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.