Our Own Legerdemain

They say practice makes perfect. This isn’t necessarily so. In all my years as a practicing Catholic I was never a perfect one, and am now in a lapse that has lasted 35 years.

To be clear, I’m not even a Christian anymore. But neither are those who ascribe natural or man-made phenomena to the wrath of God.

I seem to recall, from projections made several years ago, that the southwest region of the United States would grow ever more arid as climate change worked its magic on us. More properly–according to the majority of scientists–climate change is a phenomenon wrought by human hands:  the current drought, therefore, may be of our own legerdemain.

Not if you ask California State Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield. In a recent speech at the California ProLife Legislative Banquet she suggested that the state’s worst drought in 1,200 years may be divine retribution for California’s providing women with access to abortions, RH Reality Check reported.

“Texas was in a long period of drought until Governor Perry signed the fetal pain bill,” she told the audience. “It rained that night. Now God has His hold on California.”

Wrong. Divine retribution and Christianity are incompatible. And while I’m fairly certain she’d protest to the contrary, Grove cannot be said to be a Christian. Here’s why.

The Old Testament God, being wrathful and jealous, was capable of any manner of calamity. Nothing was too extreme, and His harshness could seemingly be arbitrary. An exterminating flood? Check. Turning a man’s wife into a pillar of salt?

Well–she was told not to look back! How about betting with Satan over a righteous man’s reaction to the many traumas inflicted upon him? Let ‘em roll! God may have allowed the Devil to do the tormenting in Job’s case, but did He not send ten plagues against Egypt, culminating in the casual offing of that country’s first-born? The Almighty, in short, behaved like some drunken uncle one strives to avoid; indeed, this may be where we get the term “God-fearing.”

But all this changed with the ghastly sacrifice of Jesus Christ. If Judaism, in the selection of a people, represents the notion of a covenant with God, Christianity advances this to embrace the idea of redemption. Of forgiveness. It is through our Savior that we are affirmed in the Lord, right? To think now that God would revert to Old Testament-style retribution is to deny Jesus His status as Christ and be at cross purposes with His crucifixion. And that’s not very Christian.

I know: Neither is making a pun of His death.

What would be Christian would be to embrace the idea that climate change–whether engineered by humans or not—remains, at the end of the day, our responsibility to contend with because its first, and worst, effects will be upon the impoverished. Sadly, though, conservative disregard for the poor is well-known, and it has long been dogmatic for them that climate change is, in the best case scenario, unproven while being, at the worst, a hoax.

Still, it wouldn’t hurt to assume its reality and work to rectify it–if indeed we can. Climate change will eventually impact everything on the planet. As I’ve said before, it may finally kill half of humanity off. But we can’t just sit on our hands. Why not assume–like faith in God–that, in the absence of certainty, it is akin to insurance to believe it is happening? Nobody on his deathbed was ultimately discouraged by his faith; nobody, it is safe to say, will be harmed by a healthier Earth. How can someone believe in God but not believe in science?

God does not “have His hold on California.” The drought is real; the Lord, I’ll leave to you. If anything, I suspect He’d be disappointed in us for despoiling His masterpiece.

It is reasonable to believe not in the unseen, but in the demonstrated–climate change–and it is the responsible–Christian–thing to address it.

I may be a slob, a moron and a ridiculous degenerate, but even I can see the likelihood that climate change might have some hand–a “hold”–in the current drought. In fact, I suspect that, rather than some Old Testament retribution, we are all slowly hoisting ourselves on our own petard.

One thought on “Our Own Legerdemain

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  1. I am a Christian and politically conservative. I LOVE reading your paper. My husband and I tell each other “this is the only way to know what’s really going on in our part of the Valley”. We enjoy the in-depth articles, even though we evidently don’t fall into line politically with the editorial view point.
    1) The God of the Old Testament wanted the love and gratitude of His people as well as the surrounding folks. Lots of things happened to try to get them on track, but they pretty much refused. He loved them anyway. (And still does)
    2) Jesus’ sacrifice was ghastly. But He still stands at the door and knocks. He never forces anyone to love
    Him, although He always is there ready to offer His Love to all.
    3) Conservative disregard for the poor is well known? What; we all laugh and throw stones at the homeless and don’t contribute or volunteer at homeless shelters? Have you heard of the Rescue Missio or the Salvation Army? I hate to break it to you, but Christians of many stripes, are admonished by Jesus Himself to take care of the poor.
    4) The Bible tells us we are stewards of this earth. How are we conservatives not fighting to maintain the balance between economic opportunity and conservation of natural resources? We enjoy nature and do not want to see it thrashed any more than you. Whether or not the drought is a matter of Divine Retribution or not, we all need to work together to conserve water, plan for the future, and, for the Christian, pray for God’s merciful intervention to grant us some RAIN!!!

    Please keep up the good work with your reporting, and give conservatives and Christians a modicum of respect!

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