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
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
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:
Jason Velazquez, who lives and writes
in Western Massachusetts, can be reached at:
Other Articles by Sheila Velazquez
* A Tale
of Two Cities
* More BS
From the BLS