Reaction to the Title of This Piece: “Geez, every fucking week it’s moral this, moral that…is there any issue that can’t be stretched into a sermon?” Well, not many, but this is a little different. Second reaction: “Isn’t it always a little different?” True, but what if I told you that something The Bible mentions repeatedly (a major, major theme) is almost never brought up in today’s Christianity, and that thing is taking care of the planet? And if you still have some sass about it, well just who in the hell’s blog is this anyway?
My imaginary detractors aside, I do think Earth Day is an especially great time to talk about the morality of environmentalism, and why we need to have a reinvigorated push amongst our religious movements. In The Bible, it is literally mentioned dozens of times that we should “take care of God’s creation” and other references towards taking care of the planet, or, as Republicans call it, hippy shit. See, it turns out that what most Christians dismiss as tree-huggers are actually much closer to the reality of what Jesus wanted than a big family in a Hummer barreling down the interstate while throwing their garbage out the window.
As good Christians should know (but seemingly don’t), it’s not in “God’s plan” to have human beings wreck the planet with global warming, sky-high pollution, poisoned oceans, and heaps of un-recyclable garbage everywhere. As much as the Apocalypse-minded might like to look forward to The Rapture (and also assuming that they aren’t crazy…an assumption I’m not entirely willing to make), that isn’t supposed to be a man-made event because we refuse to drive electric cars or invest in solar power.
So why the disconnect? Why does modern evangelicalism seem consumed with abortion (something not directly mentioned in The Bible unless you play fast and loose with abstracts) and gay marriage (something entirely not mentioned in The Bible unless you play fast and loose with hypothetical abstracts) but turns a shoulder shrug to the much larger issue of, you know, “saving the planet?”
Part of it may be that they severely under-estimate the danger the planet is facing. The same knuckle-draggers who think “The world will end when God says it will end,” aren’t likely to be able to read a chart of basic science seeing the dramatic uptick in air pollution, poisoned groundwater, and carbon monoxide over the years. [Glenn Beck once famously mixed up carbon monoxide with carbon dioxide, thus thinking the poison coming out of a car’s exhaust pipes is the equivalent of humans exhaling.] Studies show that they don’t believe climate crisis is man made, and don’t really “get it” when it comes to scientific concepts like that anyway…not entirely surprising for people that are vehemently ignorant about everything from how old the world is to the way man developed.
Another big part of it may be that they just don’t care. They may get on a mental level that overpopulation and rising ocean tides will eventually kill us all, but that just seems so much more abstract than the immediate, visceral disgust they feel when a man kisses another man on Glee.
Either way, they need to–as every older person in the South says–“get on the stick.” The world is ending, but not because it’s part of anyone’s (or any deity’s) plan. It’s ending because of a spectacular lack of planning, and inability to see a decade in front of our face. We can–as the cliche goes–“save the planet,” but only if the largest religion in the world is willing to see that it needs saving.