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The Passion of the Zealots

A young person concerned about climate change joined sixteen year old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg at a congressional hearing this past week. Jamie Margolin is seventeen and part of a lawsuit filed by children against the federal government over climate change. Not content to work their way through democratic processes, they hope federal courts will force resolution on their behalf.

Margolin spoke out about her fears. She told Congress that she was not sure she would have a future. From her testimony, she said, “I want Congress and, in fact, the whole US government, to remember the fear and despair that my generation lives with every day and I want you to hold on to it. How do I even begin to convey to you what it feels like to know that within my lifetime the destruction that we have already seen from the climate crisis will only get worse. What adds insult to injury is the fact that we keep getting promised what isn’t there. On college applications I keep getting asked ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’…. Everyone who who will walk up to me after this testimony telling me I have such a bright future ahead of me will be lying to my face.” She went on to say the planet is collapsing. She believes there are only eighteen months left to get it right — a far shorter period that most activists claim.

Some will applaud her for the painful truths she is telling the grown ups around her. In fact, progressive activists increasingly rely on children to speak for them believing it provides a shield to criticism. But it also provides some great dangers.

Just listen to these children and the adults around them. They believe with the passion and faith of zealots that time is running out. They believe the democratic processes are failing them. They believe the planet is collapsing and we will all die. They believe this as a matter of faith, not science. The science does not suggest we will all die. The science does not suggest the planet is collapsing. But they believe it and will not be dissuaded from it.

In Great Britain, police arrested a group of environmental activists who planned to fly drones over Heathrow Airport to shut down air traffic. On the European continent, “travel shaming” has become a thing where people shame those who decide to get on airplanes. It has actually impacted the aviation industry in Europe.

The problem is that these zealots get massive, positive media coverage. As in other situations, media coverage tends to provoke more of the same behavior. While the left might cheer that on, they should be cautious because of where this most likely leads.

Already, in the Northwest, the United States has had to deal with eco-terrorists. It is only a matter of time before those who believe the world is going to end without radical action decide to take radical action. They will, as all zealots do, decide they are doing it for the good of everyone, even those who do not realize it. The zealot convinced of his own righteousness is a dangerous person. When they conclude the courts have failed them, the democratic processes have failed them, and the government itself has failed them, violence will be their only recourse. They will have plenty of supporters in the media willing to justify it. After all, they are all convinced the world will end in a decade if they sit idly by.

Listen to the environmental zealots and hear for yourselves how salvation is obtained. It is not pretty. The United States has done more than most countries to cut its emissions, but they always demand more. They do so because as long as sinner still sin, those who should be saved cannot obtain salvation. In Christianity, the unrepentant sinner will not find salvation, but access to Heaven for the saved is not dependent on the unrepentant. In environmentalism, the penitent environmentalist will not find salvation as long as the polluters pollute. If the government won’t stop the sin, the zealots will have to.

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