Tuesday, November 17, 2009

High priests of denial

I was taking one the Fit in for its occasional service (I would like to say periodic but that would be an exaggeration; and maybe I could justify the long gaps between oil changes as doing our part to reduce consumption of precious fossil fuels) and had just turned on Moody Bible Radio (WMBI) only to hear the words "Lord Monckton." I almost parted with whatever remained of my Go Lean (but not lightly) breakfast, for I knew that could only mean trouble.

The timing was notable because just the other day I had been listening to a discussion about "Faith and the Environment" from one of my favourite programs, courtesy of BBC Radio Wales and iTunes, "All Things Considered" (not to be confused with the NPR program of that name). The program involved individuals from four faith groups discussing with our mellifluous host Roy Jenkins (who can heal all wounds with a single soft utterance) the importance of climate change on the eve of the big global meeting in Copenhagen. Roy asked each in turn where global warming registered for them on a scale of 1 - 10. While their faiths maybe diverse and perhaps irreconcilably different, their responses were remarkably unified in placing it around 10 or higher. There ensued a thoughtful, intelligent and informed discussion of the future and how people of faith should respond to it. It was particularly encouraging to hear that people primarily motivated by spiritual matters could recognize the importance of dealing with issues of such earthly consequence. I was left with the thought that two things in this show would be unlikely to be heard on a mainstream Christian radio station in America. One was actually having four different faith groups around the table in the first place; you might imagine having a Jew, the ancient connections after all, but Islam no way. Second, the mainstream Christian organizations in this country seem, for reasons yet to be fully understood, to be overwhelmingly aligned with the climate change skeptics, and so hearing church leaders in this country discussing the importance of dealing with global warming in passionate terms would be unlikely, even less likely than the Second Coming unfortunately.

And so this morning on WMBI it was QED; the discourse could not have been more diametrically opposed to All Things Considered. The utterer of the terrifying words "Lord Monckton" was one Dr. E. Calvin Beisner, National Spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance, an organization that describes itself as being "for the Stewardship of Creation." The rest of the spiel followed a depressingly predictable pattern, and the WMBI host was lapping it up like a thirsty hound. In short, according to Cornwall, The IPCC and its scientists are at best incompetent and at worst dishonest (more or less). The "true scientists," the thousands upon thousands we are told that know the real truth that this global warming business is all wrong, are denied a voice at conferences and meetings by the politically motivated IPCC and its cronies. Thus the truth is being suppressed. More than once "Lord" Monckton was referred to in almost messianic terms as being the voice of reason - the voice in the wilderness (but I think that is John the Baptist rather than the Messiah).

In discussing it with Dulcie (also an avid listener to WMBI) we were unable to explain the apparent coalescence of conservative Christianity and climate change denial. What is the motivation here? Can it be an extension of the anti-scientific attitude towards biologists and evolution? Are all mainstream scientists regarded as atheists, tools of Satan, and thus to be distrusted regardless of the issue? Whatever the cause, I find it dishonest that an influential radiostation like WMBI should be passing off propaganda in the guise of reasoned argument.

Americans seem to be particularly susceptible to the dubious charms of fake English gentry (I should know better than most), and the odious Monckton recently made an appearance at the "Free Market Alliance" in Minnesota. I imagine that Garrison Keillor would be having nightmares if he knew how many of his people were lining up to soak up the nutty Viscount's message. The performance is available on YouTube, and he comes across as a more intelligent latter-day Bertie Wooster. Yet, beneath the unctuous, dapper breeding, there is a venom, a nastiness, not to mention fraudulence and fakery. Regarding the banning of DDT, Monckton proclaims, "The left, the environmental left, the intolerant, communistic narrow minded faction that does not care how many children it kills it is campaigning once again for DDT to be banned. Because they do not want children to be born in the Third World. They want as much of humanity as possible, it sometimes seems to me, to be wiped off the face of the planet." Irony indeed that this self-proclaimed champion of the poor is campaigning against policies to limit global warming at a time when the first generation of climate change refugees in Africa are facing an uncertain future as their livelihoods have been wiped out by the very thing that Monckton and his ilk deny. Not exactly sure what Jesus would say about that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, doctrinally, sins cannot be committed by humans against inanimate and non-human aspects of the Earth, thereby exempting humans and their activities from having negative impacts on climate?