City of Roses
|Is religious fanaticism encouraging the destruction of our environment?
Former host of weekly syndicated program "NOW!", Bill Moyers, fears this may be the case:
Moyers argues in this latest article of how the most ideological Christians, who believe and interpret the Holy Word word by word, has come in to influence the seats of power, and the amalgamation of ideology and theology is distracting the public eye from our ecological and environmental issues.
One such thing Moyers notes out is this excerpt, written in the first book of the Bible, that he fears many Christians interpret as the human's right to dominate the Earth and have "dominion" or superiorty over all else:
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth."
Moyers also quotes John Hagee, pastor of the 17,000- member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, where he is quoted in Barbara's Rossing's book "The Rapture Exposed" as saying:
"Mark it down, take it to heart, and comfort one another with these words. Doomsday is coming for the earth, for the nations, and for individuals, but those who have trusted in Jesus will not be present on earth to witness the dire time of tribulation."
Moyers argues Rossing basically is saying: "The world cannot be saved.", and Moyers goes on to argue because of these contagious ethics moving around, the faithful are relieved of concern for the environment, violence, and everything else except their personal salvation.
In saying that, Moyers goes on to point out the reluctance among those "relieved" of protecting the environment. He points out the understanding of Glenn Scherer in his report for the on-line environmental magazine Grist:
"Why care about the earth when the droughts, floods, famine, and pestilence brought by ecological collapse are signs of the apocalypse foretold in the Bible? Why care about global climate change when you and yours will be rescued in the Rapture? Why bother to convert to alternative sources of energy and reduce dependence on oil from the volatile Middle East? Anyway, until Christ does return, the Lord will provide."
Moreover, Moyers learns that Scherer picked up a high school history book, America's Providential History, which is used in fundamentalist circles, where students are told the following:
"The secular or socialist has a limited resource mentality and views the world as a pie…that needs to be cut up so everyone can get a piece." The Christian, however, "knows that the potential in God is unlimited and that there is no shortage of resources in God's Earth. While many secularists view the world as overpopulated, Christians know that God has made the earth sufficiently large with plenty of resources to accommodate all of the people."
So, what does this mean to Moyers?
He argues it helps us recognize the administration's distrust of scientifical evidence, and their obsession with multinational corporations and lobbyists who consider our environment "ripe for the picking and a hard-core constituency of fundamentalists who regard the environment as fuel for the fire that is coming."
He notes out of these religious ideologists continuing to gain and seize control of the U.S Congress, the EPA and other once-strong environmental forces, with almost half (231 legislators) now backed by their ideologies, where "forty-five senators and 186 members of the 108th Congress earned 80 to 100 percent approval ratings from the most influential Christian Right advocacy groups. Not one includes the environment as one of their celebrated "moral values."
And because of this increasing grip, the ideological arm has been extended among Bush's agenda, which has been treated as a "mandate" and is encouraging measures including:
1) The re-writing of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and the Endangered Species Acts
2) The relaxing of pollution limits for the ozone and for automobiles.
3) The encouraging of corporations to keep certain information about environmental problems secret from the public
4) The dropping of lawsuits against polluting coal-burning power plants
5) The drilling of oil in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge
6) A radical re-management of national forests, including increased permission of unrestricted logging and roads.
Finally, a saddened but somewhat hopeful Moyers, claims it may not be too late to bring the beauty of hochma, or "science of the heart" back to our nation, so environmental sensitivity can rejuvenate and we can preserve Mother Nature's canopy of life for our children and our children's children and beyond.
Did Moyers overexaggerate religion playing a role in environmental degradation in this article, or is he accurate here?
I'm feeling Moyers does make some strong points here, worthy of discussion. I myself believe that faith is an important thing to have in life, and a little religion in our lives is a quality thing to possess, but I just also believe it shouldn't mean we have to prepare for the end now, it should just come naturally; come when it comes, and we ought to be devoting our attention in protecting Mother Nature's canopy of life for our children and our children's children, for I feel in my heart if we, and our parents, and our grandparents, and their grandparents and beyond were blessed by the extraordinary beauty of our forests, oceans, skies, and all of God's other creations that are truly our relatives in spirit and complete the tapestry of life, we shouldn't rob future generations from preserving this beauty which we are all fascinated by.
Please note also this is indeed a very sensitive, controversial article so before you comment, please note I didn't start this topic as another cheap shot or indirect attack on Bush, attack on religion, etc. I'm just someone who is ultra-sensitive about the environment and preserving it, being virtually an amplified tree-hugger, and I just found this article interesting and just wanted to hear other opinions and takes on these thoughts, if you take heart in the environment as a major issue, etc.
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"