Did you know that environmentalism is anti-Christian? Yes, when you work to save the environment, you are engaging in the persecution of Christians.
I keep asking this, but who knew?
There are many examples of this new right-wing shibboleth. One article I looked at, “Environmentalism: A Modern Idolatry” by Kevin L. Clauson argues that “Utopian Environmentalism offers radical prescriptions for contemporary ‘crises,’ but it does so contrary to Biblical reality.”
Now that’s a loaded statement, given the many views of what exactly constitutes “Biblical reality.” I guarantee you many scholarly views (and my own) do not match Mr. Clauson’s.
Clauson argues that,
To view modern culture, politics and religion, one would quickly get a sense that “the environment” is the latest object of worship by many in the Western World. Although, most committed environmentalists would claim to be much too sophisticated to be following in the footsteps of some ancient pagan or animistic religion, their new “progressive environmentalism,” in reality, is simply a re-packaging of old pantheistic errors combined with a much more dangerous set of public policy proposals than previous versions of environmentalism.
Pantheistic errors? What, exactly, is a pantheistic error? Actually showing some respect for the planet we’ve been fortunate enough to inhabit? I don’t even want to argue this claim; what I want to do is laugh. But this is a serious charge, however absurd. After 2,000 years, Christians have found a new way to feel persecuted.
Congratulations. I knew you had it in you.
Rich Deem, in another apologetic site, godandscience.org, takes on accusations that Christianity itself is anti-environmental. He defends against this charge while attacking environmentalists for violating the Bible in their zeal to protect the environment:
The Bible declares God’s pleasure in His creation and His care for all the created things on the earth – both plants and animals. God has given man the task of caring for and protecting His creation on the earth. The Bible says that those who destroy God’s creation will be judged and destroyed themselves. Therefore, the Bible encourages wise stewardship of the earth, its resources, and its creatures. Many Christians have reacted against the environmental movement, probably because of the tendency by many environmentalists not only to protect the earth and its creatures, but to actually worship the creation instead of the Creator. This kind of misdirected loyalty by many environmentalists is clearly condemned in the Bible, since we are to worship God alone.
One of the problems with this anti-environmental movement is that these Christians assume that only they get a say and that we should all be happy to do as they say, as though no other religion exists, or ever existed. Of course, we know they insist only their god exists and I’m perfectly content to leave them their god. However, my ancestors had beliefs and gods of their own, as I do today. I challenge their assumption that only their beliefs count for anything.
Mr. Deem is more than welcome to worship his god alone. I am a Heathen and I worship my own gods. I do not, as it happens, worship the planet I live on though I accept as a matter of course that it is filled with the divine. This life, for me, is what matters. This earth is my home, not some future heaven.
Dr. Barry Napier laments on yet another conservative site, The American Conservative:
I have written three books against environmentalism, showing its true aims – Marxist and Fascist. this is obvious in its ‘non-human future’ ideas (itself an absurdity) and its frank genocide.
Marxism and Fascism now. I thought it was pantheism or paganism! I am a Pagan but I’m not a Marxist or Fascist (and I wonder if Mr. Napier knows the difference, the way he lumps them together). I’ve known many environmentalists who are neither pantheist nor Pagan. Is there some secret cabal of Pagan Marxist-Fascists hiding in the mountains, guiding our hands?
Mother Jones has tried to make sense of all this. Kate Shepherd relates that,
Just in time for the holidays, a coalition of Christian conservative groups has issued an “explosive new 12-part DVD series” detailing the dangers of environmentalism. “Resisting the Green Dragon” explains how caring about future of the natural world is really an attempt to “push evangelicals to embrace anti-Christian environmental views.”
There is no lack of money on the right; one thing you can always say about them is that they spare no expense in presenting even the most seriously flawed argument in the glossiest manner possible:
Here’s the spin:
“Today’s environmentalism isn’t a neutral set of ideas that can be tacked onto the Christian faith without theological compromise,” Beisner said. “Instead, it promotes its own worldview and its own doctrines of God, creation, humanity, sin, and salvation. And those doctrines aren’t Biblical.”
Clear battle lines being drawn here between religion and science, and it isn’t science that is doing the drawing. It’s Christianity.
Back in 2006 Right Wing Watch reported the following murmurings at the oxymoronic Value Voters Summit:
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) warned the crowd at the Values Voter Summit about the “attack to eliminate the conservative agenda of Evangelicals,” which includes “scriptural” issues such as flag burning, abortion, and homosexuality. But the main thrust of his speech was a push back against environmentalism. According to Inhofe, the “smartest thing” that “liberal groups” have done is to introduce the issue of the environment to churches, and he said he was “very worried” that the majority of the audience “believe[s] global warming is real.” He set out to dispell that understanding, using a somewhat convoluted logic.
Inhofe even suggested God would reward Christians for destroying the planet:
Inhofe had harsh words for the National Association of Evangelicals, a group strongly allied with the Right which nevertheless has spoken out about the environment, and NAE spokesman Richard Cizik, “the man behind this.” The senator called on the Values Voter Summit crowd to fight back: “If you do this, you’ll be doing the Lord’s work and he’ll richly bless you for it.”
Killing our little green haven in an airless universe is the Lord’s work. Used to be killing people was enough. As Pope Gregory said in the 7th century, “All who die by the way, whether by land or by sea, or in battle against the pagans, shall have immediate remission of sins.” Now we gotta kill the entire damn planet.
Bryan Fischer, our perennial bigot-king, had this to say in 2010:
In simplest terms, this is what is at stake in our battle with environmentalists. In a biblical worldview, man is far more important than earth. In the view of the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, it’s just the other way round. From a scriptural standpoint, earth is to serve man; in environmentalism, man is to serve earth. And is to be punished severely if he refuses.
In a biblical worldview, man is to worship the Creator, not the creation. In environmentalism, it’s just the reverse — you must worship Gaia rather than God.
The contrast is stark and plain. Woe to any evangelical dupes who get taken in by environmental tripe and try to peddle this idolatrous nonsense as if it were consistent with the biblical message. The evangelicals who blindly follow environmentalists make a violation of the First Commandment — “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” — a part of their sacred creed. Such evangelicals just become the “useful idiots” Stalin spoke of, in service of a dark agenda that is fundamentally at odds with the truth.
Bryan Fischer says, “Bottom line: environmentalists hate human beings while God loves them. I think I’m going with God on this one.”
That’s a tough sell: Hard to say there is any love in a position that advocates destroying the very environment we require to survive as a species. If I tell my son to throw his garbage in his room and to use his floor as a toilet…is that love?
Most of us are content – even happy – to try to get through life without the either/or paradigm, the whole with me or against me thing. But fundamentalist Christians are determined to make us fight, and to paint us the bad guys for doing so. It’s a replay of what happened to the Canaanites in post-exilic Israel, and a replay of what happened to Europe’s pagans after publication of the Theodosian Code in the fifth century C.E.
As Captain Benteen said at the Little Bighorn, “a groundhog case. It root hog or die.”
If they want me against them, I’m all there. I’m against you, Inhofe. I’m against you, Fischer; I’m against every one of you, who want to destroy our planet and strip of us our religious freedoms. Let’s rumble.