Monday, July 11, 2005
Is there a Tomorrow?
One thing that has always puzzled me, even when I was a fundy myself, was how my fellow Christians could ignore the Biblical injunction to be stewards of the Earth. Bill Moyers, who has recently become controversial because of attacks on him by the Right, has one answer, in a article published in The Star Tribune 30 Jan 2005. It was adapted from an article on Alternet. Thanks to Joan for sending it to me. Here are some excerpts:
There is no Tomorrow
One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe,to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington.
Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a worldview despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. ...
Remember James Watt, President Ronald Reagan's first secretary of the interior? ...James Watt told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In public testimony he said, "after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back."... James Watt was serious.
[huge chunk removed]
So what does this mean for public policy and the environment? Go to Grist to read a remarkable work of reporting by the journalist Glenn Scherer -The Road to Environmental Apocalypse. Read it and you will see how millions of Christian fundamentalists may believe that environmental destruction is not only to be disregarded but actually welcomed - even hastened - as a sign of the coming apocalypse.... (http://www.grist.org/)
Forty-five senators and 186 members of the 108th Congress earned 80 to 100 percent approval ratings from the three most influential Christian right advocacy groups. They include Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Assistant Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Conference Chair Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Policy Chair Jon Kyl of Arizona, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Whip Roy Blunt. ... Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia....
And why not? There's a constituency for it. A 2002 Time-CNN poll found that 59 percent of Americans believe that the prophecies found in the book of Revelations are going to come true. Nearly one-quarter think the Bible predicted the 9/11 attacks. Drive across the country with your radio tuned to the more than 1,600 Christian radio stations, or in the motel turn on some of the 250 Christian TV stations, and you can hear some of this end-time gospel. And you will come to understand why people under the spell of such potent prophecies cannot be expected, as Grist puts it, "to worry about the environment. Why care about the earth, when the droughts, floods, famine and pestilence brought by ecological collapse are signs of the apocalypse foretold in the Bible? Why care about global climate change when you and yours will be rescued in the rapture? And why care about converting from oil to solar when the same God who performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes can whip up a few billion barrels of light crude with a word?"
...No wonder Karl Rove goes around the White House whistling that militant hymn, "Onward Christian Soldiers." He turned out millions of the foot soldiers on Nov. 2, including many who have made the apocalypse a powerful driving force in modern American politics.
[enormous snip]...I read all this and look up at the pictures on my desk, next to the computer - pictures of my grandchildren. I see the future looking back at me from those photographs and I say, "Father, forgive us, for we know not what we do." And then I am stopped short by the thought: "That's not right. We do know what we are doing. We are stealing their future. Betraying their trust. Despoiling their world."
....The news can be the truth that sets us free - not only to feel but to fight for the future we want. And the will to fight is the antidote to despair, the cure for cynicism, and the answer to those faces looking back at me from those photographs on my desk. What we need is what the ancient Israelites called hochma - the science of the heart...the capacity to see, to feel and then to act as if the future depended on you.
Believe me, it does.
Bill Moyers was host until recently of the weekly public affairs series "NOW with Bill Moyers" on PBS. This article is adapted from AlterNet, where it first appeared. The text is taken from Moyers' remarks upon receiving the Global Environmental Citizen Award from the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School. [This article has been drastically cut. Please see the original for supporting factual material. I have also added emphasis not in the original. -v]
Destiny is not a matter of chance; but a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for. It is a thing to be achieved. - William Jennings Bryant, 1860-1925