Friday, April 22, 2011

Let's Make Earth Day a Religious Holiday

Since April 2001, I have annually reprinted this back-handed salute to "Earth Day." Enjoy.

Let's Make Earth Day a Religious Holiday

On April 22, millions will dutifully engage in the now-familiar rituals and incantations of America’s fastest-growing religion.

In public places, they will gather to listen to sermons . . . about the sins of human selfishness, about redemption through self-abasement, about the duty to exercise stewardship of the earth.

In schools, they will indoctrinate their children in the gospel according to John . . . John Muir, that is.

In their homes, they will engage in symbolic acts of self-denial . . . by digging through germ-laden garbage for recyclables, by denying themselves the pleasures of eating meat, and by setting their thermostats below the sinful level of human comfort.

The cause for this mass religious outpouring is, of course, Earth Day. In just a few decades, it has become an unofficial holy day, displacing in the hearts of our countrymen (and in the memories of those who publish calendars) such reactionary occasions as Jefferson’s birthday.

This once bothered me. As a journalist, I’ve investigated environmental scares, from ozone depletion to global warming to pesticides on food. All proved to be unconscionable bunkum.

But fear is easier to peddle than facts. Today, carcinogenic corporations are the stock heavies in Julia Roberts films and children’s cartoons.

The rise of environmentalism isn’t surprising. A culture taught to venerate Eden as its Ideal couldn’t sustain sympathy for such icons of capitalism and technology as Manhattan or Microsoft.

So I’ve bowed to the inevitable triumph of faith over reason. Since environmentalism has become our national religion anyway, I now urge Congress to declare Earth Day an official religious holiday.

This is no frivolous proposal. Consider the common characteristics of religions, and ask yourself if environmentalism qualifies:

Religions typically claim that human nature is selfish and sinful. So does environmentalism. John Muir, co-founder of the Sierra Club, denounced men as “selfish, conceited creatures.” George Perkins Marsh, another founding father of environmentalism, described men as “brute destroyers” who “destroy the balance which nature has established.” To some environmentalists, people are – at best – a trivial part of a vast “ecosystem,” no more important than lizards, trees, or rocks

Religions traditionally criticize human reason, and extol faith. So does environmentalism. In his book Earth in the Balance, former Vice President Al Gore excoriates our “rational, detached, scientific intellect” as “too often arrogant, unfeeling, uncaring.” His book’s closing paragraph is a pious call to faith.

Religions require people to sacrifice their happiness to something larger. So does environmentalism. Do you have personal plans for your future? Scrap them now: “We must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle of civilization,” Al Gore writes. He would demand “wrenching” changes “that will affect almost every aspect of our lives together on this planet.”

This malignant view of man and his works has won millions of converts. A 1997 survey published in American Demographics found that fully a fourth of all Americans “see nature as sacred, want to stop corporate polluters, are suspicious of big business, are interested in voluntary simplicity, and are willing to pay to clean up the environment and stop global warming.”

That’s amazing growth for a new faith in just three decades. At this rate, environmentalism will supplant all rival religions in a few more years.

So why fight it? Environmentalism is already a fixture of federal, state, and local laws, enforced by an army of bureaucrats. Declaring Earth Day to be an official religious holiday will simply acknowledge the obvious.

As for those few who cringe at this prospect -– take heart. Once environmentalism becomes officially recognized as a religion, at least we’ll have some First Amendment protections.

We may even be able to insist –- on grounds of separation of church and state -– that the government stop shoving environmentalism down our throats, through smothering regulations, public school indoctrination, and insufferable sermons from politicians such as Al Gore.


Robert Bidinotto said...


"President Obama declared today's 41st annual Earth Day proof of America's ecological and conservation spirit—then completed a three-day campaign-style trip logging 10,666 miles on Air Force One, eating up some 53,300 gallons at a cost of about $180,000. And that doesn't include the fuel consumption of his helicopter, limo, or the 29 other vehicles that travel with that car."

Darlene Bridge Lofgren said...

Well at least he didn't have a whole second plane to carry the dog this time!

On a serious note, great article.

Robert Bidinotto said...

Climatologist Patrick Michaels rips the UN's "voodoo climate science" -- a pathetic record of lousy predictions, all of them biased toward "the sky is falling," none of them accurate.

Robert Bidinotto said...

The top 5 environmental catastrophes . . . that never happened.

Hey, but that record hasn't stopped the hysteria, has it, now?

Jason Pappas said...

Delightful article! The “earth faith” is so prevalent that it is taken for granted in my town and we’re solid Republican. "Consumption" is considered a bad word. People talk about “saving water” to the extent that the urinals in the new high school don’t flush. The stench motivates students to seek off-campus accommodations.

My wife cracks me up when she asks the obvious question. “Save water? What are we saving it for?” In our two years living here no one has yet explained that one. It’s like Catholics abstaining from eating meat on Friday or Muslims fasting during Ramadan. It’s part of the rituals of the new religion. There is no "why!"

Robert Bidinotto said...

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 27% of Adults say Americans are being selfish by putting their economic concerns ahead of the fight against global warming. Fifty-one percent (51%) disagree with that assessment.


Robert Bidinotto said...

Lest we forget: "Earth Day co-founder killed, composted girlfriend."

Folks, I do NOT make this stuff up

Robert Bidinotto said...

‎Apropos this post:

"God Is Green."

Gee, who knew?

Jason Pappas said...

We'll have to update Rand's refutation of "collectivist rights" because now we have ... ready for this ... Earth's Rights.

I predict the dubious phrase "social justice" will soon be seen as too anthropocentric. I suggest "entity justice" as the left's new replacement. "And why should a man have more rights than a rock?" will roll off the lips of dull-eyed undergraduates as they phone dad for another $40,000 for tuition.

PS My wife reminds people every year about the co-founder's grizzly crime. Bizarre but true!

G.K. Gerig said...

Bravo, Mr. B.! Have you heard that the dictator of Bolivia is demanding that the "UN" grant "human rights" status to dirt itself? What would once have made a good Monty Python sketch...

I've often thought that if human beings were finally able to achieve "endangered species" status, the government would finally have to leave us the hell alone. In addition to that immediate benefit, there'd be some gratifying irony to boot. do we apply?