Sunday February 11th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing post will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials)😊. Here is today’s climate change related topic: (If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.)
Pardon me, but I’ve let the subject for today’s post fester too long considering how much damage to the environment just one man is causing. More than Trump, Scott Pruitt is numero uno on climate scientists and environmentalists most hated list. In the last year I’ve seen many an article railing against Pruitt and his polices at the EPA. This Newsweek piece in particular caught my eye enough to write this post:
I could rehash this fine article, but if I did so the best course of action for you, the reader, would be to skip over my two cents posted here and just read the thing. Rather than do that, let me impart some of my own life experience, adding onto what was written in Newsweek. Scott Pruitt’s rise to power is an end result of what has been happening in the last fourty or so years in the United States, and maybe a lot longer. Why is the U.S. the only country to not ratify the Paris Accords? The answer can be partially traced to the religious DNA of the U.S. Enough people, politically, in the United States have been engrained with the view that this world should take a back seat to the next, which can be detrimental to the environment.
Surprise! Scott Pruitt and I have one thing in common. We came from Southern Baptist backgrounds. My father was a Southern Baptist minister, so I know, fundamentally (pun intended), what is at the root cause of Pruitt’s beliefs and many who applaud him. The rise of Pruitt stems from an underlying anti-science movement based on religious beliefs that are now engrained in the psyche of many Americans. Here I will quote that lengthy Newsweek article:
Pruitt’s religious views earned him the nickname “Pastor Pruitt” in a 2003 Tulsa World newspaper editorial occasioned by a seemingly innocuous bill that would offer teachers insulation from lawsuits. Tucked into the bill was a disclaimer for science textbooks that called Darwinian evolution a “theory,” effectively putting it on par with the creationist belief held by some evangelicals and Baptists that God created the universe and all its inhabitants in six days.
Pruitt’s faith may also explain his approach regarding the effects of human industry on the environment. Randall Balmer, a professor of religion at Dartmouth College who was raised in the evangelical tradition, which is similar to the Baptism practiced by Pruitt, says Pruitt reminds him of James Watt, who headed the Department of the Interior during the Reagan administration. Watt once answered a question about the custodianship of the nation’s natural resources by telling a congressional committee, “I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns.”
Southern Baptists are attracted to premillennialism, the notion that “Jesus is going to return at any moment,” Balmer says. “If you believe Jesus is coming back at any moment, why bother with social reform, why bother with environmental protection?”
Since we were brought up in the same Protestant religion, how did I become a pro-environmental liberal and Pruitt become a staunch anti-environmental conservative? I can’t say exactly when Pruitt crossed over to the “dark side” because I’m not living his life or seeing through his eyes, but I know where he is coming from. My father, who was a “moderate” Southern Baptist very much like Jimmy Carter, would be appalled at what is going on in association with the EPA and government in general were he living in this time. During the 1980s my father’s brand of faith became a minority within the Southern Baptist denomination, unfortunately. Do you remember that Jesus chased the money changers out of the temple? I think that Jesus would be chastising many so called false, greedy believers in churches were he alive today. Some people have really twisted the command that Christians look to heaven more than the things of this Earth becoming in the process morally bankrupt.
Photo Illustration by C.J. Burton for Newsweek; Photo of Pruitt: Mitchell Resnick/Official White House Photo
Let’s look at fundamentalism first, which I’ll define as taking the King James version of the Bible literally. If we believe the book of Genesis word for word then the first scientific cornerstone discounted is evolution. I beg to differ thinking that the ancients didn’t have the knowledge to discover that evolution is how life develops, becoming more complex. I believe in a God who works slower and in more mysterious ways than anyone born before the time of King James could imagine. Science is God’s revelation to mankind of how his creation works. Let me repeat that: Science is God’s revelation to mankind of how his creation works. To me science and faith aren’t mutually exclusive…If only society would have had my belief so much pain could have been avoided throughout history, but I digress.😉
Second, to me the United States through some Christian precepts became a masculine, conquering culture when it came to the environment. The scripture tells us to be fruitful and multiply, using all resources at our disposal. As history progressed from the Middle Ages to the 19th century in the U.S. the belief of subjugation of nature, discounting pagan maternal beliefs of celebrating and living with nature, dominated reasons behind mining, farming, and massive urbanization. People were given a religious excuse not to give a hoot about pollution. People looked to and longed for heaven to spend eternity. Earth was considered to be a toilet bowl that humanity was born into, but would only be experienced for a few decades. Why improve or protect it?
Ancient pagans, such as the Druids and some American Indian tribes, tried to become more “one” with nature looking to different deities respecting nature. Certainly I think that all pagan religions are far inferior to true Christianity, and some did not respect nature, but old Christianity became twisted by false priests and prophets from the pulpit. Ever since the Spaniards, French and English discovered the New World the more masculine trait of conquering and pilfering nature was looked on favorably by most churches. Just ask those conquered Indians if you could from their graves. Heck, just ask Africans subjected to slavery, which was given the green light by Southern Baptists, but I digress again. Heaven forbid that Gaia, from Greek mythology as described from Wikipedia as: “the ancestral mother of all life: the primal Mother Earth goddess,” creep into Protestant sermons prior to the 21st century. Probably the only thing left over from the Druids to get incorporated into Christianity was the Christmas tree, celebrating new life.
Third and last let’s go to the very end of the Bible to Revelation and the New Testament where it is prophesized that Jesus will return and that his followers would be raptured. As the article states, if one believes that Christ will return soon putting an end to Earth, then why take care of it? I totally disagree with this religious view thinking that God would want us to take care of his creation so that our children can live in the best environment possible during their existence here before whatever awaits in the afterlife. We are to be custodians. Perhaps part of God’s master plan is green energy and technology. I have to laugh at the revivals I went to as a boy in which one small town preacher proclaimed that Leonard Brezhnev was the antichrist, and that Christ would return before 1980. One reason why our Israeli embassy was moved recently to Jerusalem was to help spur on Christ’s return since it was prophesized in Revelation that this event would not happen until the Jewish temple is rebuilt there. You can find many articles on the Net about the end times. Here is one example: http://prophecysigns.com/prophecy-sign-6/ End time prophesies undercut a lot of environmental efforts by giving polluters more excuses to do their dirty work. Spiritually acknowledging and believing in a time when this Earth shall end is no excuse not to live as if this Earth doesn’t matter.
In conclusion, I’ve probably just skimmed the surface of this rancid, rotting onion with layers of reasons why a cast of characters like Scott Pruitt have come to power. I’m optimistic, though, looking at the leadership and folk in my own evangelical church that a more passive, peaceful, coexistent outlook on the environment will come to pass as we roll along trough the 21st century. People of faith will come in harmony with creation, as I believe God intended.
Now back to pegging points into the “record scoreboard.” A big pattern change is underway across North America breaking down the dipole. Mild to warm conditions will dominate most of the East the next one to two weeks with the West finally getting a true taste of winter. Here is the EURO solution at 144 hours out:
By next Monday any record warmth will be coming from the East and not from California for a change. I’ll ad more information as it crosses my radar later this evening. And yes from Twitter😀:
The Climate Guy