NASHVILLE - A state House resolution attacking the United Nation's "Agenda 21" as a radical, "insidious" plot to invade Americans' property rights in the name of environmentalism generated bitter debate today.
One critic of the UN proposal raised the specter of forced abortions as a potential consequence of allowing the U.S. and other national governments to pursue a "caring capacity of the planet."
"They [Agenda 21 proponents] want to cap the number of people that this planet can have," warned Rep. Glen Casada, R-College Grove. "That reminds me of children ... China."
Citing China's policy of one child per couple, Casada said, "how do they attain that cap? Forced abortions. If that doesn't scare you, we need to talk. To reach [the goals] you're going to have to get rid of some people, period."
The resolution attacking Agenda 21 was sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, who told colleagues that "we're trying to say we don't want it to be binding on us. We're saying we don't like what it says."
The resolution calls Agenda 21 "a comprehensive plan of extreme environmentalism, social engineering, and global political control," which would result in the "socialist/communist redistribution of wealth."
But Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville and other Democrats said Agenda 21 is non-binding and its provisions apply largely to developing countries. He charged that much of the resolution was lifted from straight from language crafted by the far-right John Birch Society.
"I typed in 'model bill' and 'Agenda 21' on an Internet search engine," Turner said. "And guess where I found it at - the John Birch Society ... I don't think in the history of Tennessee [lawmakers have] passed anything from the John Birch Society."