KNIGHT: Earth Day religion

Now there’s even a hymn to accompany the theology

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Just as the word “liberal” has given way to the less-tarnished “progressive,” it’s hard to find “global warming” in environmental groups’ materials celebrating April 22 as Earth Day.

The operative phrase is “climate change,” and it’s a reality if you’re in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, where the overheated Earth last week deposited three feet of new snow. Talk about a sudden change in climate just when Coloradans were getting their flippers out and putting the snowboards in storage.

Like the global-warming crowd’s movement toward ever more labored explanations for why the weather isn’t behaving according to Al Gore’s scary computer-model scenarios, Earth Day keeps evolving. It began in 1970 as a well-meaning conservation effort, and even inspired some needed laws to clean up the air and rivers.

Like a baby Tyrannosaurus rex, though, it grew teeth, got big and powerful (see: Environmental Protection Agency) and began stalking prey, such as coal miners and the vulnerable young. Today’s schoolchildren are so hyped on “green” propaganda that it’s not hard to imagine them happily turning in their non-recycling parents to the Green Police like Cuban tots ratting on their elders for secretly reading Milton and Rose Friedman’s “Free to Choose.”

Driven by fanatics, environmentalism has gone beyond being a cause and has morphed into a pagan religion. This year’s Earth Day theme is “The Face of Climate Change.” We’re all supposed to upload photos of ourselves while pledging our fealty to saving the planet. It’s Facebook gone wild.

Here’s an early take on Earth Day by famed anthropologist Margaret Mead, who, some evidence suggests, was fooled by mischievous Samoans into writing a best-selling book that exaggerated “free love” among adolescents.

An international chairman of Earth Day, Mead wrote in the EPA Journal of March 1978:

“Earth Day is the first holy day which transcends all national borders, yet preserves all geographical integrities, spans mountains and oceans and time belts, and yet brings people all over the world into one resonating accord .”

There’s yet more: “Earth Day attaches no local or divisive set of symbols, no statement of the truth or superiority of one way of life over another.”

Really? How about the implied sideswipe of Western Civilization and Christendom, in which she grew up and which spawned her freedom to get grants in order to study hapless Samoans? Her claim is not only ungracious, but inaccurate. Earth Day is emblematic of the Earth religion, which has a decidedly strong sense of superiority of its vision. If you don’t believe it, here’s the first stanza of the “Earth Day Anthem,” set to the tune of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”:

Joyful, joyful we adore our Earth in all its wonderment

Simple gifts of nature that all join into a paradise

Now we must resolve to protect her

Show her our love throughout all time.

For contrast from the world of old-time religion, here’s the first stanza of “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” written by Henry van Dyke in 1907 and found in most hymnals:

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