Year 2, Month 12, Day 30: May He Touch You With His Noodly Appendage

The Mankato Free Press (Mankato, MN) runs a piece about an evangelical Christian with some scientific background who is attempting to win over her flock:

Hallelujah to spreading the word about climate change.

That’s what climatologist, and evangelical Christian, Katharine Hayhoe is doing.

She doesn’t think being a scientist and Christian cancel each other out. She has chosen to be vocal about her trust in scientific data while retaining her beliefs as a Christian. She is married to an evangelical pastor and is the daughter of missionaries.

And she has a lot of guts for putting herself out there to spread the word about how real global warming is. It can’t be easy to be a scientist in the South where in the past few years conservative Christians have been claiming climate change is a hoax.

Her own words give a clear impression of how levelheaded she is: “People ask me if I believe in global warming. I tell them, ‘No, I don’t,’ because belief is faith; faith is the evidence of things not seen. Science is evidence of things seen. To have an open mind, we have to use the brains that God gave us to look at the science.”

Well. Every little bit helps; if she can get this community to wake the hell up, more power to her. Only if our species survives can we gradually wean the majority of humans away from the delusions of religion. The Mankato Free Press has a 275-word limit, so I let myself expand a bit.

Sent December 26:

When fundamentalist Christians deny measurable reality in their rejection of global climate change, they undercut their own credibility. The commonly accepted picture of evangelicals is that they are almost pathologically vehement in their rejection of science and scientific thinking; while a few do believe planetary warming exists, these folks are readier to attribute it to an impending Armageddon rather than the greenhouse effect, an empirically verifiable phenomenon caused by too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Most “true believers” have no problem accepting the evidence of science when it does not pose immediate conflicts with their biblical ideology. They vaccinate their children against polio, ride in airplanes, use the telephone and the internet, share photographs, drink pasteurized milk and in most respects confirm the validity and efficacy of scientific methods. What makes climate change so different?

Simply: the fact that Republican politics relies on oil companies for money — but on fundamentalist Christians for votes. Preparing for the threat of runaway climate change will require a dramatic change in America’s energy economy which will mean reduced profits for Big Oil. These corporate malefactors have responded by heavily funding a great deal of disinformation in our media — and conservative Christians have swallowed it, hook, line and sinker.

Kudos to Katharine Hayhoe for her readiness to spread the word, and her readiness to express the urgency of the crisis from the perspective of her faith.

Warren Senders

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