The Psalmist declares, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.”
However, a group of evangelicals known as the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation seems to take issue with that notion. According to Alliance spokesman, E. Calvin Beisner, “God put humans in charge of nature.”
The Cornwall Alliance is cosponsor of a recently released DVD series titled “Cult of the Green Dragon.”
The message in the DVD series is basically that efforts to save the environment and to curb global warming and pollution are the direct result of “a cult” that worships the creation rather than God.
“Around the world,” argues Christian radio talk show personality Janet Parshall, “environmentalism has become a radical movement.”
In a promotional video for the DVD series, Parshall expands her criticism. “It’s something we call the ‘Green Dragon.’ And it is deadly to human prosperity, deadly to human life, deadly to human freedom. And deadly to the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
I must pause here and ask every serious reader of the New Testament if they really believe that human prosperity was one of Jesus’ chief concerns. If I recall, one of the most prosperous individuals Jesus ever encountered was encouraged to take his wealth and give it to the poor, and then become a disciple.
But, I digress.
The Cornwall Alliance, walking in lockstep with conservative political ideology, questions the danger of global warming.
Alliance members, not surprisingly, oppose legislation that would tax carbon use, fearing that such measures will drive up the price of energy, hurting the poor most of all.
Don’t you love it when conservatives suddenly begin to care about the poor, especially when it dovetails with efforts to protect corporate polluters?
G. Dodd Galbreath, executive director of Lipscomb University’s Institute for Sustainable Practice, has some issues with the logic of the producers of “The Green Dragon.”
His view is that the world’s poor stand to get hurt most by pollution because they’re more likely to work and live around it.
“God expects us to have faith in Him to deliver what we think we are losing when we do the right thing,” said Galbreath in an interview with HTRnews.com. “I don’t see fear as having anything to do with faith.”
Galbreath went on to downplay the notion that environmentalism is a radical movement.
“We’ve seen this phenomenon when Jesus was introduced,” he told HTRnews.com. “He was called radical. Christianity is supposed to grow. It’s not a static faith.”
The effort of some in the Christian community to demonize the environmental movement is unconscionable.
The image of the “Green Dragon” is an intentional effort to link the environmental movement to images of Satan in the Bible. Alliance director Beisner points to images of the serpent in the Garden of Eden and the dragon of the Book of Revelation as inspiration for the imagery.
While there is certainly room for honest disagreement and debate on the impact of human activity on the environment, there is no room for casting that debate in terms of a contest between the forces of good and evil.
Common sense alone would suggest that the level of industry, coal burning and fossil fuel emissions, along with the introduction of vast urban areas covered with concrete and asphalt, cannot help but impact the environment in some ways.
Calling those concerns demonic, however, contributes nothing positive to the conversation.
James L. Evans is pastor of Auburn First Baptist Church in Auburn, Ala.