I first heard of REP while Reading Rod Dreher’s book “Crunchy Cons.” The more I grapple with living out my faith the more disenchanted I become with the Republican party on many issues I believe in. The environment is clearly one of those issues. My faith compels me to pursuing a life of stewardship. And only an attitude of stewardship encompasses my both my faith and my authentic conservatism.
Environmental politics is getting polarized in ways I never thought possible. There are many who are saying now that global warming is not caused by man or an increase in green house gases. In fact, I am hearing this from many on the religious right. I wonder if these folks are overly focused on the end of the world as written about in Revelation. This attitude, if true, would seem very fatalistic: “This is God’s will and we have nothing to do with it,” they might say. I do understand taking a less anthropocentric view of the situation. In fact, it would be folly to not analyze this from a standpoint of faith. However, even Noah was told to build a boat–to prepare for coming disaster. I don’t believe we have the right or the Christian duty to do nothing. Christians are to be good stewards of the resources God has given us. We should live as if every day could be our last on this earth. But to avoid preventative action because we are anticipating (nay, even excitedly looking forward to) the end of the world seems decidedly UN-Christian.
I heard it said that pursuing environmental policy that encompasses a reduction in oil used would be harmful to the poor around the world. That is, the poor would be hurt by rising energy costs; and the poor would be hurt by lost income in oil producing countries. This is big-business apologetics for perpetuating current oil-driven policies. And it is hypocrisy. If global warming is the result of God’s will and not man’s action (thus requiring no action on our part) then God’s will must also be at work in the lives of the poor. Certainly nothing MAN could do could derail the events God wants to unfold. If God wants them poor then they’ll be poor. And if God wants to see them have economic prosperity then they shall have it.
I dont’ buy this. The pendulum of human activity swings long and wide. Our behavior will always affect some positively and some negatively. And there will always be people living in poverty. Our charter as Christians to help those in need. We should be helping those in need today and those in need tomorrow. If the demographics of those two groups changes, so be it. But we have the highest calling to be stewards of what we’ve been given. Current environmental policies are written with entitlement and pursued in arrogance. To whom much is given, much is expected.
The USA should be a global leader in stewardship politics. We have global leadership opportunties never before seen, but we must pursue them as humble recipients of the resources which make leadership possible.