“Evangelical Environmentalists” is the headline for a recent piece at TheEcologist.org. The subhed reads:
Ben Whitford reports on an unlikely yet growing movement in the U.S. which embraces the Christian God but also preaches protection of, rather than dominion over, the natural world.
I’ve been reading articles like this one for more than 20 years. I’ve written a bunch myself.
But the problem is that this latest version is exactly the same as the articles from 20 years ago.
A handful of white evangelicals express a slightly less emphatic opposition to environmentalism and this is held up as a sign of hope.
But as Shaw said, hope makes a good breakfast, but a lousy dinner. Whatever hope I found from such glimmers of hints of potential less-badness 20 years ago has long since grown stale.
Fifteen years ago I believed that white evangelicals’ antipathy to environmentalism was due to a lack of familiarity with the facts and the evidence, or to an innocent failure to grasp the essential idea of stewardship in Christian theology.
Ten years ago I thought maybe it was due to our failure to present those facts and that theology in a winsome, persuasive manner.
Now I just think, feh. This stubborn intransigence isn’t an innocent ignorance, and it’s not the fault of environmental advocates for failing to tailor their communications for this audience. (Bill McKibben is a Sunday school teacher, after all.)
If they won’t listen, and they won’t help, and they won’t get out of the way, then let’s move on. “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.”
There’s too much work to be done to keep waiting around for a group of people who ignore their own scripture and who are perpetually just a few years away from maybe, kind of, almost being able to begin considering possibly thinking about someday giving a damn.