Religion and the Environment

global-warming-hoaxNational Public Radio has discovered that there are evangelicals joining the global warming climate instabilityclimate change movement. New York’s WNYC profiled one of them this week:

Brandan Robertson is the Founder of The Revangelical Movement and a representative of the growing number of those in the religious right who also see environmentalism as a religious and civic priority.

“Many conservative Christians pegged the issues around climate change as something that only liberals did or something that was actually opposed to the Christian message,” says Robertson. “This was mainly because conservative Evangelicals and Catholics tended to have a human-centered view that saw the Earth as an object that humans have been given to dominate and exploit for our own benefit. When it was all used up, Jesus would return, destroy the world, and take Christians to heaven. That is, of course, an oversimplification.”

No, it’s a falsehood and a straw man, but thank you for playing. I have literally never heard of any Christian who believes what Robertson just said “many” “conservative Evangelicals and Catholics” believe. None. And I’ve certainly never heard any make a public argument that even remotely resembles what he attributes to them.

You see, Brandon, there’s this idea called “stewardship” that pre-dates the emerging church and the revangelical movement and Brian McLaren and Sojourners and whatever other late 20th-early 21st century fads you want to glom on to. (I know that’s hard to believe, what with Christianity being this brand-new thing that Millenials are creating out of whole cloth and all, but it’s true.) And it isn’t just about tithing, Brandon. Believe it or not, it actually spoke to the responsibility that human beings have to care for their environment, because the environment we live in was created by God and is a gift of God. I’m sure it blows your mind to think that any generation before yours could have come up with such a cutting-edge, world-defying, nature-embracing notion, but hey, Copernicus didn’t discover heliocentrism until the Clinton administration, right?

Robertson says that a new wave of conservative Christians and religious organizations have begun taking leadership roles, adding that the views of climate change denialists are inadequate, destructive, and even “unbiblical” in some senses.

Well, if there was such a thing as a “climate change denier,” they would be “unbiblical” in the sense of being completely irrational. Brandon, no one–not even the Koch brothers–deny that climate changes. It changes with some frequency, geologically speaking. It changes for a variety of reasons that are all connected with the extraordinary complexity of a Sun-Earth-biosphere system that we are only beginning to understand (human limitedness being another biblical idea). Virtually no one denies that human beings contribute to that change, since we are important players in the biosphere part of the equation. What is disputed is how much of a role–determinative, primary, significant, secondary, tertiary, insignificant, infinitesimal–human beings play. Once again, you’re playing fast and loose with the truth.

Nowadays, Robertson says that environmental conservation is more in line with the Christian faith, adding that statistics show that the new generation of younger Evangelicals are changing politically.

“For instance, on June 2nd when the EPA released a proposal to reduce carbon pollution, many conservative Christians saw that as a no-brainer,” he says. “Yes, [President Obama’s] proposal had a price tag of $150 billion, but the price tag that will cost if we don’t get to work on these issues is far higher. As we look at Jesus and examine our Bibles, we’re becoming increasingly less concerned with personal wealth and economic growth, and more concerned with caring for our whole planet. It seems to us like the more Christ-like thing to do.”

“No-brainer.” I wonder if Brandon has any clue what that expression means. The EPA wants to issue an enormously costly, politically controversial, economically damaging, and scientifically dubious set of regulations, and he’s ready to swallow it whole without any thought at all, simply because it comes wrapped up with a pretty green bow. That’s not Christian faith at work. That’s another kind of religion, and one of the most empty-headed, credulous religions imaginable. It is a religion that assumes (as Brandon never would about what Christians believe) that all the questions have been answered, that there is no more evidence to discover or examine, that all contrary evidence has been debunked, and that anyone who now disagrees is “unbiblical” and even unChristian, greedy and rapacious rather than caring and compassionate.

Well guess what, Brandon? Science doesn’t work that way. And neither does Christianity.

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.


I will be back on World magazine’s “The World and Everything In It” radio program this weekend, talking about the global warming preach-in being brought to us by the aging hippies at Interfaith Power and Light. You can find a list of stations on which to listen to the program here, you can listen to it on the Internet here, or you can download the Podcast here.

By the way, just so you don’t think the preach-in is a one-time occurrence, here’s a link to a post I did two years ago about the 2010 version. And these people are still using the term “global warming.” They are such fossils!

You may have seen it on the PCUSA’s web site: “Preach-In on Global Climate Change“. (“Let’s have a ‘preach-in’! It’ll be just like the 60s!”) There we’re told:

Interfaith Power and Light is hosting a national preach-in on global warming on Sunday February 12th. Planned to communicate a love for, and dedication to, God’s creation as Valentine’s Day approaches, this preach-in invites people of all religions to consider preaching, teaching, praying, and otherwise bringing awareness about climate change.

Here’s the flyer calling all environmental religion people to arms, er, mouths, er, whatever:

I will not be registering for this august event, so I won’t get any of the fact-free downloadable resources, or any of the “sample sermons” that I could pass off as my own use as models for my own. But then, I also won’t be promoting a new religion in my pulpit on February 12, either.

As I noted in my last post on Occupy Wall Street and the religious left, there are some folks who seem to have a serious problem coming to grips with reality. Two article today on a different subject continue that theme.  One is from the World Council of Churches, and is entitled, “Religious voices advocate for climate justice at Durban.” The other is from Jim Lacey, writing at National Review Online, and is entitled, “Scientists Behaving Badly.”

The latter is a scathing summary of the latest release of emails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. In what has already been dubbed “Climategate 2,” the emails paint a devastating picture of venality, duplicity, and political calculation on the part of the most prominent international advocates of the theory of anthropogenic climate change (ACC). A few highlights:

Anyone still desiring to contest the assertion that only a few persons controlled the entire warmist agenda will be brought up short by this note from one warmist protesting that his opinions were not getting the hearing they deserved: “It seems that a few people have a very strong say, and no matter how much talking goes on beforehand, the big decisions are made at the eleventh hour by a select core group.” Over the years this core group, led by Phil Jones at East Anglia and Michael Mann at Penn State, became so close that even those inclined toward more honest appraisals of the state of climate science were hesitant to rock the boat. As one warm-monger states: “I am not convinced that the ‘truth’ is always worth reaching if it is at the cost of damaged personal relationships.”…

Unfortunately, from the very beginning, the core group at the heart of Climategate had no interest in “scientific truth.” As one states: “The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guide what’s included and what is left out.” In other words, let’s decide on a conclusion and then use only evidence that proves that point, discarding everything else. One scientist who seems to have been slightly troubled by these methods wrote: “I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it, which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.”…

At one point, Jones admits that the “basic problem is that all of the models are wrong.” Of course, there is a simple reason for this. When the models do not show what the warmists want them to show, they simply apply “some tuning.” One scientist was worried enough about this “tuning” to write that he “doubt[ed] the modeling world will be able to get away with this much longer.” In this case, “tuning” means changing the model until it tells you what you want it to.

Lacey goes on to show that both the global press and governments were also in on the act, neither of which is a surprise. The London Daily Mail had a shocking article yesterday, for instance, that shows how completely in bed with the climate change hysterics the BBC has been. And American politicians, from President Obama to Al Gore to various members of Congress, have been pushing climate change for almost two decades as an excuse to get the government’s hands on ever more of the private economy, despite the increasing evidence that 1) warming has stopped over the last fifteen years, and 2) that much if not all of the increase in global temperature prior to that was a natural phenomenon.

Over at the WCC, on the other hand, climate change has been used as the bogus basis for a nonsensical campaign for “climate justice,” a faith-based movement that sounds an awful like like pretty much every other WCC political campaign of the last half century:

“This is the only home we have,” said Archbishop Desmond Tutu referring to the crucial significance of our planet and its survival. He was speaking in an inter-faith rally in Durban, urging the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP17) to deliver a Fair, Ambitious and Binding (FAB) treaty to address climate change effectively.

The COP17 stars today, 28 November, in Durban, South Africa.

The inter-faith rally, held at the Kings Park Stadium on 27 November was the first event for faith communities in Durban, who have been preparing for COP17 since one year ago.

“We have faith!” proclaimed bishop Geoff Davies, director of the Southern Africa Faith Communities Environmental Institute, one of the key organizers of the rally. “Africa is a continent of faith, and we have come here together from different faith traditions to voice our moral and spiritual call for a paradigm shift. We call for climate justice now,” said Davies.

Among other faith leaders, the WCC general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, conveyed greetings on behalf of the churches, and sent a strong message to Durban, saying, “It is time for climate justice”.

And what is “climate justice”? I went to the web site of a WCC-connected “movement” called “Time for Climate Justice,” and was unable to find a definition of the term. There was this sweeping statement on the home page for which I was unable to find any connecting evidence anywhere else on the site:

Poor people in developing countries are suffering first and worst from the consequences of climate change, yet they have done least to cause the problem. This is an injustice.

The only real hint I was able to find regarding what would constitute “climate justice” was a short paper on “The Political Economy of Climate Finance,” written for something called Christian Aid, which essentially advocated massive financial transfers from developed to developing nations, financed by punishing taxes on corporations–the same thing that the WCC has advocated in response to virtually any economic, social, or political problem of the last fifty years.

So there you have it: an essentially socialist financial program justified by empty-headed but fervent faith in a scientific fraud. Yep, that sure sounds like the World Council of Churches to me.

UPDATE: Reader Dave Van is a cartoonist with a wicked wit. He drew this back in 2009 for COP-15, but it is just as relevant here:

That sound you hear is the heads exploding at the World and National Councils of Churches and various denominational environmental offices. After years of apocalyptic hysteria about global warming, it may be necessary for them to turn on a dime to protect their phony-baloney jobs. Far from global warming, the Earth may be in for a new mini-Ice Age. According to Sky News of Australia:

For years, scientists have been predicting the Sun would move into solar maximum, a period of intense flares and sunspot activity by 2012, but lately a curious calm has suggested quite the opposite.

According to three studies released in the United States on Tuesday, experts believe the familiar sunspot cycle may be shutting down and heading toward a pattern of inactivity unseen since the 17th century.

The signs include a missing jet stream, fading spots, and slower activity near the poles, said experts from the National Solar Observatory and Air Force Research Laboratory.

‘This is highly unusual and unexpected,’ said Frank Hill, associate director of the NSO’s Solar Synoptic Network.

‘But the fact that three completely different views of the Sun point in the same direction is a powerful indicator that the sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation.’

Solar activity tends to rise and fall every 11 years or so. The solar maximum and solar minimum each mark about half the interval of the magnetic pole reversal on the Sun, which happens every 22 years.

Experts are now probing whether this period of inactivity could be a second Maunder Minimum, which was a 70-year period when hardly any sunspots were observed between 1645-1715.

‘If we are right, this could be the last solar maximum we’ll see for a few decades. That would affect everything from space exploration to Earth’s climate,’ said Hill.

The UK’s Register puts it this way:

What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening, as heavyweight US solar physicists announce that the Sun appears to be headed into a lengthy spell of low activity, which could mean that the Earth – far from facing a global warming problem – is actually headed into a mini Ice Age.

The Sun normally follows an 11-year cycle of activity. The current cycle, Cycle 24, is now supposed to be ramping up towards maximum strength. Increased numbers of sunspots and other indications ought to be happening: but in fact results so far are most disappointing. Scientists at the NSO now suspect, based on data showing decades-long trends leading to this point, that Cycle 25 may not happen at all.

A Maunder Minimum would make for interesting times:

During the Maunder Minimum and for periods either side of it, many European rivers which are ice-free today – including the Thames – routinely froze over, allowing ice skating and even for armies to march across them in some cases.

Now, that sounds good to me. I vastly prefer cold weather to hot. It would, however, necessitate a lot of adjustments by the human population to accommodate the moving of agriculturally productive areas more in the direction of the Equator. But you know what? We’d manage, just as people in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries did. Better, if I were guessing, because of the technological resources we have available to us that they didn’t have. And in any case, this is all in the realm of conjecture at this point, and it’s going to take several years before we see whether it’s really going to happen.

But here’s my real point: what do you suppose the mainline greenies are going to say about this? It’s not like the can order the Sun to start behaving. I suspect Ed Morrissey of Hot Air is correct that nothing will change:

Of course, if those AGW [anthropogenic global warming] advocates suddenly convert to Maunder Minimists, why do I have the sneaking suspicion that the same solutions — central control of energy production and usage, elimination of fossil fuels — will be pushed?

In other words, it doesn’t matter what the crisis of the moment is, the answer is always more statism. Sounds about right.

From the “Why Should I Listen to Myself Talk, Nobody Else Does” file, we have Anglican bishop George Browning of Australia on “climate change.” According to a press release from the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, God’s asleep, so it’s up to Australian Anglicans to save the world:

Twenty-eight religious leaders will converge on Canberra on 2 June to pressure the federal government to act on climate change.

Representatives from many different faiths, acting under the banner of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC), will meet with Julia Gillard, Greg Hunt, Andrew Wilkie and around twenty other Members of Parliament.

Bishop George Browning, a member of the delegation, said the time to act is now.

“Our generation has been given humanity’s last chance to avert a climate emergency. Our grandchildren will just have to bear with the results of what we decide to do now,” Bishop Browning said. [Emphasis added.]

Formerly the bishop of the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn, Bishop Browning, who is now the Chair of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, said that climate change skeptics were preventing Australia moving in the right direction.

“The naysayers are holding Australia back from taking responsible action with their fear-mongering and misinformation. Not only can we act, we must act.” [Emphasis added.]

I’m so glad that Bishop Last Chance is not so crass as to engage in fear-mongering about the end of the world.

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