California, Oregon, and Washington State are burning—and it’s all the fault of “white Christians.” So says a professor at Oregon State University because “white Christians” are “science-deniers” who don’t believe in catastrophic man-made global warming.
CampusReform.com reports (10/2/20) that Susan Shaw, professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies at Oregon State University claims (as do many on the left), “the intensity and scope of these fires are a result of climate change.” She notes, “many Christians, especially white Christians, have embraced denial of climate science.” (A colleague responds: “What a crock. We have ‘denied’ climate ‘science’ while she undoubtedly believes that biological sex is meaningless.”)
Meanwhile, Shaw adds, “The disturbing link between white evangelical support for Trump and disregard for climate change that disproportionately affects poor people of color around the world should probably not be all that surprising….White evangelicals continue to support Donald Trump overwhelmingly, even though the Trump administration has tried to roll back more than 100 environmental protection regulations.”
The issue of wildfires vis-à-vis climate change came up during the presidential debate last week. Are these fires caused by man-made global warming or by misguided forestry practices?
Debate moderator Chris Wallace asked President Trump about the fires, saying, “state officials there blamed the fires on climate change….what do you believe about the science of climate change and what will you do in the next four years to confront it?”
The president responded, “I want crystal clean water and air. I want beautiful clean air….As far as the fires are concerned, you need forest management. In addition to everything else, the forest floors are loaded up with trees, dead trees that are years old and they’re like tinder and leaves and everything else. You drop a cigarette in there the whole forest burns down. You’ve got to have forest management.”
This controversy is nothing new. A few years ago, I spoke with Jarrett Stepman of the Heritage Foundation on my radio show. He told me, “We used to do a lot more clearing of the forest, a lot more actual forest management, traditional practices to keep the forest under control.” But not so today. Ironically, it has been laws pushed by environmental activists that many say have made the situation worse.
For a piece he wrote for the Heritage’s Daily Signal, Stepman quotes Rep. Tom McClintock (R, California): “Forty-five years ago, we began imposing laws that have made the management of our forests all but impossible….Time and again, we see vivid boundaries between the young, healthy, growing forests managed by state, local, and private landholders, and the choked, dying, or burned federal forests,”
McClintock added, “The laws of the past 45 years have not only failed to protect the forest environment—they have done immeasurable harm to our forests.” How so? These 1970s laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act, according to the congressman, “have resulted in endlessly time-consuming and cost-prohibitive restrictions and requirements that have made the scientific management of our forests virtually impossible.”
Meanwhile, is climate change responsible for the ongoing disasters in nature in general?
Recently, I spoke with David Horowitz, the former Communist turned conservative firebrand and author of the book, Dark Agenda: The War to Destroy Christian America. When I asked him about climate change, he told me, “I’m 81 years old, so I’ve watched this for many years. Every year the Mississippi River overflows and destroys houses, livelihoods, kills people. Tornadoes sweep through Oklahoma… In Florida, there are hurricanes….Can’t do anything about it, but we’re going to control the climate of the planet?” He called climate change “a joke.”
In reference to these catastrophes in nature, Dr. E. Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, points out, “These tragedies have happened all through human history, this is not anything new. We should certainly have compassion for those who are hurt. We should respond with help to those who are hurt by those things, but it doesn’t do anybody any good to blame it on global warming. As a matter of fact, if anything, what folks want us to do to fight global warming, which is essentially to turn away from fossil fuels, is going to diminish economic growth. It will prolong poverty, and the best protection you have against any kind of weather emergency—hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, anything else—is the ability to build a solid home, to have reliable electricity, things like that.”
So, rather than causing these disasters, the Christians (white and otherwise) are helping the survivors through them. We see that all the time with the Salvation Army or Samaritan’s Purse. Meanwhile, more commonsense measures might vastly reduce fires on the West Coast, as opposed to scapegoating Christians for denying the politically correct version of “climate change.”