Major U.S. religious groups involved in the “climate change” campaign include the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, the Catholic Campaign on Climate Change, the Evangelical Environmental Network and the Evangelical Climate Initiative.
Dr. E. Calvin Beisner, national spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, identifies evangelical leftist Ron Sider as a key figure behind the Evangelical Environmental Network and the Evangelical Climate Initiative. “He’s been pressing for wealth redistribution for over thirty years, and the global treaty being touted to fight global warming is nothing if it isn’t an exercise in wealth redistribution,” says Beisner.
Sider, who is also founder and president of Evangelicals for Social Action, is the author of Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger.
Richard Cizik, who served for ten years as vice president for governmental affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals, was instrumental in creating the Evangelical Climate Initiative. He now serves as a fellow of the George Soros-funded Open Society Institute, where his current job is to “organize and host gatherings of evangelical faith leaders, policy-makers and academics” on climate change.
Beisner says it’s a shame that evangelicals are being asked to jump on the global warming bandwagon right when the wheels are falling off because of the ClimateGate scandal.
Wanliss identifies the National Council of Churches (NCC) as playing a major role. He says massive infusions of “green” — money, that is — for the NCC come from left-leaning philanthropies including Pew Charitable Trusts, Tides Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Turner Foundation, W. Alton Jones Foundation, V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation, and New World Foundation.
As a result, “There has been, in past decades, a cosmic shift towards a social climate that begins to favor the environment — polar bears, trees, and bugs — over human beings.”
Another major player, the National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE), “has an awesome army of organizational links and is itself something of a matryoshka, the Russian nested doll, which is never what it appears at first sight. For it is also not grassroots but launched with funding from left-leaning foundations, primarily the Pew Charitable Trust,” he says.
NRPE describes itself as “an association of independent faith groups” that includes the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Council of Churches, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, and the Evangelical Environmental Network.
“When it began in 1993,” Wanliss says, “NRPE had over $5 million in grants to accomplish the goal, according to executive director Paul Gorman, of utilizing churches to produce a ‘distinctly religious response to the crisis of environmental sustainability and social justice.’ The Partnership has been able to spread environmentalist propaganda and teaching aids to almost every Jewish, and to several hundred thousand Protestant congregations in America.”
Through another entity, the Au Sable Institute, Wanliss says that these forces “have infiltrated Christian higher education by careful placement of teachers and teaching materials on environmental activism in schools associated with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). Many of these schools are conservative in politics or theology. What they teach there under the Au Sable banner, will surprise their supporters. Not surprisingly, the Au Sable Institute and the NRPE share a subset of the same donor pool. Little by little wolves try to douse Christian resistance and lead sheep by troubled waters to accept the inevitability of a divine environmental movement.”
The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change was launched in 2006 as a vehicle of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. This group says that “Because we are not experts on climate change and its consequences, we rely on a scientific consensus (best represented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) to guide our activities.” Of course, it is the IPCC that is embroiled in the ClimateGate scandal.
In addition to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change enjoys the active support of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, Carmelite NGO, Catholic Charities USA; the Catholic Health Association of the United States, Catholic Relief Services, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, the Franciscan Action Network, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, and the National Council of Catholic Women.
A related organization is the Catholic Climate Covenant, which claims that the poor are suffering because of the “carbon footprints” of people in the United States and other “rich” nations.
Wanliss says such notions are essential to the “alternative religion” of environmentalism.
He explains that, “people with money to burn can buy indulgences just like in the medieval Roman Catholic Church. In that religion priests sold indulgences to souls burdened with guilt over their sins. Even today, when Roman indulgences are not generally for sale — at least
not for money — forgiveness is only assured to those who complete the required tasks that earn the indulgence. The green movement has absorbed these faux religious elements, and for each one has its own ersatz affectation. Whatever it may mean, raping the earth is not ecologically sound or morally attractive. But if you must rape Mother Earth, then be sure to visit the Green Dragon and pay a sum of money to cleanse your guilt, until next time. Forgiveness for sins is only a carbon offset away.”
“It is possible to calculate the extent of one’s sins online,” Wanliss points out. “According to TerraPass, over the past three years my weekly driving has resulted in about 5,224 pounds of CO2 a year, and for a mere $29.95 I can buy an indulgence that will offset the environmental impact of my reckless, indeed sacrilegious, lifestyle. These ‘carbon offsets’ will do as little for the salvation of the world as papal indulgences would for my soul. But for people with a desperate spiritual hunger it is a panacea and penance they are eager to embrace, and an incredible gift to give — it promises guilt free living and a purpose driven life. If only it were true. Go ahead, say the Gore-like business barons, pay the toll at our gate, and this year ‘Give the gift of green.’”
Meanwhile, America Magazine, the national Catholic weekly published by the Jesuits, is complaining that Congress did not pass legislation on greenhouse gas emissions before the current United Nations Copenhagen meeting. “The United States will thus remain the only developed nation with no established target for carbon reduction,” it says.
The magazine praises the National Religious Partnership for the Environment and the Catholic Campaign on Climate Change for being “vigorous advocates for integrating the world’s poor in a climate covenant with funding for both adapting infrastructure to meet the hardships of changing climate and for transferring green technology.”
It goes on, “If the planet is to survive, as Pope Benedict XVI concluded in Caritas in Veritate, all nations must accept binding reductions in carbon emissions and construct an equitable structure for energy consumption and for sharing the development of green technology among rich and poor nations — for the sake of this generation and generations to come.”
At the same time, he warned that “it is contrary to authentic development to view nature as something more important than the human person” and that this position “leads to attitudes of neo-paganism or a new pantheism.”
Indeed, the U.N. Environmental Program, which is now promoting a “Global Green New Deal,” has celebrated the idea of an “Environmental Sabbath,” in which children hold hands around a tree and meditate.
Wanliss notes that George Orwell’s book Animal Farm tells of the visionary pig Old Major who had a dream that soon proved disastrous: “And now, comrades, I will tell you about my dream of last night. I cannot describe that dream to you. It was a dream of the earth as it will be when Man is forgotten.”
Wanliss cautions that attempts by Church leaders and Christian organizations to synthesize a Christian environmentalism can succeed “only by exorcising truth, and ultimately, by expelling Christianity…”
But he adds, “Will it not be ironic if the Green Dragon they so adore ends up destroying them?”