I love the Orthodox Church, but sometimes when I read editorials and proclamations that come from the highest levels, I want to scream.
Case in point: This editorial in today’s Wall St. Journal written by the Greek Patriarch. Titled “Our Indivisible Environment,” the piece speaks of the Orthodox Church’s commitment to environmental issues, noting that last week, the Church organized a symposium of scientists, theologians, politicians and environmentalists. And the article goes on to do a fair job of marketing the Church’s interest and involvement:
What does preserving the planet have to do with saving the soul?
A lot, as it turns out. For if life is sacred, so is the entire web that sustains it. Some of those connections — the effects of overharvesting on the fish populations of the North Atlantic, for example — we understand very well. Others, such as the long-term health impacts of industrialization, we understand less well.
That all sounds right, but as I kept reading, I had a growing sense of dread. “Yes, but …” I kept thinking. “Yes, but the environmental movement isn’t just about the environment any more. It takes the excuse of the environment to propound a certain ideology, so that suddenly even the weather is somebody’s fault. Surely we all get that.”
And then, near the end, the roundhouse kick: “The Obama Administration has committed the United States to a 50% reduction in greenhouse gases by the year 2050. And there are growing expectations that meaningful progress can be made in the United Nations Climate Change Conference scheduled to take place in Copenhagen this December.”
I had just been reading about that upcoming conference on Roger Kimball’s blog — HERE. This “meaningful progress” takes the form of a treaty that guarantees that the “rich countries” — mostly the U.S., of course — would pay developing countries “at least $160 billion” (with a ‘b’) for four years. Why? Well, to assuage our guilt for being a rich country, of course. To compensate the underprivileged nations of the world, and to take another swing at that pesky redistribution of wealth notion that just HAS to be the way out of all the world’s problems, if we can just get the hang of it.
And the whole thing will be supervised by something that seems suspiciously like an appointed — not elected — world government, under the special care of the U. N. Because when you think ‘responsible,’ you have to think ‘U. N.,’ right? (Heck, why not? They did such a bang-up job of the Oil-for-Food Programme.)
The whole thing stinks to high heaven. It stinks worse than the fish populations of the North Atlantic that we’re overharvesting. British conservative Lord Monckton had this to say about the upcoming conference in Copenhagen and the agenda for which it stands:
So, thank you, America. You were the beacon of freedom for the world. It is a privilege merely to stand on this soil of freedom while it is still free. But in the next few weeks, unless you stop it, your president will sign your freedom, your democracy, and your prosperity away forever. And neither you nor any subsequent government you may elect will have any power whatsoever to take it back again.
Is that alarmist hyperbole? Mmmmmaybe. Chances are, the left wing environmentalists won’t get everything they want in Copenhagen. I think even the complete wackos have noticed that when America’s economy goes down the toilet, everyone else’s tends to follow, no matter how smelly our carbon footprint is.
So I don’t think I believe that we’re sunk yet. But my question is why I have to worry that my beloved Orthodox Church will keep sending out signals that sound like blessings on all of this?
The patriarch’s editorial aims at a great universality in this, with a tip of the hat to Galatians 3:28: “The molecules of water that comprise the great North Atlantic are neither European nor American. The particles of atmosphere above the United Kingdom are neither Labour nor Tory. … The natural environment unites us in ways that transcend doctrinal differences.”
That’s true. But the hyper-politicized air of the upcoming U. N. conference does NOT transcend differences, nor does it wish to; it exacerbates them. It is as toxic a substance as any that the world’s culture has ever spouted. And by not at least acknowledging the problem with the current environmentalist movement, I humbly suggest that His Holiness is making a terrible mistake, and doing an injustice to the many Orthodox who don’t agree with him.