Sunday, January 09, 2005

Topic of the Week - The Christian Right and the Environment - "Dominion Theology"

Most people do not realize how much affect The Christian Right has on the environmental policy of this country. A large percentage of The Christian Right believes in Dominion Theology. Simply meaning that God gave dominion over the earth to Adam & Eve (dominion meaning supreme authority). Thus, with the belief in the second coming of Jesus Christ and Judgment Day, The Christian Right believes in a finite life to our planet realizing in a disregard for the environment. The Bush Administration has catered to this belief system.

The following subtext of a speech given by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., as taken from the Common Wealth Club's web site, outlines the travesty of the Bush Administration's record on the environment as well as acknowledges the Dominion Theology belief of The Christian Right. Kennedy also outlines why protecting our environment is indeed Christian and Spiritual. I encourage all of you to read the subtext of Kennedy's speech below.


Robert F. Kennedy Jr. - September 9, 2004
CRIMES AGAINST NATURE: HOW THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION IS UNDERMINING AMERICA’S ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONSRobert F. Kennedy Jr., Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council; President, Waterkeeper Alliance; Author, Crimes Against Nature

I have been an environmental advocate for 20 years, and I've been disciplined during that period about being nonpartisan in my approach to this issue. The worst thing that can happen to the environment is if it becomes the province of a single political party. Most of the environmental leaders in our country agree with me. Five years ago, if you asked the leaders of the major environmental groups in America, What's the gravest threat to the global environment?, they would have given you a range of answers: overpopulation, habitat destruction, global warming. Today, they will all tell you one thing: It's George W. Bush. This is the worst environmental president that we have ever had. You simply cannot speak honestly about the environment in any context today without speaking critically about this president. If you go to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) web site, you will see over 400 major environmental rollbacks that have been promoted by this administration over the last three and half years. It is a concerted, deliberate attempt to eviscerate 30 years of environmental law. It is a stealth attack, one that's been hidden from the public.

This administration has taken the "conserve" out of conservatism.

They claim to embrace Christianity while violating the manifold mandates of Christianity: that we are stewards of the land, and that we are meant to care for nature. They have embraced this Christian hearsay of dominion theology, which James Watt was the first to enunciate when he told the Senate, I don't think that there is any point in protecting the public lands because we don't how long the world is going to last before the Lord returns. The woman he mentored for 20 years, Gale Norton, is running the Department of the Interior.

The reason that we protect nature is not for the sake of the fishes and the birds but for our own sake, because nature enriches us. It enriches us economically, yes, the base of our economy, and we ignore that at our peril. But it also enriches us aesthetically and recreationally, culturally and historically, and spiritually. Human beings have other appetites besides money, and if we don't feed them we're not going to become the kind of beings that our Creator intended. When we destroy nature we impoverish ourselves, we diminish ourselves and we impoverish our children. We're not protecting those ancient forests in the Pacific Northwest, as Rush Limbaugh loves to say, for the sake of a spotted owl. We are protecting those forests because we believe that the trees have more value to humanity standing than they would have if we cut them down. I'm not fighting for the Hudson for the sake of the shad or the sturgeon or the striped bass, but because I believe my life will be richer; my children, my community will be richer if we live in a world where there are shad and sturgeon and striped bass in the Hudson.

Franklin Roosevelt said that the domination of our nation by large corporations is the definition of fascism. I have an American Heritage Dictionary. The definition, if you look up fascism, says, "the domination of government by large corporations driven by right-wing ideology and bellicose nationalism"- that's getting to look pretty familiar. The problem with letting large corporations dominate our government is that it erodes democracy, it erodes our capacity to participate in public life, our capacity for dignity, and it allows these entities to squander resources that belong to our children. But the thing that we've squandered worst of all is our natural heritage: the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, the wildlife, the lands - all these things that make us proud to be American.

To view the entire speech by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., go to http://www.commonwealthclub.org/archive/04/04-09kennedy-speech.html

2 Comments:

At 7:44 PM, Blogger commonwealth said...

Until 1543 when Copernicus proposed the opposite, the Church taught the sun revolved around the earth. For individuals to say otherwise was heresy but the facts and scientific research finally won the day.
Today the Hubble telescope is sending us awesome images of the universe. Scientists are now calculating there are 80 BILLION gallaxies each with its own billion suns. Our own Milky Way alone has four billion stars (suns). It would seems to be a rather large project to complete in the 5000 years the Fundamentalist have calculated God took to create his universe. Once again scientific research and facts are bumping up against religious myth but this time the facts are not winning.

Robert Kennedy laments that when he shows the "facts" of the Bush assault on the environment audiences refuse to accept the idea that their chosen president would actively work against their best interests. So even beyond Dominion Christians we seem to have not only a loss of faith in science but also a blind faith in this particular president.
As we have been discussing the true believer is blind to facts that counter his closely-held belief, so I do not think we can win over the Dominion Christians, but those in thrall to this president can have their faith shaken in two ways.

First, we need those like Robert Kennedy laying out the scientific truths.
One excellent source is the website of concerned scientists: realclimate.org. Lets keep up with their " aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary." I am sure there are many more voices and sources out there.

Secondly, we need to widen the cracks that are aready appearing in the benign and shining front George Bush has managed to create around himself and his administration. If those who adore him begin to see at last the raw power grabbing and self-interest which lies at the heart of his administration, if they see through even one crack anywhere, then doubt about his intentions on the environment can at last be exposed.
And maybe beyond that awakening an alarm about the carelessness of Christian Dominionist can be sounded and heard.

 
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