- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 21, 1999

Religion and faith are regular props in the “environmental” debates, employed like Ross Perot’s famous pie charts. The most notable recent appearance was in the context of considering amendments to the Endangered Species Act. It was then, in a December 1995 speech, that Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt intimated that altering the text in any form was to violate God’s will as expressed in the book of Genesis. Recent elevation of religion in that Mother of All Environmental Debates, the Armageddon-esque theory of man-made global warming, is thus no surprise. The hypocrisy is particularly shocking, however.

Increasingly, churches and religious organizations trumpet the need to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, or global warming treaty, on the basis that it manifests “stewardship.” These organizations include Protestant denominations, the Greek Orthodox Church and the Philadelphia Board of Rabbis. That basic tenet of Judeo-Christian faith upon which they hinge their advocacy states that the Earth is the Lord’s and we as God’s stewards must care for its well-being. Yet they conclude their syllogism at the urging of self-styled “environmentalist” advocates.

Those latter parties argue “stewardship” in disguise of their true impetus of idolatry, an affront to all to whom they preach. Were this not enough, there is the irony of that oft-Pagan crowd appealing to the faithful. Worse, this is in furtherance of “mainstreaming” past hysterical claims that their version of environmentalism is the necessary “central organizing principle of mankind” (Al Gore, “Earth in the Balance,” p. 274).

This is anathema to anyone of faith and must be exposed for what it is. But the loyal opposition to any “environmental” initiative is easily mischaracterized. The opportunity to demagogue becomes irresistible when religious groups join the choir serenading every such debate since the political power shifted in Washington. Scrutiny of this movement to lobby the churches yields that they are more often than not engaged in Earth worship, or worship of an entity they call Gaia, the Goddess Mother Earth.

This is idolatry, and has nothing to do with Judeo-Christian principles. It is at the root of the Zero Population Growth (ZPG) movement, that precipitating force in many anti-growth environmental assaults, the Kyoto Treaty included. Instead of advertising this motivation, the mantra is “stewardship.” Who does not agree with that? But what do these proponents mean by that, and what policies are to result? Typically, it turns out that this assumes that if God wants us to care about something, He must necessarily want us to put that something under government control.

The true reason they push this treaty is that it is anti-growth. It is anti-wealth. Ironically, without exception wealthier is healthier. But wealthier means the ability to provide for large families, live suburban lifestyles (commute), use goods requiring long haul transport, and otherwise act in ways deemed inherently wrong by the global warming crowd.

To get their way, effective rationing and the requisite energy taxes are the tools. Dramatically reduced energy consumption is the goal, and ultimately reduction in the activities that use energy. The key point to consider in this campaign is that the goal is to limit that which facilitates 6 billion people on the planet.

Through tax policy, resource restriction, emissions regulation and outright caps, commuting, convenience shopping, individual transportation and long-haul transport of products to market must be discouraged. Austerity, through price and other difficulties, will bring about a redefinition of “need,” and thus diminished demand, then reduced consumption. That is the program.

We know the warmers’ motivation for two irrefutable reasons. First, statements by treaty proponents, such as Malthusian industrialist Maurice Strong, who sums it up with his famous remark that “Economic growth is not the cure, it is the disease.” Second, global warming advocates ultimately oppose every alternative energy source which comes into relatively widespread use, after having hailed it when it appeared pie-in-the-sky. Hydroelectric, nuclear, and now even wind energy are under siege. Next up is solar, and the claim will be it requires too much space, including critical habitat.

The “religious” rationale behind this, it turns out time and again, is found in the Gaia theory, which is at the root of the zero growth movement. And that theory is anti-Judeo-Christian to its core.

There is indeed a direct correlation between per capita income and per capita electricity consumption. Starving the world of energy starves the world’s poor. Consider not just the developing world’s poor, but our own low- and fixed-income citizens. Is it compassionate to impose energy taxes which price air conditioning out of the market for the urban elderly and others on fixed incomes those parties typically accounting for heat wave deaths? How compassionate is it to strip the same parties’ Low Income Heating Assistance?

Invoking religion or appealing to peoples’ faith in order to advance that which is driven at heart by beliefs wildly inconsistent with Christian principles, is very disturbing. Disguising the reason only makes it worse.

Christopher C. Horner is counsel for the Cooler Heads Coalition in Washington.



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