Where is the wall of separation when you need it?
ABC News posted a video on Twitter of Nancy Pelosi speaking about the Green New Deal.
Pushing past all the buzzwords and hackneyed claims, the video ends with an impassioned plea by the good Speaker.
If you skip to the 53 second mark, Pelosi begins her remarks as they relate to our “moral obligation.”
Here is the tweet and the video:
I wrote previously regarding some of the provisions in the Green New Deal, you can check out that article here.
Pelosi’s insistence that there is a moral obligation to impose sweeping legislation is irritating to say the least. I’ll get to the practical and constitutional concerns further down, but I’ll first address this impending climate-alarmism theocracy.
I say that tongue-in-cheek. Erick wrote an article a month ago that discussed The Religious Hysteria of the Global Warming Crowd. It’s no secret that there is an element of the left that views climate change as its holy cause. They think protecting the planet is the only true religion.
But no one takes that dogma seriously. We don’t actually think there is an impending climate-alarmism theocracy. Nancy’s commentary though is intriguing. It is not a climate-alarmism theocracy in the sense that the dogma of the church of climate change is the primary motivation, but that there is an arguable objective truth found in scripture regarding creation care.
Nancy’s appeal is not based on climate change dogma, but she defers to faith. It is this type of theocratic musing that normally scares liberals and results in them erecting walls of separation between church and state.
She is not wrong in her premise, only the application. Scripture does speak to man’s need to be a good steward of creation. There is no doubt that God’s instruction to tend the garden was marred after the fall, creating difficulty in how man cares for creation. Following the flood, God gave everything over to man. It became man’s responsibility to rule over and steward God’s creation. We see this continued as Israel was set apart for God’s purposes. It included the idea of giving the land rest and God’s ultimate ownership of everything. The New Testament contains fewer instructions regarding this, but the concept of being a good steward of what God has given remains.
So if I agree with the generic premise that it is incumbent upon believers to be good stewards of the environment, where do we differ?
The only instructions regarding national policy are relegated to the old covenant. We all know that Nancy would not like to go down this road. If we accept a policy mandate for the theocratic nation of Israel, there are other policies that could be implemented. But we aren’t going there.
The solution is an individual willingness to honor God in our interaction with society and the environment. Not because we have to, but because we have been transformed to reflect the God that saved us.
Environmentalists have actually found that a Christian, who views his stewardship of creation in relation to his witness for Christ, is more likely to pursue good stewardship practices in the absence of government coercion.
I wrote about this last year.
The documentary, When Heaven Meets Earth, has been used by environmentalists as a case study on the effectiveness of local environmental policies, especially ones that incorporate faith-based solutions. One of my favorite solutions mentioned in this documentary is the protection of riparian vegetation. Riparian vegetation protects lakes and streams from pollution. It’s the perfect example to analyze the implementation of local policy.
But why is this relevant? As a local solution, it need not force everyone to comply. Not every farmer can afford to protect wetlands or restore riparian vegetation as it might cut into arable land. However, anyone who does choose to implement these measures can do so freely. This freedom is possible because local solutions don’t tend to be heavy handed yet they offer considerable real-world impact, impact that is quantifiable in the local environment. One farmer who chooses to restore riparian vegetation reduces the amount of pesticides and other pollutants that make in to creeks, streams, rivers, lakes, or oceans. It’s that sort of domino effect that reduces the need for mandatory policies. Any participation offers substantial improvement.
It’s this noticeable effect along with a moral justification for good stewardship that proves that environmentalism has to be local. We have no control over what governments or people do in other countries. But we do have influence with our friends and our neighbors. LA and environmentalists might see local solutions as a last ditch effort out of frustration that no one wants to impose large scale policies, but it simply shows that localities are the best suited to determine what policies are feasible, financially prudent, and actually offer the community quantifiable results. Localities can even offer incentives to individuals or businesses to partake in environmentally friendly policies as mandatory participation can turn people off to the goal. That’s the beauty of federalism, it allows one city or one state to implement policies that can be observed and possibly emulated if successful.
In short, voluntary is best, locally mandatory is suitable as it allows for observable results, but it’s not ideal, anything else is an affront to federalism and it removes the moral justifications and the personal motivations for environmentalism.
This dynamic between faith based practices and local solutions is absent from the Green New Deal.
If faith isn’t enough, Pelosi hopes you still agree with her.
Nancy Pelosi qualified her statement by adding an appeal to those who may not share her faith. She had to make sure she assuaged the concerns of those who would hear her discussion of creation and think *gasp* theocracy. She understands that some on the left have no interest in a faith based argument for environmental policy.
Yet she still appeals to a sense of morality.
I find this funny. It’s the fundamental flaw of postmodernism and the moral relativity that follows. Statements like the one Pelosi made require a source of objectivity. Something has to explain why NOT acting on climate change is immoral. Without objective moral truth, there are only arguments about utility. But even that assumes that utility has some inherent worth.
The left loves to claim that it believes in science, but without moral truth, there is no reason to. Why is believing in science the right or moral thing to do? We are all just evolved apes…why does anything matter.
Christians can care about the environment because God is the Creator.
Atheists have no basis for caring about the environment.