When conservative televangelist Pat Robertson sees God’s wrath against sexual sins as the cause for devastating natural disasters, it’s roundly mocked by the liberal secular media. How dare Robertson presume to speak for God, many huff. But the Left’s double standard is no more evident than yesterday when the Washington Post’s website published an Earth Day “On Faith” column by a liberal theologian who chalks up “climate change” to God’s anger for our “sin against the planet.”
Make no mistake, “She [sic] is very, very angry about” our carbon emissions, thundered Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite from her electronic pulpit as she charged Christians to be equally righteously indignant in her post “A new Earth Day theology“:
On the 42nd Earth Day, April 22, 2012, it’s time for a change. No more flowers and beach balls that look like the earth. In Christian theological terms, it is time for righteous anger and judgment on the way in which the continued willful destruction of the planet’s ecosystem is causing widespread suffering and loss.
“Mother Earth is annoyed with you” is another way of talking about global weirding; the upheavals in earth’s temperatures are felt in these climate catastrophes and increasingly dangerous conditions around the world, from drought to flooding to more frequent and violent tornado and hail events. “Mother Earth” as a common cultural expression is supposed to mean the way in which the biosphere is the giver and sustainer of life. But, calling the earth by a female metaphor reveals how much the earth is subject to actions and policies that exploit rather than protect. There’s a kind of ‘war on women’ that applies to the planet too.
Brooks Thistlethwaite then trained her ire on fellow Christians whom she considers too timid on environmental issues:
Judgment on injustice toward the planet, and seeing this injustice specifically as sinful, is the theological message we need today. Evangelical Christians emphasize “creation care” based on “stewardship” (Gen. 1:26), but this is frankly inadequate for a global weirding theology today.
Instead, we need to look at how the Bible actually talks about how climate catastrophes should be seen as God’s judgment. According to the prophet Isaiah, God says, “By a mere rebuke I dry up the sea, I turn rivers into a desert; their fish rot for lack of water and die of thirst.” (Isaiah 50:2b)
Even more to the point, Isaiah contains a passage where God is seen as a woman groaning in childbirth, and like a woman in childbirth God cries out in pain. This is itself a biblical image of God’s judgment on injustice.
“But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant. I will lay waste the mountains and hills and dry up all their vegetation; I will turn rivers into islands, and dry up the pools.” (Isaiah 42:14b-15)
But in the 41st chapter of Isaiah, God indicts His people Israel for the sin of idolatry, not ecological devastation:
Set forth your case, says the LORD;
bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob.
Let them bring them, and tell us
what is to happen.
Tell us the former things, what they are,
that we may consider them,
that we may know their outcome;
or declare to us the things to come.
Tell us what is to come hereafter,
that we may know that you are gods;
do good, or do harm,
that we may be dismayed and terrified.
Behold, you are nothing,
and your work is less than nothing;
an abomination is he who chooses you.
I stirred up one from the north, and he has come,
from the rising of the sun, and he shall call upon my name;
he shall trample on rulers as on mortar,
as the potter treads clay.
Who declared it from the beginning, that we might know,
and beforehand, that we might say, “He is right”?
There was none who declared it, none who proclaimed,
none who heard your words.
I was the first to say to Zion, “Behold, here they are!”
and I give to Jerusalem a herald of good news.
But when I look, there is no one;
among these there is no counselor
who, when I ask, gives an answer.
Behold, they are all a delusion;
their works are nothing;
their metal images are empty wind.
(Isaiah 41:21-29 ESV)
Yes, the Bible is full of language in the Old and New Testament about God’s wrath and judgment against sin, and one can argue that pollution is a sin that God will judge and punish. But Brooks Thistlethwaite seems to be purposely ripping texts out of context — something the Bible strongly warns about — to service her political point, and as usual, the liberal-leaning Washington Post is serving as the “Amen” pew.
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters.