For those who may not be able to hear World magazine’s weekly radio broadcast “The World and Everything In It,” here’s the commentary I offered this weekend:
This weekend, millions of Christians will gather for worship. Most will be worshiping the God of the Bible. Some will be worshiping the god of nature.
This weekend, many liberal churches will be joining together for something called a “preach-in” on the subject of global warming. Interfaith Power and Light, which bills itself as “a religious response to global warming,” is encouraging clergy to hijack their churches’ pulpits for political purposes.
Those who sign up can get “ready-to-go sample sermons on global warming,” Valentine’s Day postcards for policy makers urging them to “curb greenhouse gas emissions,” and a free 30-minute DVD called Preaching for the Planet, presumably to instruct them in the evangelism of the new global warming religion.
There’s nothing wrong with preaching about stewardship, including stewardship of natural resources. The IPL campaign, however, has two primary problems.
First, it treats global warming, and its alleged human origin, as an undisputed fact. Many of the pastors who will join the preach-in are more certain that human beings cause global warming than they are that Jesus rose from the dead. The reality is that a growing number of scientists from climatology and related fields are raising serious and unanswered questions about the global warming thesis. But these questions, often derided as the work of “deniers,” are of no importance to those for whom climate change has become an article of faith more important than the Trinity or the Incarnation.
The second problem is that the pulpit is no place for public policy debate. Moral issues can and should be addressed, of course. But the preach-in goes way beyond that. Clergy who know little beyond slogans about climate science are being asked to proclaim very specific solutions to problems they barely understand. Many of those solutions, in turn, will do grievous harm to the world’s poor and others whom those same preachers claim to care about. Matters such as unintended consequences, however, carry little weight when the religious left is in crusade mode.