Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s resignation vindicates the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Although Pruitt’s stepping down had more to do with his serial ethics violations, his disdain for basic science and common sense won him few friends.
Pruitt set about systematically dismantling the nation’s environmental laws and the EPA, and he made sure that the United States willfully paralyzed itself in responding to climate change.
“He lobbied the president to pull the United States from the Paris climate agreement; began the process of unwinding dozens of Obama-era air, water and climate regulations; undermined the role of science in agency rulemaking; rejected climate change science; backed off enforcement of polluters; and drove out hundreds of scientists and experts on staff, leaving the remaining employees demoralized,” states an overview in the Canadian National Observer.
Pruitt’s actions caused immense harm — and much of this was motivated by his theological beliefs.
In March of this year, recordings surfaced of Pruitt attacking evolution, advocating for a constitutional ban on gay marriage and abortion, and claiming that Christianity is under attack in America and being driven out of the “public square.” Pruitt could be heard on the tapes saying things like, “There aren't sufficient scientific facts to establish the theory of evolution.” And he argued that “the most grievous threat that we have today is this imperialistic judiciary, this judicial monarchy that has it wrong on what the First Amendment's about and has an objective to create religious sterility in the public square, which is wholly inconsistent with the Founding Fathers’ view.”
Pruitt’s transgressions at the EPA didn’t surprise us at FFRF. We had been dealing with him long before he became in charge of the EPA — back when he was the Oklahoma attorney general. And we were the target of his wrath. After FFRF sent letters to 26 Oklahoma school districts in 2015 about illegal Gideon bible distribution, Pruitt took umbrage. He sent a letter to superintendents statewide that smeared FFRF: “As the attorney general of Oklahoma, I will not stand idly by while out-of-state organizations bully you or any other official in this state into restricting the religious freedom the Founders of this country held dear.”
That’s why we tried to warn the U.S. Senate that it would be confirming an incorrigible theocrat, sending a series of questions to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee during his hearings. But committee members didn’t listen to us.
We at FFRF have been proud to stand up to such a dreadful public official — and have no regrets at seeing him leave.
“The damage that Pruitt has done to our environment and the EPA is incalculable,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Those of us fighting for secular values can only hope that at some point a successor will be able to repair at least some of his destruction.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit with more than 32,000 members across the country dedicated to protecting the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and educating the public on matters relating to nontheism.