The Baptist Faith and Mess

I could barely believe my eyes when I read this news title in my feed reader today: Baptists question human role in global warming.  My first thought consisted of, “Come on, people.  Stop acting like the ignorant, dogmatic hicks that the thinking world sees you as, and get a fucking clue!”  But I then I realized that I should probably give the SBC a chance, so I read the full article…  Then I got really mad.

Things didn’t start out well for the SBC in my mind when I read the first paragraph of the AP article:

Southern Baptists approved a resolution on global warming Wednesday that questions the prevailing scientific belief that humans are largely to blame for the phenomenon and also warns that increased regulation of greenhouse gases will hurt the poor.

You know, I thought the UN findings had finally made it pretty clear that global warming is pretty much a result of human activity.  I know we all wanted to believe in our hearts that it was part of the natural ebb and flow of the earth’s climatic cycles, but the facts are in.  We did it.  We’re still holding the smoking gun.  And we’re still shooting 200 species a day with that gun.  But, in all fairness, to the Baptists, it really is their stock in trade to “question the prevailing scientific belief.”  So, I should have seen this one coming.

My opinion of the faith I left behind did not rise any as I read on in the article:

The global warming debate has split evangelicals, with some not only pressing the issue but arguing humans bear most of the responsibility for the problem because of greenhouse gas emissions. Other evangelicals say talking about the issue at all diminishes their influence over more traditional culture war issues such as abortion, gay marriage and judicial appointments.

Let me translate for you.  (I used to live among the Baptists, and I remember much of the language.)  “We would rather quibble about creating sub-classes of American citizenry by denying people’s rights than take an interest in the fact that humans are destroying the entire planet.”

I think Jason Godesky at the Anthropik Network said it best when he pointed out:

Much of the current debate over gay marriage misses the biggest point entirely. The question is not at all what we think of homosexuality; it is not about building a godly society, nor what we condone or condemn as a society, nor about health insurance or tax breaks. At issue is our very formulation of freedom itself. There are 1,049 rights enjoyed by every citizen of the United States allowed to marry. If we categorically deny these rights to homosexuals, we have created a second class citizenship–and if we do that, then none of us have any rights at all. [1]

Some Baptists would rather spend time trying to undermine American freedom for everybody than begin to believe in the fact that we’re killing ourselves and everything around us at break-neck speeds.

But the real kicker lies in the third paragraph of the AP article:

The SBC resolution, approved near the end of the denomination’s annual meeting, acknowledges a rise in global temperatures. But it rejects government-mandated limits on carbon-dioxide and other emissions as “very dangerous” because they might not make much difference and could lead to “major economic hardships” worldwide.

Here’s the message Baptists are sending out.  “We don’t care that you’re in danger of dying, Poor People.  We just want to make sure you have a little more money to spend on your way to the grave.”  Spoken like the truest of corporate tools.

But the Baptists did get two things right.  The temperatures are rising.  (Some facts you just can’t ignore.)  And government mandated limits might not make much difference.

So, Poor People (and The Rest of the Earth’s Population,) if the Baptists really cared about your lives, here is what they would be doing instead of trying to make sure you don’t have to pay too much for a fuel-efficient car: teach you how to survive.

I realize I’m stepping out here and putting on a sandwich board that identifies me as a certifiable wack job, but guess what?  THE END IS NEAR!  And global warming is only one of the things you should be worrying about.  The oil is going to run out (for all practical intents and purposes).  When that happens, civilization will start grinding to a halt

Have you ever thought about how much you depend on oil?  It’s everywhere.  Oil isn’t just something that you put in your car.  It’s not just the thing that gasoline is made out of.  Here are a few examples of how it affects your life.

  • Most farming equipment is either built in oil-powered plants or uses diesel as fuel. Nearly all pesticides and many fertilisers are made from oil.
  • Most plastics, used in everything from computers and mobile phones to pipelines, clothing and carpets, are made from oil-based substances.
  • Manufacturing requires huge amounts of fossil fuels. The construction of a single car in the US requires, on average, at least 20 barrels of oil.
  • Most renewable energy equipment requires large amounts of oil to produce.
  • Metal production – particularly aluminium – cosmetics, hair dye, ink and many common painkillers all rely on oil.[2]

Let me break it down for you some more:

Everything you eat, gets transported in a vehicle made with oil, that runs on oil.  Those things are generally package in plastics made from oil and sold in stores that the employees get to in vehicles run on oil.  All modern agriculture is grown in fields plowed, sown and harvested by tractors that are made from oil and run on oil.  The fertilizer that is required to make those plants grow (since we long ago stripped the land of its own ability to provide nutrients to the plants) is made from oil[3] and transported, distributed and spread on the fields with trucks and tractors that–you guessed it–were made with and run on oil.

Don’t think this won’t affect you.  And don’t think that it will matter how much money you have saved away when businesses start crumbling all around you because they can’t keep running without oil.

So, what do you do when this happens?  You try to survive.  How do you survive?  Ask your great grandparents what they did during the Great Depression.  Ask the ex-Soviets how they survived the collapse of their government and economy.  Victory gardens, foraging the hedgerows, coming together as families and communities will be important to your survival.  But you will need more.  Learn how to survive as a rewilded human: go feral.

Just in case you don’t come from a Baptist background and don’t get the pun inherent in this post’s title, it refers to the second most sacred document in the Baptist canon: The Baptist Faith and Message.  In it, they prove their hypocrisy by stating:

Christianity is the faith of enlightenment and intelligence. In Jesus Christ abide all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. All sound learning is, therefore, a part of our Christian heritage.

Hey, Baptists!  Start living up to your own message.  Embrace the knowledge that comes from “sound learning” that “enlightened and intelligent” people have put in front of you.  Stop ruining Jesus’s name by acting like idiots.

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Wow.

    I can understand why it is pretty silly to think that humans have no part in global warming. I do my best to take care of this earth (it was actually God’s second command in the Garden of Eden). I’m not abreast of all the details, but it seems logical enough to me what we’re screwing up the ozone and whatnot. Then again, I will do my best; but I believe that God is sovereign and the world won’t be destroyed outside of His will. You can call me a kook for that, but I trust God. To summarize. Trust man…not really. Trust God…completely.

    I’d like to take a stab at the comments you were making about Christians trying to set up “second class citizens.” I could tell a friend’s typical response to the gay marriage thing. “I have equal rights as a straight American guy because I’m not allowed to marry a man either! The difference is that I don’t want to.” Of course, that would be something I would say if I was in a glib “fighting mood,” which I’m not right now. (Although it does make sense.)

    I believe that certain Christians are on witch-hunts against the “sin of choice” of their churches. And, honestly, I don’t know why the church is so intimidated by Al Gore’s movies. Shoot, even the Bible says the earth is wearing out “like an old garment.” Why certain people attack gay marriage and others attack pro-choice seems very willy nilly at times. I speak out against anything that I feel is wrong…but believe me, it is more than just gay marriage, pro-choice, and ruining the environment– it’s pornography, the movie rating system, lying at restuarants to get free stuff, pirating stuff, and lacking compassion. Don’t knock me for standing firm on my convictions. Would you respect me more if I wavered? And I always have to check my motives: am I doing this to pat myself on the back or am I trying to help someone experience LIFE?

    As an educated, well-grounded, non-judgmental, open-minded Christ-FOLLOWER, I would like to submit that we’re not all seeking to alienate pockets of society; and I’m also very confused at the connection with the environment. I don’t know why gay marriage or abortion even gets lumped into the debate over the environment. It’s kind of strange. More than anything, I think it’s the symptom of our polarized society. Hey, I’m an evangelical Christian; but I am always willing to listen. I’m looking for some people from the other “side” who are willig to put down their weapons too.

    I don’t know what’s up with the Baptist church. I’ll ask.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Rix on 06/14/2007 at 9:34 pm

    Thanks for dropping by, supermannino, and sharing your viewpoint. I appreciate anyone in the evangelical camps who is “always willing to listen.”

    That being said, I have to take very strong opposition to your “stab at the comments [I was] making about Christians trying to set up ‘second class citizens.'”

    I could tell a friend’s typical response to the gay marriage thing. “I have equal rights as a straight American guy because I’m not allowed to marry a man either! The difference is that I don’t want to.” Of course, that would be something I would say if I was in a glib “fighting mood,” which I’m not right now. (Although it does make sense.)

    I’m sorry, supermannino, it does not make sense. Would you have told an African-american back in the 1960s, “Sure, you can drink out of my water fountain–as long as you turn your skin white.”? Or even more to the point, how about if straight men were forced to marry other men, if they hoped to marry at all? The fact is that a gay person is not allowed to marry the kind of person they want to, while the straight person can.

    In essence, the argument you propose is this: you can have the same rights as me, as long as you stop being who you are. It’s worse than the “separate but equal” laws, in my opinion, because it leaves out the “equal” part.

    To quote the Anthropik article I mentioned in the post:

    If homosexuality is genetic, then how does this proposal differ from “But they’re free to marry, as long as they become white!” If homosexuality is a choice, then how does this proposal differ from “But they’re free to marry, as long as they convert to Christianity!”

    Therein lies the true crisis of gay marriage, because if we can deny 1,049 rights to homosexuals because they are homosexual, then we have legally defined a second-class citizenship in the United States. Jurisprudence allows us then to create second-class citizenships for any group, at any time, for any reason. And if that’s the case, then our entire concept of a “right” ends.[1]

    However, I appreciated the bulk of what you had to say, supermannino, especially when you noted, “I would like to submit that we’re not all seeking to alienate pockets of society.” I don’t believe that all christians are doing so. But if 60% of the SBC is willing to make such a horrible lapse in judgement, I’m afraid it reflects badly on the entire evangelical movement.

    On a different note, speaking of how little I respect the Baptists, I visited their Baptist Press website to try to get their spin on the subject of the recent convention referendum. Unfortunately, I found my ire further enraged by what I found there.

    In addition to the global warming and child abuse resolutions, messengers approved statements:

    — urging pastors to preach on moral issues and to lead congregations to influence the culture.

    — calling for individual and corporate repentance by Southern Baptists.

    — opposing hate crimes legislation that includes homosexuals and transgendered persons as protected classes.

    — reaffirming the SBC’s repudiation of racism on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision.

    The juxtaposition of the last two points, couldn’t be a more glaring indictment of the hypocrisy of the SBC. “We renounce bigotry toward African-americans, but we support bigotry toward homosexuals and transgendered persons.”

    I also found this tidbit:

    When Southern Baptists passed a resolution this morning condemning racism and calling the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision “deplorable,” Scott’s great-great granddaughter, Lynne Jackson, was watching online back in Missouri via streaming video. She reportedly was esctatic, messengers were told earlier this evening. Jackson is a member of Cross Keys Baptist Church in Florissant, Mo. This year mark’s the 150th anniversary of the infamous pro-slavery decision.

    I guaran-Goddamn-tee you that there were no gays applauding at the other end of a streaming video today. It’s a smorgasbord of morality with the Baptists. They pick and choose which minority groups they want to uphold and which they want to crush underfoot.

    Reply

  3. Those Baptist bung-holes may love the effects of global warming b/c it will seem for a time that the prophecies are coming true! God is finally laying down his wrath for all the homosexual dead un-born fetuses! Sodom and Gommorah revisited! Nothing to do with those silly green house gases, of course… It seems one of them beat me to it more or less.

    Yeah, this blog seems a little wacky there in the middle but I am w/ you most of the way.

    Reply

  4. I think you’re right about the fact that they’ll see the apocalypse as their kind of apocalypse.

    I assume the “wacky” part “there in the middle” you’re referring to is my rant on peak oil? Well, what can I say? If the “sandwich board sign declaring DOOM” fits, I might as well wear it.

    In all seriousness, though, you might want to give “peak” a chance. (Okay, that wasn’t too serious, itself.) But If a real newspaper like the Indie is giving it front page press, then we’re likely to see more non-wacky platforms start discussing the subject.

    Reply

  5. Posted by joshuadf on 06/14/2007 at 11:43 pm

    Well, I’d say the Babtists are just going through what the Presbyterians did 150 years ago. Maybe they just need a little more… Reformation.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Rix on 06/15/2007 at 2:36 pm

    hey, josh! thanks for stopping by.

    unfortunately, i don’t know much about presbyterians, much less about their history and reformation from a century and a half ago.

    but i do like your green hat, and i feel a sense of awe wafting over me from the immensity of your beard.

    Reply

  7. […] It was probably the bitchin’est parties in Edge Dwelling history, and it really warmed my peak-oil-believing heart when Jim said something along the lines of “enjoy the food, folks, ’cause the oils […]

    Reply

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