The Trump administration knows how to add injury to insult.
The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that it has made many scientists ineligible to serve on the agency's three major advisory groups. The EPA is apparently no longer interested in receiving advice from qualified experts. The Freedom From Religion Foundation is dismayed but unsurprised by this move, given that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is notoriously anti-science.
What does both infuriate and shock FFRF is that Pruitt is using the Old Testament story of Joshua to justify the dubious rule change. Pruitt reportedly stated:
Joshua says to the people of Israel: Choose this day whom you are going to serve. This is sort of like the Joshua principle — that as it relates to grants from this agency, you are going to have to choose either service on the committee to provide counsel to us in an independent fashion or chose the grant. But you can't do both. That's the fair and great thing to do.
Joshua is a dreadful role model, FFRF contends. The Old Testament shows him to be nothing but a mass murderer.
The story of Joshua at Jericho is not about a battle, but a slaughter:
And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the Lord.. . . . the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword . . . . And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord . . . . Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it. Joshua 6:17-26 KJV.
Joshua murders "both man and woman, young and old," and pronounces a death sentence on the children of any who dare to rebuild the city he just destroyed. The complete slaughter of an entire people falls under the category of genocide. Chapters 9 through 12 of the biblical book of Joshua detail many other genocides committed by Joshua and commanded by his god. He's not a figure that the head of the EPA should be using as an ethical frame of reference.
It's unconscionable that the federal government is declaring a war on science. Pruitt should confine himself to his mandate of protecting the environment — instead of utilizing a questionable religious figure to destroy it.