Religious Right groups have joined forces to launch an attack on the environmentalist movement.
The Christian Post reported in December that several organizations “have collaborated to condemn the radical environmentalism movement in a 12-part video series. The series, called ‘Resisting the Green Dragon,’ features criticisms of the green movement which religious leaders contend is a false religion that puts nature above people.”
The Religious Right gambit is being spearheaded by a group called the Cornwall Alliance; it has drawn support from the American Family Association (AFA), the Family Research Council (FRC) and Focus on the Family (FOF) as well as Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
Tony Perkins, president of the FRC, Tom Minnery of FOF and Land appear in the DVDs. Also featured are Concerned Women for America President Wendy Wright and Summit Ministries founder David Noebel.
“Environmentalists have a long history of believing and promoting exaggerations and myths,” Land says on one DVD.
Texas-based “Christian nation” propagandist David Barton, Bryan Fischer of the AFA and Michael Farris have also endorsed the campaign.
The Religious Right’s old guard is probably worried about polls that show younger evangelicals are adopting a more “green” outlook. During a 2006 conference sponsored by the FRC, U.S. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) took the podium to chastise evangelicals for accepting the scientific evidence for global climate change.
Global warming, Inhofe asserted, is a United Nations plot and a scheme by animal-rights activists to shift people’s focus away from God. He attacked Richard Cizik, at the time a staffer at the National Association of Evangelicals, who had been urging conservative Christians to take the issue more seriously.
At more recent FRC meetings, other speakers have ridiculed the idea that Earth is warming and have mocked former Vice President Al Gore for his activism on the issue.
Evangelicals who are concerned about the environment are alarmed at the Cornwall maneuver.
In a Huffington Post essay, Sheldon C. Good, assistant editor of the Mennonite Weekly Review, wrote, “The Green Dragon video promotes false dichotomies such as religion vs. science, care for creation vs. care for the poor, the way of Jesus vs. environmentalism. None of these actually are enemies. While neither science nor faith can answer every question, it’s a perversion of the Gospel to pit them against each other – an insult to environmentalists motivated by faith to care for God’s Earth.”
Ironically, even as the anti-green push was getting under way, the fundamentalist group Answers in Genesis was being lauded for proposing an environmentally friendly theme park based on Noah’s Ark in Grant County, Ky.
The so-called “Ark Park,” The Washington Post exulted in an essay, would be built in line with “green architecture.”
But Answers in Genesis is hardly an environmentally friendly group. Jonathan Merritt, author of the book Green Like God, observed that the group’s website calls Earth Day “a religious service for the New Age movement” that is “often based on evolutionary thinking.” He notes that AIG produced a 2008 DVD titled, “Global Warming: A Scientific and Biblical Exposé of Climate Change,” which calls the idea that the earth is warming “misinformation” and a “myth.”