Monday, May 24, 2010

Glenn Beck, Environmentalism, Government, and Religion


Last March, the conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck declared that religious teachings about social justice were basically just coded communication in favor of Communism and Nazism. Many people condemned Beck for making this claim; as many pointed out, social justice has been at the heart of religious teachings for centuries. (And, as I said in a post on one of my other blogs, in making such a declaration, Beck appears to be completely unaware of the position of even his own religion, the faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [more popularly known as ‘the Mormons’], which has taught what amounts to social justice for close to two centuries.)

Mr. Beck is at it again. He recently condemned the idea of having the U.S. government encourage faith-based organizations to spread a message of green approaches to environmentalism.

What Mr. Beck is objecting to specifically is the Obama administration’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships recommendations, which include the recommendation that the Environmental Protection Agency help churches and other not-for-profit organizations to have access to financing and loan programs to finance green building projects. Frankly, this seems like pretty tame stuff to me.

But not to Glenn Beck. For him, this means “merging the EPA with churches,” which is paranoid fear-mongering. He sees this as founding, “Yes, the religion of environmental and social justice.”

The fact of the matter is that we are, as a global civilization, and as an American nation, in the deepest of trouble when it comes to the environment of the Earth. Surely it is in the best interest of the American people, regardless of political stance, to ensure that we maintain a liveable environment on this, our home world, and the only planet on which the human race has a presence at this time. In that effort, it makes sense to enlist the help of a variety of not-for-profit organizations, religious organizations among them. This is a very far cry from either telling religious organizations what to teach, or telling people what religious teachings to believe—both of which the U.S. government has done in the past, and both of which would be deeply objectionable. However, the effort that the Obama administration is contemplating does not in any way breach the wall between church and state, a point that Glenn Beck misses completely.

Here—yet again—Mr. Beck is very far from being On The Mark.

(Oh, yeah: he seems to be unaware of his church's doctrine regarding the Earth, as well, a point that I make on another blog.)

[The photo of the Earth as seen from Apollo 17 is in the public domain, and was obtained through Wikipedia.]

(Copyright 2010 Mark E. Koltko-Rivera. All Rights Reserved.)

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