fight global warming --it's the christian thing to do!
March 10, 2005 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Only a couple of years ago, it used to be like that: Gore continues to cling to the creed of his fellow Earth-worshippers that the unproved theory of global warming will vaporize us all unless government steps in and forces us to reshape our lives and lifestyles. Under Gore, we'd trade in our SUVs for the transportation equivalent of Yugos. Unemployed people could be absorbed into environment-related positions that would promote the secular dirt gods with the zeal of Buddhist temple fund-raisers. But now (a bit late for the last Kyoto decision-making gathering...) we get this: Evangelical Leaders Swing Influence Behind Effort to Combat Global Warming (NYT link). Is this a real swing in people's opinions despite prominent polemic by the likes of Michael Crichton and George Will? Or just an aberration in mainstream (evangelical) thinking?
posted by carmina (53 comments total)
 
It's all a sinister plot until your side starts doing it.
posted by clevershark at 9:57 AM on March 10, 2005


[Please let this be real... Please let this be real... ]

Of course, articles like this and this seem to suggest an even more immediate threat from mercury poisoning (you know, the stuff that used to put the "mad" in "mad hatter"). The tricky thing with mercury is that exposure to it is associated with a variety of psychological problems (shortened attention span, dementia, memory disorders, etc.). I've been wondering quite a bit lately if any of the increased cultural tensions that the pundits blather on and on about might somehow be related to increasing levels of environmental mercury exposure. Just armchair speculation, of course--not to be taken too seriously in the absence of evidence. Although there is some evidence that widespread dementia in the "dark ages" may have been partly attributable to environmental factors (not specifically mercury in that case, but a particular type of poisonous fungus that attacked grain stores).
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 10:16 AM on March 10, 2005


I have to conclude that the Evangelicals must be serious about this. This is the first time in awhile, that I know of, that they've taken a blatantly anti-Republican position. Since Reagan, they've pretty much walked in lock-step with the Republicans, with the occasional gentle chiding.

Hell, this might even mark the point that the Evangelicals start *really* looking at the Republican agenda and realizing that, a few points of convergence aside, it really doesn't have anything to do with Christianity, at least as Christ preached it.

Not, of course, that the dems are much better... but they're a little closer to what Jesus taught.
posted by InnocentBystander at 10:22 AM on March 10, 2005


SUVs = unintelligent design.
posted by carter at 10:27 AM on March 10, 2005


InnocentBystander: have the Evangelicals been lock-step with the Republicans, or have the Republicans been lock-step with the Evangelicals? I think the difference is important.

I doubt evangelical christians expect the Republican party to represent them 100%. But in the case of abortion and gay marriage there is a definite overlap of opinion. You can't deny the overwhelming importance of these two issues to some/most Christian sects. These overshadows other differences (whether they should or not I won't say).

The rest of the correlation between Evangelicals and Republicans I'd attribute to rural culture, not so much religion. But that's just my opinion.
posted by sbutler at 10:39 AM on March 10, 2005


Well gosh, now that the same people who believe in creationism and speaking in tongues are behind this, maybe I should start taking the science seriously.
posted by 2sheets at 10:42 AM on March 10, 2005


I liked the fact that the links to the scientists' group that doesn't believe in global warming are on geocities. I immediately distrust ANYTHING on geocities. Get a real domain.

More on topic: It would be great to see Christians in this country start acting like, well, Christians. If I recall the Bible correctly, God told Adam to care for all of his worldly creations - not to destroy them in order to make a buck. *shrug* I'm not a christian by any means, but I do respect those who follow the religion not in name only, and I would welcome a resurgence in liberal Christians. There's an interesting salon article today on the broader religious left movement, which this appears to be a part of.
posted by salad spork at 10:42 AM on March 10, 2005


Note that "evangelical" does not necessarily equate to conservative Christian. There are some evangelical groups that have always been pretty far to the left politically.
posted by Doohickie at 10:43 AM on March 10, 2005


Such an approach appeals to evangelicals, Mr. Haggard said, adding, "We want to be pro-business environmentalists."

Jesus tells us that we should be pro-business. [cough]

Even religion can evolve.

InnocentBystander is telling us Jesus was a liberal socialist.
Those red letters in the New Testament tend to support that supposition. But pro-business? What's that all about? Isn't that the Church of the Dollar Bill?
posted by nofundy at 10:44 AM on March 10, 2005


Doohickie beat me to it, but this post belies a great deal of ignorance about religious America -- though maybe I can blame the New York Times for that. "Evangelicals" means a great deal of different things. Many, many "Evangelical" churches and religious organizations are very liberal in their politics and political efforts and have been for some time. It's not surprising that they would come out supporting this. The Episcopal Church USA, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ, and United Methodist Church have come out against Bush's budget recently.

But I guarantee you the hardcore dispensationalist types who you're really thinking of when you use the word Evangelicals haven't changed their opinion on Bush or global warming one bit. When Tim LaHaye comes out against global warming then you have something. This doesn't mean much.
posted by Heminator at 10:56 AM on March 10, 2005


Even James Baker--Bush "fixer"-- just spoke about it (which is hysterical, since he's part of the Carlyle Group--gigantic oil/gas investments)
posted by amberglow at 11:04 AM on March 10, 2005


salad spork wrote: More on topic: It would be great to see Christians in this country start acting like, well, Christians. ..

Actually, there are a great number of us (millions, in fact). But we're not the ones who make the news, due to our relatively unassuming nature (that's relative to wacko fundies) and our lack of outlandish viewpoints. We're going about the business of living our lives as best we can according to the Gospel: housing the homeless, feeding the hungry, working for social justice, etc.

We don't claim to be saints, but we're at least trying to do the right thing.
posted by tippiedog at 11:25 AM on March 10, 2005


Are the wheels falling off the Bush short bus?

Good points Heminator and Doohickie. Not all Christians are nuts. Thanks for that link amberglow!

In support of InnocentBystander and in defense of the model of true Christian that would NOT support many of Bush's policies let me present Jesus and Alinsky by Mr. Wink.
posted by nofundy at 11:26 AM on March 10, 2005


sbutler Sure, but those are virtually the ONLY issues wherein the Christians overlap with Republicans.

So far, the Evangelical crowd has managed to convince themselves that it doesn't matter what else the Republicans do so long as, gosh darn it, they hate those fags just like Christ did. (note the dripping sarcasm) But I have to imagine this is starting to become a very difficult attitude to maintain, given the behavior of the administration and how it continues to become more and more UNChristian in any decent sense of the word.

This would be one example of it. Does being for "family values" REALLY outweigh giving corporations free reign to pollute the earth as they see fit? Or does trying to stop abortions in the US make it OK to go and kill off plenty of post-birth children in foreign lands?

I could see a major shift occuring, if only the Democrats were bright enough to seize it. Ultimately, the things Jesus preached are rather difficult for any civilized person to be against. If the Dems could take a "look at our DEEDS, not their WORDS" stance, they might win the Christians over to their side.

But then again, we are talking about the segment of the population who were ready to forgive (and keep sending money to) the likes of Jimmy Swaggart, so who knows. Maybe I'm just engaging in wishful projection.
posted by InnocentBystander at 11:28 AM on March 10, 2005


Slacktivist is a good example of a liberal coming from the evangelical tradition.
posted by gwint at 11:29 AM on March 10, 2005


Are the wheels falling off the Bush short bus?

This is much more important than that.
posted by hackly_fracture at 11:30 AM on March 10, 2005


(for the record, I'm not Christian by any usual definition of the term. I love what Jesus taught and think someone would have a hard time going wrong by following his advice... but I don't buy the rest of the mythology. I just get very annoyed at people who claim to be "Christian" and then advocate everything Christ spoke against.)
posted by InnocentBystander at 11:30 AM on March 10, 2005


Under Gore, we'd trade in our SUVs for the transportation equivalent of Yugos.

Transportation equivalent of Yugos? Is that like the Culinary equivalent of a BigMac?
posted by delmoi at 11:32 AM on March 10, 2005


right now, jesus is all "RIGLHAO*"








*rolling in grave, laughing His ass off
posted by Hat Maui at 11:35 AM on March 10, 2005


Just a curious note:

Why was it that Kerry got more attention for disagreeing with the official platform of his congregation regarding abortion, while Bush's disagreement with his congregation regarding the War in Iraq went unnoticed?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:45 AM on March 10, 2005


We are at war with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eurasia.
MCMLXXXIV anyone?
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:48 AM on March 10, 2005


KirkJobSluder: Bush is not a Catholic. But at any rate it was easier to bash Kerry on theological-hypocritical grounds because he came across, to many who care about this kind of thing, as clearly "not religious."

Hence all the recent flagellation and donning of hair shirts on the left.

Hat Maui: I'm not much of Christian anymore but that's literally the first time I thought of Jesus "in his grave" as opposed to, you know, shaking off the three-day dirt. Interesting.
posted by hackly_fracture at 11:55 AM on March 10, 2005


These church leaders, scientists, writers and heads of international aid agencies argue that global warming is an urgent threat, a cause of poverty and a Christian issue because the Bible mandates stewardship of God's creation.

Hmmm... Let's see if I've got this. Occcasionally anti-semitic Evangelicals back Israel because escalating tensions in the Middle East brings us all closer to the end times. But then they're also feeling all cuddly about the environment?
posted by 327.ca at 11:57 AM on March 10, 2005


We are at war with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eurasia.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:48 AM PST on March 10


All allusions to 1984 fail unless you live in a soceity that has no free press. We have a free press. And the internet.

Poor George Orwell would probably not have enjoyed seeing his work being so frequently and improperly used as a cliched partisan tool.
posted by dios at 12:00 PM on March 10, 2005


327.ca:

Yep, you got it exactly. Just like more-than-occasionally anti-semitic leftist athiests clamor for the destruction of Israel, the incarceration of Christians and the slaughter of innocents. But they love the little critters?
posted by hackly_fracture at 12:03 PM on March 10, 2005


Poor George Orwell would probably not have enjoyed seeing his work being so frequently and improperly used as a cliched partisan tool.

orwell's all "RIGLHAO"
posted by Hat Maui at 12:04 PM on March 10, 2005


Somebody help me out with this. Wasn't it the Sec'y of the interior under reagan (watt?) that was quoted as saying something to the effect of, "We do not need to take care of the environment because the Second Coming of Christ is near" (paraphrase). And if I am not mistaken, it is his protege that is now in Bush's cabinet.

I dunno. There's a cynical part of me that raises little warning flags when I hear about Evangelicals getting ecopornographic. Seems like half of 'em believe the Rapture is coming soon, and the other half just want to make some quick cash.

And none of 'em are nearly as cool and level headed as that Jesus fellow. Not being a Christian myself, I can still appreciate his stand on all this stuff. Smart guy, that Christ.

Who was it that said, "God, please save me from your followers." Sagan I think? Lewis?
posted by lazaruslong at 12:12 PM on March 10, 2005


Jebus, lazaruslong. Not again on the Watt thing.
posted by trharlan at 12:26 PM on March 10, 2005


Poor George Orwell would probably not have enjoyed seeing his work being so frequently and improperly used as a cliched partisan tool.

Time to take a chill pill, bill! I just thought it was a funny parallel - I was reading the book the other day and that line popped into my head when I read this. Revisionism is popular these days on all fronts. I'm not trying to exaggerate the current situation, just dropping a relevant line from a good book.

That said, Orwell probably is all RIGLHAO.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:38 PM on March 10, 2005


Yep, you got it exactly. Just like more-than-occasionally anti-semitic leftist athiests clamor for the destruction of Israel, the incarceration of Christians and the slaughter of innocents. But they love the little critters?

When have athiests ever advocated or imposed the incarceration/slaughter of Christians? The Romans persecuted Christians, but they weren't atheists; they were pagans (and don't say that was the historical equivalent, because there were actual atheists in those days too). Historically, religious violence has been mostly sectarian (variations on the "my God can whup your God" theme). If you're thinking of the Nazis, I'm sorry to be a spoiler, but they considered themselves Christians (a strain of Christians with their own unique take on Christianity, sure, but Christians all the same). Not to say they actually were, but that's how they saw it. Which atheists, specifically, do you mean? Stalin was pretty brutal to just about everybody, but Russian orthodox Christianity was tolerated even in the USSR, wasn't it? (I'm really asking--I don't know. Anyone know more about Christianity under communist rule?) Anyway, the point is, most historical religious persecution has taken the form of one kind of believers vs. another kind of believers, not believers vs. non-believers--that fact simply can't be disputed. Where did the idea that atheists are plotting to persecute Christians come from anyway, and how has it been getting so much traction lately? (For the record, I'm not an athiest, but I play one on TV...) And as for the Israel thing, are these lefties that want to destroy Isreal really out there? Or are all criticisms of Israel just interpreted as death threats?
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 12:50 PM on March 10, 2005


327 - Did you miss my and Doohickie's posts? We're talking about different groups here. Also, please explain this lazy anti-semitic slur and how it applies to the broad concept of evangelicals.

Also, on the Kerry/Bush hypocrisy thing -- there's a big difference between disagreeing with a political statement issued by a church and disavowing its doctrine.

That is a church can condemn a specific war, but since Christianity isn't generally pacifistic (far from it, Quakers aside) that's a debatable point. One can argue that the war in Iraq was just within the context of Christianity, and the church isn't really the final authority on that in a divine sense (I'm just explaining something here -- keep down the snark).

Catholicism is different. Actual doctrine is set by the pope who is the final authority. Not believing in the pope's teachings is tantamount to rejecting one of the fundamental premises of the church. So from a strict religious perspective, rather than a political one, Kerry seems much more hypocritical. Why be Catholic if you believe in supporting abortion?
posted by Heminator at 12:51 PM on March 10, 2005


Evangelicals, like any other broad group, are diverse with their political beliefs - if anything, most voted Democratic until the 1970's and 1980's changing their votes around, in particular, state legislation around schools and the perceived legislation around drug use. There is also an inherent racism that is slowly changing.

It was Republican operatives who saw their potential, and politicized them.

For most secularists, there isn't the intuitive sense that God actually changes the minds of persons. But from an evangelical perspective, God actually talks to you, and makes demands.
posted by john wilkins at 12:53 PM on March 10, 2005


all-seeing eye dog: another lame attempt at satire on my part, I fear. Check it out:

Step 1. Several posts (by Doohickie, Heminator, Tippiedog) mention that evangelicals cannot all be tarred with the same brush.

Step 2. 327.ca gets out a reasonable approximation of the same old big brush.

Step 3. I (poorly!) attempt to point this out by rushing in the other direction.

If you need to see how goofily left I really am (and bad with the one liners) check ye olde commenting history. Or not.
posted by hackly_fracture at 1:00 PM on March 10, 2005


Sorry, hackley_fracture. My irony detector went on the blink a couple years ago... Still should have probably spent some time reviewing other of your previous comments before posting though... Hopefully, I'm not foolishly attacking another ironic comment with this next bit, but here goes anyway...

Sorry Heminator--but you're wrong. What part of "turn the other cheek" don't you get? The defining characteristic of Christian teaching and theology is its emphasis on pacifism--Jesus' insistence on non-violence was the main cause of the schizm that emerged between Judaism and Christianity in the early days. Remember, the old testament is NOT a uniquely Christian scripture: Both Judaism and Islam accept the Old Testament as scripture, too. In fact, the Old Testament is still one of the foundational scriptures of Judaism and Islam. The only uniquely Christian scriptures are the books that constitute the New Testament are uniquely Christian, and there's no ambiguity at all about where Jesus stood on violence.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 1:08 PM on March 10, 2005


My irony detector went on the blink a couple years ago...

As apparently too did my awkward prepositional phrases and passive voice filter, among other things...
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 1:13 PM on March 10, 2005


all-seeing eye dog: No need to apologize!

But, as to "no ambiguity at all," sadly . . .

(I do realize this is one quote more or less tripled, and that there is much more about peace than not-peace in the words of Jesus. I point it out only because it tends to be the first weapon the Who-Would-Jesus-Bomb crowd raise.)
posted by hackly_fracture at 1:19 PM on March 10, 2005


right now, jesus is all "RIGLHAO*"

Minor point: Jesus isn't in a grave....
posted by srboisvert at 1:30 PM on March 10, 2005


327 - Did you miss my and Doohickie's posts?

Yes, I did actually. I'm rushed today and posted without a whole lot thought. (That's not an apology. Just how things are at the moment.)

We're talking about different groups here.

So you say. Then the term "evangelical" probably doesn't mean much, eh? Why is it used all if the divergence of belief is so great?

Also, please explain this lazy anti-semitic slur and how it applies to the broad concept of evangelicals.


Well, you're right. I'm too lazy to bother. If you want to split hairs about how this group of evangelicals believes X and that believes Y, go ahead. I think there's plenty on the public record to (occasionally, as I said) link some evangelicals with antisemitic beliefs.
posted by 327.ca at 1:32 PM on March 10, 2005


Oh, all right--there's some wiggle room. But there's a good body of scholarly evidence to suggest that wishful thinking on the part of the transcriptionists played the biggest part in introducing these kinds of inconsistencies into Jesus' teachings. Stephen Mitchell's The Gospel According to Jesus discusses that theme and offers a version of the gospel that omits all the content of historically dubious origins.

Cool link to the skeptic's annotated bible. Thanks!
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 1:37 PM on March 10, 2005


srboisvert:

... riiiiiiight.

(unless you're nitpicking "tomb" vs. "grave," then I gotcha)
posted by joe lisboa at 1:37 PM on March 10, 2005


What I should have made clearer was that I can't see how a person (let's set aside the notion of "groups" for a moment) can resolve a belief in -- and enthusiasm for -- the end times with a desire to preserve the sanctity of god's creation.

Now I gotta run. We can argue about this later. ;-)
posted by 327.ca at 1:39 PM on March 10, 2005


Minor point: Jesus isn't in a grave....

sez you. me, i've been to his gravesite. it's in france, covered with graffiti and bad poetry.
posted by Hat Maui at 1:56 PM on March 10, 2005


That was Jesus in the Florida State video?
posted by hackly_fracture at 1:58 PM on March 10, 2005


Jesus came long after the Bible book that describes a covenant between God and life on Earth.

Noah 9:12 And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations:

Noah 9:13 I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

Noah 9:16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will look upon it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth."

----

The new, improved rainbow.
posted by hank at 3:16 PM on March 10, 2005


Why was it that Kerry got more attention for disagreeing with the official platform of his congregation regarding abortion, while Bush's disagreement with his congregation regarding the War in Iraq went unnoticed?

That would be news indeed, except that Bush doesn't have a congregation and rarely attends services.
posted by clevershark at 3:20 PM on March 10, 2005


That would be news indeed, except that Bush doesn't have a congregation and rarely attends services.

Yup, like his idol, Saint Reagan, who also rarely if ever attended while mouthing off religiously (altho not as much as Georgie)
posted by amberglow at 3:30 PM on March 10, 2005


Thank jesus for peak oil.
posted by kuatto at 3:50 PM on March 10, 2005


worldchanging had a bit on ecological christians recently :D

oh and..!
Conservative religious groups are increasingly concerned about the issue. Christianity Today, the magazine of Billy Graham's evangelical movement, has just run an editorial arguing the moral case for action on climate change. As Mr Lieberman says with a smile, "The earth is, after all, a faith-based initiative."
also see, "Should George Bush go green? - An unusual, but sensible, suggestion for the homecoming president" [try clicking for a 'sponsored' link :]
Some neo-cons worry about America's over-dependence on such an unstable region as the Middle East. Some fiscal conservatives worry about the impact of America's appetite for imported oil on the dollar. And some evangelical Christians worry that mercury pollution is damaging the unborn, and pointedly ask what Jesus would drive. Support for strict environmental regulation among evangelicals has jumped from 45% in 2000 to 52% last year.
cheers!
posted by kliuless at 4:25 PM on March 10, 2005


No, All-Seeing Eyedog -- not to be childish here, but you're wrong. What specifically makes you think that Jesus was a pacifist? There are none of Christ's teachings that specifically advocate pacifism. Yes, he did say turn the other cheek, but that was qualified with the infamous "seven times seventy." In other words, don't be stupid and stand up for yourself as necessary. That may even involve violence.

Also do you suppose Christ ejected the moneylenders from the temple with his charm?
posted by Heminator at 6:20 PM on March 10, 2005


But last week Metafilter told me evangelicals supported Global Warming because it would bring the Rapture closer.
posted by drscroogemcduck at 7:31 PM on March 10, 2005


Why was it that Kerry got more attention for disagreeing with the official platform of his congregation regarding abortion, while Bush's disagreement with his congregation regarding the War in Iraq went unnoticed?

That would be news indeed, except that Bush doesn't have a congregation and rarely attends services.


Although he doesn't act like most of the Methodists I know, Shrub is a Methodist. Whether or not he is formally a member of a specific congregation I do not know. However, the United Methodist Church did, in fact, come out strongly against the war in Iraq.
posted by Doohickie at 8:15 PM on March 10, 2005


CORRECTION TO THIS ARTICLE
["A Feb. 6 story incorrectly quoted James G. Watt, interior secretary under President Ronald Reagan, as telling Congress in 1981: After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back. Although that statement has been widely attributed to Watt, there is no historical record that he made it." :]

cheers!

posted by kliuless at 8:23 PM on March 10, 2005


lthough he doesn't act like most of the Methodists I know, Shrub is a Methodist. Whether or not he is formally a member of a specific congregation I do not know. However, the United Methodist Church did, in fact, come out strongly against the war in Iraq.
posted by Doohickie at 11:15 PM EST on March 10


Absolutely and Amen.
posted by nofundy at 4:53 AM on March 11, 2005


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