

    Just kidding. <-) Dunno, Dean - try reposting.

  • It appears for me…try this [url=]link[/url].

    Or was there another one to which you are referring?

  • Try reposting it, Dean. Not sure what happened.

  • Dean Ohlman

    What’s odd is that I get all these housekeeping notes, but still can’t find my original comment in this stack.

  • shoot your thoughts to me at dwbosch at gmail dot com and I’ll post them for you, if you like.

  • Dean Ohlman

    For a look at Bill Moyers’ most recent letter to Calvin Beisner, [url=]check here[/url].

  • Dean, I previously became aware of this latest letter from Moyers because Moyers’ PR colleague was circulating it to bloggers, such as Glenn Reynolds (who posted it [url=]yesterday[/url]).

    I decided against raising the letter again here in part because Dr. Beisner has expressed that he wishes to pursue reconciliation with Moyers in a private forum, in accordance with 1 Corinthians 6.

    You have accused me previously of [url=]”political spin doctoring”[/url] and losing integrity because I simply summarized the state of the dispute.

    My own opinion is that both men may have broken the ninth commandment, in the sense that they have failed “to guard and advance my neighbor’s good name,” as the Heidelberg Catechism says. That’s something we all need to keep in mind in the midst of political debates.

  • Dean Ohlman

    Sorry, Jordan,

    When I write to an organizational blog like this, which is not often, I write as though I’m addressing the organization. I would have used the term “spin doctoring” more guardly if I had kept in mind that I was responding to a person.

    Nonetheless, even with this comment, you seem to stress that both men were at fault for Beisner’s lie. If Beisner had not done his dirty deed, there would be no need of a “reconciliation.” The fault is in no way equal.

    It seems to me to be the height of hypocrisy for Beisner (whose political and religious worldviews I generally agree with) to lie boldly in public and deliberately smear Moyers (whose political and religious worldviews I generally disagree with) and then seek to reconcile privately!

    If Beisner does not apologize broadly — in public — Acton and any of the other entities that tend to conflate Christianity with capitalism, as does Beisner, will lose integrity right along with him.

    I find it interesting that the big media magnates like Colson, Dobson, and Kennedy felt they had to pressure the National Association of Evangelicals’ leaders to hush up on global warming, but seem — at this point, anyway — to be hesitant to pressure their designated spokesperson, Beisner, to be a man — a Christian man — to make a public apology.

    The longer they wait, the worse this becomes.

    Chuck Colson went to prison for helping cover up the dirty tricks of “Dirty Dick.” As one who voted for Nixon and believed the war in Vietnam was justified, I was devastated to learn what a scoundrel he was. And it made me a cynic about politics. I can’t image how many people are being made cynics about evangelicals — even the Christian faith, which is worse — because of this episode. I’d love to see Colson take the lesson he learned from prison and help make sure that there is no cover-up here.

  • Dean/Jordan,

    Both of you are well spoken. I’m on board with Jordan here – we have the privilege of informing our readers on these important issues, but there’s a fine line between putting out useful information vs promoting anything resembling (I’m using this term very narrowly here) gossip. As Christian guys we’ve got to be sure of which realm we’re operating in. Of course, I’m preaching to the choir here.

    The asprin for what Dean rightly calls evangelical cynicism is bringing Godly wisdom and peace and the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22) into the mix, particularly when things get complicated. Perhaps at this point, now that things seem to have run their course in the short term, we can simply let these men have their say (or not) and leave it at that.

    We also should recognize something else: The enemy hates the idea that the Church is finally paying attention to environmental stewardship, and that we are building relationships with folks in the Body of Christ where there were none before. I wouldn’t put it past him to use something like this to discredit the good work PBS, Grist, Acton, and others are doing in promoting this dialogue.

    Appreciate both of you guys. I’m truly hoping the whole thing between Cal and Bill is a misunderstanding. Have prayed for Bill and Cal this weekend; recommend we all do the same.

    Grace and peace,

  • CLS

    I read the correspondence, such that is available and I have trouble believing Beisner. Moyers is not idiot and only an idiot would makes such a private confession to someone from the opposite side of the fence. Beisner’s appeal to settle it privately comes across as sleazy to me. If the accusation was not made privately then the resolution can’t be done privately. The damage to Moyers is public damage. Private apologies or discussions would only benefit the guilty party.