While some global warming skeptics may have accused climate change believers of placing undue “faith” in murky science, some professors have already elevated the cause to a Christian edict. In his recent column “The Ultimate Ethical Issue?,” Professor David P. Gushee casts combatting climate change as Christianity’s ultimate moral test—and dismisses family values and constitutionality in the process.
“The data is in: Human beings are indeed culpable [for climate change],” comments the Mercer University Theology Professor. His article appears in PRISM, a publication of the progressive Evangelicals for Social Action (ESA). He points to the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report as proof that we face violent hurricanes, drought and famine, coastal sea rise, and other existential threats that will soon wipe humans off the earth.
And what should America do about this impending disaster? Implement cap-and-trade, of course. Gushee writes, “Specifically, the U.S.—along with the rest of the world—must implement a cap on carbon emissions within the next two years.” After that, the world “must” eliminate “carbon-emitting technologies” by mid-century.
Professor Gustee does not mention any technology by which to implement this policy, nor does he address the economic implications of the policies he advocates.
“For consumers, cap-and-trade means more expensive gasoline and electricity as well as net job losses in energy-dependent sectors,” writes Heritage Foundation Fellow Ben Lieberman. Analyzing the costs of America’s Climate Security Act of 2007 (S.2191), Lieberman places the tab at
• an additional $800 to $1,300 in household annual cost by 2013
• electricity cost increases between 35% and 65%
• between 1.2 million and 2.3 million lost jobs.
Conversely, the bill could increase Congressional revenues by $1.19 trillion between 2009 and 2018, $308 billion of which would be collected by 2013. These funds, collected from American businesses (read, manufacturing), will most likely be passed on as higher costs to American consumers.
The cost of such legislation doesn’t seem to concern Professor Gustee, who argues, “Because human well-being is at stake, even human survival, those looking to affect politics must now say that this is the ultimate moral values issue.” In other words, climate change trumps EVERYTHING.
The ESA would likely take a similar perspective on climate change costs. Their 1973 founding document, the Chicago Declaration of Evangelical Social Concern, states
“We must attack the materialism of our culture and the maldistribution of the nation’s wealth and services…Before God and a billion hungry neighbors, we must rethink our values regarding our present standard of living and promote a more just acquisition and distribution of the world’s resources.” (emphasis added)
Those who don’t believe as he does should change their views, or at least stop hindering progress, Professor Gustee argues in his article. He writes,
“I suggest that any Christian theology/ethic that believes human beings are too puny to affect the planet’s ecosystem, that God will not let anything bad happen to us, that anything that happens (good or evil) is the result of God’s direct will and purpose, that social ethics and morality are unimportant , that gay marriage and judicial activism are the key values issues in 2008, or that nothing must be done to hinder or regulate the free market is part of the problem, not part of the solution, and needs to change before it is too late” (emphasis added).
In other words, the Theology Professor believes Christians are “problematic” and recalcitrant if they
• believe in predestination;
• don’t believe in global warming;
• aren’t radical environmentalists;
• adopt free market values;
• oppose government regulation;
• value heterosexual marriage or constitutionality over global warming;
• pick political candidates that he doesn’t agree with.
Bethany Stotts is a Staff Writer at Accuracy in Academia.