The 'Religiofication' of Climate Change
Climate change is the unofficial state religion of the Biden administration. In his commentaries on mass movements, Eric Hoffer warned of the "religiofication" of practical purposes into holy causes and noted, "Blind devotion and religiosity leads to belief that the movement is virtuous and a source of strength. The adherent identifies as a supporter and defender of a holy cause."
The Supreme Court has not established a formal definition of religion. Standards differentiating religious and similar non-religious beliefs remain elusive. The Second Circuit Court noted that for the purposes of the First Amendment, beliefs that constitute a religion are evaluated on whether the beliefs are sincerely held. The 10th Circuit Court quoted philosopher William James's definition of religion: "the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they consider the divine."
Barbara Burnett attempted to define religion from a twentieth-century perspective, drawing on Clifford Geertz's thesis of applying five tests based on symbolic anthropology. Judge Adams of the Third Circuit Court distilled the definition to three points, honoring Supreme Court precedent and the practical needs of the courts.
Climate change fulfills both Geertz's anthropological and Judge Adams's legal tests to qualify as a religion. The movement deals with fundamental questions dealing with the sacred planet. The believer's passions are deeply held, comprehensive, and nurtured and promulgated by an array of organizations representing all aspects of worldwide society. The true believer views climate change as a good vs. evil phenomenon. The threats to the planet are not theoretical, but realistic and personal. The liturgy of the religion is promoted by a network of teachers who disseminate its beliefs, practices, ceremony, and rites.
Climate czar John Kerry stated that walking away from global warming at Kyoto sent a message of duplicity and hypocrisy and that ignoring the twelve-year doomsday forecast issued in 2019 spelled certain disaster for the planet. When criticized for using a personal jet to accept a climate award in Iceland, he placed the onus on others and replied, "If you offset your carbon, it's the only choice for somebody like me who is traveling the world to win this battle."
Mr. Kerry's and wife Teresa's combined personal wealth is estimated to be $1.2 billion. They have owned a private jet, beachfront properties, and a yacht, making their carbon footprint enormous and at odds with Greta Thunberg's admonition: "We must change almost everything in our current societies. The bigger your carbon footprint, the bigger your moral duty."
Like many religious figures who are prone to prophecy, Mr. Kerry's percipient abilities were evident even as a young child. "I have been passionate about the oceans since I dipped my toes in the water at the first age of three." This is a remarkable insight, given that one's first, rudimentary childhood memory usually occurs at age three to three and a half years, and more complex adult-like memories do not appear until age five to six years.
Mr. Kerry describes climate change in military terms: "climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction," "not less compelling than war itself." Yet when Russia invaded Ukraine and placed the lives and welfare of millions at risk, the climate czar appeared more concerned about its effect on climate change than the cost of human life.
In 2015, Pope Francis published a document, Laudato Si', which was the first papal encyclical devoted solely to environmental issues. The pope avers that the environmental crisis is not only an economic, scientific, and political problem, but also a moral and spiritual challenge. A year ago, Climate Czar Kerry met with the pope, calling for climate action, and named Francis as one of the greatest voices in the climate crisis.
The 9 x 18 meter mural of Greta Thunberg painted on a building façade in San Francisco looks down in judgment on the city's inhabitants. Her unhappy visage and apocalyptic warnings expose an angry, unyielding religion bent on impoverishing mankind: "You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. ... We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?"
Sectarian arguments alone cannot force non-believers to blindly accept proof by authority, when it translates to fewer personal freedoms and a reduction in the standard of living. The climate change mass movement abhors capitalism, and its scripture inhibits rather than promotes freedom. Skeptics suspect that special interests manipulate moral redistribution schemes to enrich themselves. Hoffer noted the true believer's disdain for those who do not accept his truth: "[w]hat counts is the arrogant gesture, the complete disregard of the opinions of others, and the single handed defiance of the world."
With the United States experiencing the highest rates of inflation in 40 years and energy costs soaring, activists ignore the hardships of ordinary Americans and insist that climate change is the primary existential threat facing humanity. Sixty-nine percent of Americans support a reduced focus on climate change and efforts to allow for more oil and gas exploration. Yet the 2022 federal budget proposes $36 billion to support climate change dogma that rejects these incontestable facts:
Climate Czar Kerry admits that net zero emissions in the U.S. will not affect climate change.
Crop production and global plant growth has surged with increasing atmospheric CO2 levels.
No credible scientific body has stated that climate change threatens the collapse of civilization or human extinction.
Cold temperatures kill far more people than hot temperatures.
For 80 years, climate alarmists have failed to make correct predictions.
Over the past 600 million years, atmospheric CO2 and temperature levels have fluctuated widely and often without correlation.
Economist Bjorn Lomborg's rational approach to climate change serves as a model alternative for analyzing problems and implementing practical solutions. It relies on the uncensored, free exchange of ideas and the economic well being of people affected by policy decisions, while avoiding religious fervor that clouds judgment and encourages divisive behavior.
Image: Ralph Alswang via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0.