Blog Tour Day Ten: Awe and the Environment

23 04 2007

Power of today’s story in the tour’s interview blogging is “Awe and the Environment” with a healthy lesson about “Religion and the Environment” for good measure:

Lorraine at Culture Kitchen
My respect for nature is rooted in awe. It hurts my heart that those who claim that God gave them dominion over the earth do not understand that dominion is a synonym for stewardship: we are the earth’s guardian, not its master. If we do not offer to the earth the reverence it deserves, it will exact a terrible toll upon us. . .

Teresa Heinz Kerry
One problem we have today is the abundance of information and the ease of accessing it, via the Internet.

“This is a problem?” you might ask. But it *is* a problem, because much of the information is, unintentionally or otherwise, incorrect. Students may not have been taught how to determine the validity of the information they find on the web, so they may give equal weight to sources when one is clearly more authoritative than another. . .


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11 responses

23 04 2007
Gem

Please do not throw us all out with the dominion bathwater — there is a great movement among Christians, left and right, to accept the responsibility of stewardship that “dominion” requires of us all. The Right-Wing Wackos may be the loudest, but they certainly do not speak for all of us.

23 04 2007
Nance Confer

You’ll need to more clearly disassociate yourselves from the right-wing wackos in order for the “dominionist” label not to tar all of you. Is there something else you call yourselves besides dominionists?

OTOH, why make it a Christian thing at all? All of us need to pay attention to this issue.

Although, I think Sheryl Crow’s one piece of toilet paper is just too wacko for me. 🙂

Nance

23 04 2007
JJ

Thanks Gem, always good to hear, though I seldom need reminding as much as I do today! I was just in the car listening to Bill O’Reilly on talk radio, with some woman whose name I didn’t catch representing “unbelievers” in any deity — a state of mind which he claims to have fostered all the worst dictators in history (he named Hitler, Pol Pot, Mussolini, Stalin and a few others.) It was a discouraging un-debate because she would say something like “but Hitler was raised Catholic!” or “Stalin attended seminary” and he would say it doesn’t matter, they obviously did not believe in God because they wanted to be god themselves. So they were atheists. By his light any murderous dictator would have to be atheist, apparently.

So his religious definitions were the only reality, quite literally. Everything else was just “wrong” or “lies and spin” or irrelevant, whatever he had at hand to dismiss it with. Talk about power of story . . .

But I do know better than to think all believers in a higher power — including Catholics like him — are wacko. And some of the best environmentalists I know are liberal protestants. 🙂

23 04 2007
JJ

LOL Nance – I heard that on the radio too, maybe it was satire??
Hmmm, but she is a cancer survivor, right? I think that tends to bump environmental concerns way up the relativity ladder . . .

23 04 2007
JJ

About not making the environment a religious thing, I kinda thought that was Lorraine’s original point, that spirituality and particularly our “awe” for nature needn’t be related to god worship. It can be secular.

And it should be if it’s a global concern, because O’Reilly read off a list of nations with their percent of unbelievers in a deity. Even (the formerly) Catholic western European nations like France and Spain, not just Sweden or Denmark, were surprising; France is now actually majority atheist-agnostic, 53% I think he said.

And then he gets to us, sitting here looking like idiots at only eight to twelve percent of the most powerful nation on EARTH trying to figure things out without Biblical prophecy.

He was saying it as a cautionary tale, that Christians needed to gird up their loins lest they become decadent like these other developed nations. He says five of the nine SCOTUS justices are Catholic like him, is that right??

So I was thinking, no wonder we aren’t leading the global stewardship of the environment. The rest of the world does think we are religiously wacko about it.

24 04 2007
Dawn

//Is there something else you call yourselves besides dominionists?//

I’d call myself a steward although christian seems to work as well. ‘Dominionist’ holds darker political tones, linked to christian reconstructionism or bringing christian control to the US.

24 04 2007
JJ

Hi Dawn – the term Christian itself (like homeschooler?) seems to have been redefined by the wacko contingent though. And the Imus thing teaches the power of language for evil as well as good — the language we use to frame our humanity seems to be under assault in all directions, so that even when we manage to THINK a clear thought, its sworn enemies are lying in wait to choke it off in the crib or lose it in the wilderness, as soon as we try to EXPRESS it.

Not just Christians. And not just homeschoolers. It all ties together into even darker and more menacing problems of meaning IN LAW, not just in our private speech. As prominent educator Deborah Meier pointed out last fall, the root problem may be that we can’t legally define “educated person” without legal dominionism stemming from religious dominionism (which I would define as fascism but maybe that’s just wacko JJ off on a tangent again) :

“…Deborah Meier , in one sentence, tells us the basic problem.
The very definition of what constitutes an “educated person” is now dictated by federal legislation. (p.67)”

— From Many Children Left Behind : How the No Child Left Behind Act is Damaging Our Children and Our Schools
Book review By Michael F. Shaughnessy, Senior Columnist EdNews.org
Published 10/16/2006

Then in November we saw a St. Pete Times editorial about redefining political words for religious unreasoning, manipulated by the same people who (as I wrote at the time) “define stem cells as babies, late-term abortions as birth, but now deem real live infant citizens born and born HERE, not to be Americans and in fact not to be newborns at all!
They just disappear them with a stroke of the pen, like FL Ed Commissioner John Winn does with school failures”:

As the Bush administration moves immigration reform into the pediatric ward, babies now get to pay the price. Though the Constitution considers anyone born in the United States to be a citizen, the Department of Health and Human Services has added an astonishing bureaucratic postscript.

“A child born in the U.S. to an illegal alien mother,” HHS writes, “… is not a deemed newborn.”

“Deemed newborn” is regulator-speak for deciding which babies get tossed out of hospitals, and it is thoroughly indecent. . .
The change defies common sense. Under a 22-year-old Medicaid law, illegal immigrants are covered for emergency hospital treatment that includes childbirth.
The resulting newborns, “deemed” or not, were then immediately eligible for follow-up care for at least a year – care that can range from treatment for illness at birth to routine checkups and immunizations. . .

24 04 2007
Gem

Nance —

You are absolutely right, it is an issue everyone needs to be aware of and take care of, Christian, pagan, Budhist, atheist or whatnot. But Christians often get written off as wasteful and “dominionist” because some (a very vocal some) believe that the dominion given to them by God includes using the earth up, since there will be given a new one anyway. That’s just stupid, and not all Christians think that way. I do believe God gave stewardship of the earth to mankind, i.e. humankind. I believe dominion is a King James word that has come to mean ownership. I believe there is a difference. I believe that people are more important than animals and trees, though, and that if the survival were to come down to us or them, I’d pick us. However, that is very unlikely considering that the survival of humans is dependent upon the state of the earth, which would affect plants and animals as well. It IS all a circle of life, whether you worship that circle, the creator of that circle, or nothing at all. In the purest sense of the words, I would call myself dominionist, as well as right-wing Christian. But those words all have context that is rather nasty, and so I can no longer use them as -I- would define them. There is the deeper meaning of dominionist applied to Christians today, which Dawn mentioned, tied to the idea that Christians should run the country or even the earth. That is such a joke — the New Testament is full of teaching about the government being against Christians and how to live with that — I have no idea where Christian Dominionists of that definition get that idea. Please believe me that there is a great number of Christians out there who do not believe in that folderol in the least!

24 04 2007
JJ

Well, I don’t know much but I’m pretty sure that if Bill Gates and the Dominionists get together, the rest of us are done for! 🙂

25 04 2007
Government-Approved Worship of Witches and the Atom « Cocking A Snook!

[…] of Witches and the Atom 25 04 2007 News that reads like the funny papers! I wonder if Bill O’Reilly counts close to a million witches (whatever they call themselves) in his 90% of godly Americans, when he’s expounding on how […]

9 01 2008
We Can’t Agree What Religious Words Mean, Either « Cocking A Snook!

[…] last year’s “Awe and the Environment”: Is there something else you call yourselves besides dominionists? I’d call myself a steward […]

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