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Thursday, July 19, 2007

God to Humanity “WTF!”

“What the fuck?”

“I go away for one long millennium with all these Nuns I’m supposedly married to and look what you did with the fucking planet”

“I’ve had enough of you and your irresponsible partying, fighting, breeding and your gluttony. And another thing, I asked you to look after the garden not cut the damned thing down.”

“You made this mess and you’re going to clean it up without any help from me! No more miracles for you, ya lazy bastards!”

“Now, me and the boy are going up to the cottage for a couple of decades to do some fishing and if this planet is not in order when I get back you’d better start looking for your own place.”

A few months ago I spend several excruciating Sunday mornings sitting through baptism class for my son. Why I was required to attend when I wasn’t the one being dipped I don’t know? However for the sake of my wife and familial peace I sat through it with minimal comment (though I did voice my belief we should just educate kids and let them pick which if any religion they want once they became adults).

I did hear something interesting during one conversation when the Anglican (priest, pope, llama, or what ever they liked to be called) was taking about social responsibility and equated polluting to being a sin. “What”? I thought to myself. “This fellow is crossing the line between religion and reality and is discussing the environment, do bloggers know this?”, “Is this allowed?”

Several weeks later I again attended, (he said gritting his teeth) for the actual Baptism. At some point during the show, the Priestess made a comment about the churches new environmental group and that a meeting would be held at her home at some date or another. Once again, I think to myself, "What!" Then I thought, "If these people have already seen the need to act and have equated environmentalism with being good believers why would we not cultivate that belief and get their support”

The reality is, religion is already being catered to by setting a social issue platform that suits various groups of conservative voters, I’m not proposing more of the same but if organized religion is beginning to see the light and are steering their flocks towards environmental consciousness, what is wrong in reaching out and taping that zeal.

We expect the religious to act secular when it comes to election time but for many of them it’s not that simple, case in point the various conservative/radical/nutters who vote for Harper only because of a few specific social issues rather than the entire agenda. Not all religious people however are comfortable with or fall into that category so why not reach out to them rather than marginalize them and make them feel only the Cons respect their religiosity. I acknowledge the difficulty and danger of miss-targeting the message but the potential to gain support could be considerable.

Religious groups have often been stalwarts of social change like their support of the labour movements, anti slavery movements, civil rights and peace movements. Even if we cannot get our heads around targeting their support directly I at least welcome their interest and hope they will bring the same zeal and power to the environment as they have brought to other issues they have fought for!

Now get to work cleaning up before God comes back and evicts us!

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Dylan said...

Wealth - Good post all around. As an Anabaptist (of the Mennonite faith) I strongly oppose the "dipping" of children without them making the decision themselves. Churches should teach children the basics of the Christian faith and church doctrine and then leave the baptizing up to the decision of the believer.

But I have to protest, to a slight degree, the "cultivation" of eco-Christians into the Green party or Green politics in general.

The tactic of courting religion as leverage to sway the votes of believers to one side of the political spectrum or another is pretty slimy. And this is coming from a member of the Christian left.

The Anglican church has a history of overtly politicizing church doctrine and the bible to push votes to one party or another. This is unacceptable for the church and it distorts the meaning of what it means to be a body of believers and what the purpose of worship every Sunday is.

Example, Elizabeth May a while back strolled into an Anglican church and gave an "environmental" sermon. Strike one. First of all, she should have given a Biblical sermon on the topic of the environment. Her first priority was the green agenda and then using the Bible to support it. This process is the exact opposite of what should have been done and if she did go to the Bible first and her belief in green politics second, she would have given a different sermon.

The right-end of the political spectrum plays with the emotions and the beliefs of Christians to coerce them into voting along social conservative lines. This leaves them suspect to the rest of the public because they are not voting because their beliefs line up with the party, but because the party has justified their positions with their beliefs.

See the difference?

In short, the Church will come to you if you make sense to them. And that is the way it should be.

Green Assassin Brigade said...

Elizabeth, since she's part way through the training for oridination must have been trying to ride a thin line between political and religious life, I would have to GUESS that if she was approached as a lay preacher she would produce a different sermon then if she was asked as the head of the GPC . On the other hand it might have been a conscious choice I don't know.

I saw Elizabeth talk at the Sharon Temple this year, the temple (now a museum) was built by the Children of Peace,a very small Quaker splinter, you'll be happy to know it was purely secular in content.

Perhaps pandering or "cultivation" is too strong a word but I would suggest that ignoring the religious is also a mistake.

Should we go preach to them?Probably not unless you know someone's doctrine just right and you can hit the point just right. Even then some quote will be used to annoy a different faith or secular humanists. On the other side, reprentatives should not be afraid to go meet with, educate or mutually support church led initiatives that move towards our enviromental goals regardless or our political goals. Greens profess it's the goal of saving the planet that matters, that said we should reach out to our allies wheather they reciprocate or not.

We don't need to bend our doctrine or message to their beliefs so much as just show them we respect them by approaching them on their own turf and seeing what happens.

You are correct that if our message is right they will come to us, but especially for a group that gets minimal coverage like the Greens a little proactiveness to make sure they do know what our message is and how it relates to them can't hurt either.

Anonymous said...

That has all the bogus trappings of a fad. Eco-Christians? That is so lame. Religion is not about political or "intellectual" fads. While a respect for the environment stems naturally from virtually every major religion, environmentalism is not a religious topic. I wish you had a greater feel for the difference of these things, instead of blabbering on like some wanker.Second, religious organizations are not allowed to promote candidates or they loose their tax-free status. Third you speak of labour movements and all this crap about religions being stalwarts of that? I think you totally have your head up your ass. What about the Solidarity movement in the Cold War? The Catholic Church was the core of the thing, and people who weren't even Catholic were part of the movement. And additionally, who is to say labour movements are necessarily a godo thing. That is such a naive, black and white picture of things, I pity your child for having such a parent. It is a known fact that labour movements take part in their fare share of abuses. Take for example the salaries earned by mechanics working for corporations, versus engineers. Guess who makes the higher (much higher) salary? The corporations know they can do what they please with the engineers, but mechanics, ohhh, they're grouchy and they have a union! Second, a child needs to be grounded in a religion from the start (if you have the intention of introducing them to religion in the first place). Otherwise, it boils down to convinience (take Wynona Ryder for example, bastard child of the 60s ideology of "whatever, man"). Nothing is stopping them from conversion in the future (it's not a rare even, you know, for better or for worse). Now go finish your joint, you postmodernist lackey!