Camp Nightmare: Where Climate Denial gets a Merit Badge

November 14, 2018

“Christian” camp for budding science deniers.  “Lord” Monckton gets my vote for Creepiest Counselor ever.

This is child abuse.
One corrective is the twitter hash tag #exvangelicals, which documents the horrific memories of those who have escaped the spiritual gulag of fundamentalism.

But I digress.


Each morning at Camp Constitution’s summer camp, the kids and parents go off to classes while staff members do a room inspection.

What we look for is not just cleanliness, but a patriotic and Godly theme,” says camp director Hal Shurtleff in a video of the 2016 camp.

We are looking for creativity — are they learning what we are teaching them?”

And what are they being taught? Conspiracy theories about the United Nations (UN) and how climate change is a hoax, and they’ve drafted in two of the world’s most notorious climate science denialists to do the job.

The rooms — named after “places of refuge in the old testament” — are covered with U.S. nationalistic garlands and flags. A “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hat is perched on a wooden bunk post.

Children take quotes they’ve learned from classes, and turn them into posters. One encourages the United Nations to keep out.

Another lists “buzzwords” including CO2, climate change, environmental justice, and endangered species.

You hear these buzzwords and you know the bad guys are behind the scenes,” says a commentating Shurtleff.

Shurtleff is a former regional director of the John Birch Society — the UN-hating, right-wing conservative group known for, among other things, pushing a conspiracy that the UN’s promotion of environmental sustainability was in fact a sinister plot to install a world government.

But as well as learning about the evils of sensible resource use, the kids at this summer’s Camp Constitution attended classes by climate science deniers Lord Christopher Monckton and Dr. Willie Soon.


In an interview on conspiracy-loving Infowars, Shurtleff said how Soon had spoken to campers the previous year and would “bring his whole family” to the event at Lakeside Christian Camp and Conference Center in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

At the camp’s 2017 event, Soon gave a talk claiming that the sun was controlling the world’s climate, and dismissing the role of CO2NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt has been among the scientists to carefully unpick Soon’s claims, describing his scientific contributions as “singularly poor.”

In 2018, the camp schedule shows Soon was to give two talks — one about the “climate change hoax” and another that attempted to undermine the measurements showing sea levels around the world are rising, and how that rise is accelerating.

Research from Greenpeace and the Climate Investigations Center has shown Soon’s work to be heavily funded by fossil fuel industry interests, including more than $1 million from ExxonMobil, Southern Company, American Petroleum Institute, and Charles G. Koch Foundation.

Also on the agenda was former John Birch Society president John “Jack” McManus, who told the youngsters, some who stay with their parents, how the U.S. should “Get Us Out of the United Nations” while explaining his full anti-UN “world governement” conspiracy theory. He even sold them a booklet for the discounted price of $2.

Eccentric British climate science denier, Lord Christopher Monckton, was also at the camp to regale the kids with tales of how climate change science is one big con-job.

Monckton has been claiming for about two years to have discovered a fatal flaw in climate science (the world’s temperature gauges and polar ice don’t seem to have gotten Monckton’s memo) and he did not spare the youngsters any detail with a slideshow chock full of formulas.

While Monckton might sound like he knows what he’s talking about, actual climate scientists have long-debunked his claims.

In 2015, scientists looked at one of his very few scientific papers to make it into the peer-reviewed literature and found it was “riddled with errors” — and published a response in the same journal.

Camp Constitution’s Facebook page shows Monckton sitting down for a meal with some of the young campers, perhaps to discuss the themes of liberty and freedom of speech.

You have to wonder if he told them about the various people he’s threatened to sue or have arrested (none of the threats ever seem to materialize) for saying or doing things he didn’t like.

All in the spirit of freedom, of course!

11 Responses to “Camp Nightmare: Where Climate Denial gets a Merit Badge”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    An interesting twist on the old youth group indoctrination methods of the totalitarian regimes of the past—the ONB (Italy), the HJ (Germany), and the RKSM (Soviet Russia). They were all anti-religion, though.

    This new brand of brainwashing embraces religion, and uses it to push libertarian far-right ideology a la Koch brothers and Dark Money—and that of course includes climate change and science denial.

    PS Monckton and Soon are a good first team of climate denial whores, but where are Michaels, Singer, Happer, and Spencer and all the others?

  2. Jean Swan Says:

    Thanks for this info.My former State Representative in Oklahoma was a Tea Party person..His grown sons drive their big trucks w the snake logo.They are very religious >Senator Tom Coburn is his friend.Coburn resigned from the Senate to work on a Constitutional Amendment to cripple any function of Govt except the military..I hear Hannity of Hate Radio mention this amendment now and then.Very scary people.Coburn used info from the Heritage Foundation to vilify Rachael Carson

  3. indy222 Says:

    I’ve seen too many children thrown down that Black Hole of fundamentalist anti-mind pit of Hell to find this post anything but horrific. No black humor value for me. This is too close to the awful reality of families split by science and humanism on one side, and Hellfire and the dungeons of the Inquisition dressed up in smiley’s and the rest of the trappings of 1984.

  4. indy222 Says:

    One hopes that the Scarlett roses on the bed with cookies are from “V”, in the video. Creepy doesn’t begin to describe this…

  5. Abel Adamski Says:

    A brave new world to follow the theme

    Britain’s biggest employer organisation and main trade union body have sounded the alarm over the prospect of British companies implanting staff with microchips to improve security.

    UK firm BioTeq, which offers the implants to businesses and individuals, has already fitted 150 implants in the UK.

    The tiny chips, implanted in the flesh between the thumb and forefinger, are similar to those for pets. They enable people to open their front door, access their office or start their car with a wave of their hand, and can also store medical data.

    Another company, Biohax of Sweden, also provides human chip implants the size of a grain of rice. It told the Sunday Telegraph (£) that it is in discussions with several British legal and financial firms about fitting their employees with microchips, including one major company with hundreds of thousands of employees.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Brave new world indeed! You can be sure that Hitler and Stalin would have been implanting chips if the technology had existed then. What better way to control the population than to know where they are at all times?.

      We used to joke about this in the schools back in the 1970’s when much of society was out of control and we school administrators had great difficulty getting the kids to come to school and actually park their butts in classes for 7 full periods—-many were sneaking out for lunch or to smoke dope (or just getting “tired” after a few hours) and never returning. We fantasized about implanting a chip in every kid’s butt and having sensors in every chair in the building—-the idea was that we could then send a signal out to any butt that wasn’t where it was supposed to be and give it first a buzz then a mild shock. It provided a good laugh during our early morning coffee breaks back then—-today it may be an actual topic of discussion in Betsy Devos’ inner circle, and that’s downright scary.

  6. grindupbaker Says:

    My mum told me it didn’t matter whether I took the train to Leeds for interview or accepted the Swansea open offer because I’d be raptured or dead in 4 years. Witnesses got her while my dad was abroad killing Germans (which was legal at the time I hasten to add).

  7. […] via Camp Nightmare: Where Climate Denial gets a Merit Badge — Climate Denial Crock of the Week […]

  8. redskylite Says:

    As someone who was baptized and confirmed as a Christian, I winced at the use of the word, but glad to see you put it in exclamation marks. I would not subject my offspring to Voldemort and cheesy anti-scientists.

  9. Hal Shurtleff Says:

    Lord Monckton and Camp Constitution reply to this silly article:

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