Christians and the Green Religion

Interfaith Power and Light, with chapters in 28 states, is intended to work in the "churched" society of the U.S. where religious institutions are respected. While its goals may appear to be ecumenical, it may be at odds with Christianity.

by Stephanie Block

The pastor of Fairfax Presbyterian Church in Virginia, Henry Brinton, asks rhetorically (and then provides an answer):

I]s the marriage of the secular environmental movement and the faith-based one even necessary? Actually, it's essential. The international community has settled on the dangers of global warming and has decided to act to literally change the world. We've reached a critical point at which unity is required if this movement is to succeed. Just as in any successful political campaign, you need a good ground game. There is no better ground game in the USA than the thousands of churches, synagogues and mosques that dot our landscape from coast to coast. But are religious people ready to walk down this aisle?” [USA Today, “Green, meet God”, 11-10-08]

Brinton is one of a growing cadre of people with progressive interests who have discovered the convenience of living in a “churched” country – that is, a country that still, basically, respects religious institutions and with which a large percentage of its population is involved. This is useful.

There’s a Sierra Club report, offensively called “Faith in Action: Communities of Faith Bring Hope for a Planet.” I say this is offensive because if these “communities of faith” are bringing any “hope” besides Jesus to the planet, there’s an idolatrous problem at issue that’s a good deal more serious than polluting ourselves to Kingdom Come.

The Sierra Club report explains its interest in targeting religious institutions: “Lasting social change rarely takes place without the active engagement of communities of faith.” Therefore, it becomes the goal of the Sierra Club and hundreds of other civic-minded bodies to figure out how these “communities of faith” may best be engaged to ensure the social change sought by the civic body.

This is an ironic twist to the parable of the leaven – you remember, the one where Jesus tells his disciples to be the yeast in society, to bring His concerns and His Truth into the world. Any changes – social or spiritual – are then His changes. Instead, we have a secular group using the churches to be their leaven, and to effect their vision for change.

Mind you, I’m not deriding honest environmentalism. It’s this targeting of religious institutions for a purpose that, in the end, will destroy them. Interfaith Power and Light, an organization with about 28 state chapters, was created precisely to work with religious institutions on environmental concerns. Founder and executive director, Reverend Sally Bingham, writes that “Taking care of our land, air and water….is the most moral value facing us all.” Well, now wait a minute. Is that what these religious institutions are being told? Is that what they’re telling their congregations? “[W]e strive to be theologically based and not to be an environmental organization,” says Gretchen Killion, also working with Interfaith Power and Light.

Pastor Henry Brinton betrays the poverty of his position. “Though religions are sometimes scorned for dividing people and illuminating differences, the unifying goal of preserving the planet could do just the opposite: bring people of faiths together. Creation care can be ‘a great bridge-builder between evangelicals and mainline Christians,’ says Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals.” “Religion,” in this sad paragraph, is the bad-guy – that divisive Jesus who came, not to bring peace but to even tear families apart. “Greening,” it would seem, is a kinder, gentler god.

This article appeared at Spero News, November 29, 2008

Stephanie Block is the editor of Los Pequenos - a New Mexico-based publication. Her columns are made possible by the sponsorship of generous individuals who believe information about the development and dissemination of progressive ideology needs to be more widely understood. Please fell free to share -- acknowledging authorship – these articles with others. If you would like more frequent publication of Stephanie Block's work, tax-deductible donations can be sent to: Catholic Media Coalition - PO Box 427 Great Cacapon, WV 25422 Attn: Progressive Watch

Home  +  Articles

Dissenters Press Releases Speakers Bureau