Saturday, September 6, 2008

Why We Aren't Dealing with Global Warming: Connecting the Dots

Ever wonder?

The answer lies in dominionism, the extreme fundamentalist theology espoused by Sarah Palin and a great many other local, state, and national policy makers.

Dominionism (see also Christian Reconstructionism) stems from the biblical injunction that man (used advisedly) was given dominion over the earth and everything in it. Dominion is understood to be man's right to use and abuse earth and its resources as he sees fit.

Dominionism underpins a great deal--not all--of contemporary Republicans' hard-core resistance to conservation, renewable energy, and the science of global warming. For instance, VP Dick Cheney's vocal rejection of conservation as an affront to Americans' way of life may be an outgrowth of dominionism, or (as I suspect) he may merely be manipulating dominionists to serve his "survival of the fittest" philosophy that the strongest (i.e., most ruthless businessmen) are entitled to whatever and as much as they want, regardless of the consequences to others.

Dominionism alone is destructive enough. It doesn't just apply to earth and its resources, but also to mens' status relative to women and children. Shored up by other biblical passages, dominionism is at the core of fundamentalism's unshakable patriarchy.

It gets worse.

End Times

What makes dominionism so terrifying today, however, is that Far Right Christo-Fascists like Palin also subscribe to a terrifying End Times theology. I'll try to make the connection clear.

The End Times--which they believe have commenced--will bring the Rapture, the Tribulation, and the Second Coming. (This site lays out the End Times perspective. An aside: The references there to Israel are critically important because for Sarah Palin, James Dobson, John Ashcroft, Clarence Thomas, and many, many other Republicans (yes, they're all Republicans), if events in Israel can be satisfactorily manipulated, the Second Coming can be hurried along. Bizarre as it may sound, these views ARE at work in US foreign policy now.)

End Times believers are convinced that they (the saved) will be with Christ in Heaven forever, whereas the rest of us will be consigned to burn forever in a fiery lake in Hell. Therefore, End Timers both long for the Rapture and believe they are compelled to convert as many souls as possible before the Rapture occurs. (Enter developments such as Joel's Army, the Promise Keepers, the massive buy-up of US radio and TV media since Falwell first launched his Moral Majority, Bush's faith-based initiatives, and so on, all of which have both secular political and fundamentalist theocratic objectives).

Because Far Right fundamentalists--Assemblies of God, Southern Baptists, Pentacostals, and many others, including today's fashionable "post-denominationalists" or "generic Christians" (to some extent these are both theological terms and political stealth terms)--are convinced that the End Times have begun, they believe strongly that any effort to combat global warming is not just useless but is in fact sinful. Combating global warming, developing renewable energy sources, conserving energy, protecting the environment are sinful because they obstruct in God's will for imminent End Times and delay the Second Coming.

This is why it's essential to know the code when you listen to Sarah Palin and many of those who passionately support her. When Sarah Palin says that she will govern "with the heart of a servant," for instance, she means that she will govern in accord with dominionist teachings.

She is signaling that She will be a faithful servant of the fundamentalists' vengeful God of Armageddon. She is saying that she is willing, ready, and able to rush the End Times along.

When she says that she "isn't one of those who sees global warming as manmade," what she means is that she sees global warming as an act of God designed as part of the horrible End Times. She's saying that combatting global warming, saving polar bears and beluga whales, conserving natural resources, and protecting wilderness are defiant acts of sinners that will have no place in her regime.

When she speaks of the Iraq war as the work of God, she's offering a clue to her views that apocalyse in the Middle East--in Jerusalem, to be precise--is necessary before the Second Coming can occur. Bear this in mind when you weigh various conservatives' analysis of Iran, Israel, Syria, and the rest of the Middle East. For a great many of our Republican policymakers and leaders, it's about the oil and it's about the End Times.

Don't just take my word for it. Google and read. Try "red heifer," for instance, or "End Times," Rapture, Tribulation, Armageddon, Zionist fundamentalism. etc.

You'll find many, many affirmations from the fundamentalists themselves, as well as many analyses from former fundamentalists and those who have carefully analyzed a movement that has grown from lunatic fringe to control the GOP in just under 30 years. The sheer number of websites devoted to serious proselytizing, not to mention that fundamentalist leader Tim LaHaye's "Left Behind" series has sold by now close to 80 million copies, give us some idea of the scope of what we're up against.

And that's just for starters.


Morning Angel said...

To anyone who thinks Pico is making all this up, please read the original sources. Fundamentalists do, indeed, declare these objectives. In fact, they brag about them and much more in loud voices from pulpits all across the U.S. As Pico points out, they also write books about it. Nor are these people a minority.

Dominionism is not a conspiracy, but a major, political movement in which America has been swept up in the name of Christianity, which is no longer the same religion our grandmothers and grandfathers espoused with love and faith. In the desire for power, humility and compassion have been replaced with violence and intolerance. Christ's love no longer applies to all, but only to the "majority" who do "God's Will," defined by Palin as the Iraqi War and a pipeline through her state.

This is why thoughtful folks no longer use the word Christian for members of the "far right", preferring the more appropriate term Christianist, parallel to Islamist, the extreme position of Moslems. This both excludes from criticism the Christians who still practice a genuine, compassionate faith and highlights the threat of fundamentalists.

If I was Republican, if I was Christian, I would be sorely concerned about supporting this "majority" and allowing it to reconstruct America into a theocracy or religious state. Historically, it is a guarantee that tides will turn, and if these measures, termed "tyranny of the majority" are in place as laws, then what will the Christianists (who find themselves in the minority) do then?

It is frightening to think of the loss of tolerance for religious pluralism...frightening. This is the reason Democrats (and liberals) support the 1st amendment so vehemently; it protects the freedoms of ALL people, "us and them." These days, it's the liberals who are conservative, and the conservatives who are radicals.

PICO said...

Thanks for having my back, MA. This is a very articulate and informed comment showing that you've spent more than a little time researching and thinking about this. As far as I'm concerned, this movement--which is to say Republicanism, now--global warming, and renewable energy are the three greatest threats we face-- that is, if we can survive the economic collapse that BushCon economics has visited upon us.

Man, it's an effin' thrill a minute, isn't it?