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(DV) Velazquez: Religious Overtones of the Global Warming Debate





Religious Overtones of the Global Warming Debate
by Sheila and (primarily) Jason Velazquez
March 20, 2007

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My son Jason and I were involved in an e-mail conversation about global warming. When I brought up the possibility of the cyclical nature of this event, he linked the debate to religion in a way I would never have thought of. He said: 

(First of all, you should review the info found here.)
I realize that a stubborn bunch of right-wing conservatives continue to preach the gospel of "cyclical warming," and they will probably continue to do so long after tornadoes have leveled Denver and the term "Boston Aquarium" is a redundancy. 
They think this because they believe that it's an article of faith, like Jesus or the Apocalypse. And they believe that if enough people, especially Christians with scientific (any branch of science, which one doesn't matter) credentials shout long and loudly that there is NO PROOF, NO PROOF, NO PROOF, NO PROOF of the human causes of global warming, somehow 40 years of data tracking and climate modeling with increasingly sophisticated technologies can be ignored. 
They're the same clods who believe that if enough people sing "Proud to Be an American" at enough football games and NASCAR races, the song becomes our National Anthem. 
They said a decade ago that there WAS NO global warming. Isn't it a gas that now they're saying, "Well... yeah, global warming is occurring, but that's natural and cyclical." 
There are three main reasons that explain this perpetuation of denial: 
1) People, especially Americans, don't like to accept blame. We are eternal children. "Who broke this vase?" Mother Earth asks, picking up the shattered remains of an ecosystem. "We don't know. We didn't do it," her human children answer. "It's not broken! It's just a little chipped!" her kind-of-slow, not-quite-right child shouts from Crawford. 
The U.S. has pumped more carbon into the atmosphere than any other nation. More than any other CONTINENT. We are guilty of an environmental recklessness equivalent to running with scissors, blindfolded, through a day-care center. 
2) People are too stupid and lazy to accept that our lifestyles must change. Well over half of Americans are obese. Think about it. Knowing what we know about heart disease, diabetes and cancer, we "Super-Size" it at the Wendy's drive-through. We still sit on the couch watching football on sunny Sunday afternoons, instead of taking a walk or maybe PLAYING a game of football with the guys. We still buy Hummers, even with warnings of peak oil, and the price of gasoline going up every month. 
If we deny the obvious, in-your-face consequences of our actions, then there is no reason to change our habits, right? 
3) If humans ending up causing environmental shut-down and global disaster, what does that say about the Book of Revelations? GOD is supposed to initiate Armageddon. What if the Four Horsemen come to the party, but the guest of honor (that guy with the scars on the palms of his hands) never shows? No one is Raptured Up to Heaven. The eyes of sinners don't burn in their sockets, and Satan is never cast into the lake of fire. The only wailing and gnashing of teeth is coming from anywhere south of Connecticut as air-conditioners quit and die. 
Christian fundamentalism has a lot in common with capitalism, now that I think about it. Capitalism is an economic model that REQUIRES an endless supply of cheap raw materials and an ever-expanding demand for consumer goods. Christianity REQUIRES an endlessly distant source of eternal salvation to bring to an ever-expanding population of sinners. 
That's why global warming/climate change is such a threat to the conservatives, especially the fundamentalist ones. In one fell swoop, it proves that humans are GUILTY, that we must Change Our Ways, and that damnation WILL NOT WAIT for the afterlife. It's a temporal model of morality that shows, in real-time, here and now, what the wages of sin really are. How can religion compete with that?" 
Sheila Velazquez is in the process of leaving Montana to join her son and his family. She can be reached at: sheila@sheilavelazquez.comJason Velazquez, who lives and writes in Western Massachusetts, can be reached at:

Other Articles by Sheila Velazquez

* Drug Wars
* A Tale of Two Cities
* More BS From the BLS
* Bonds Are Us