Faithful America is “a fast-growing online community dedicated to reclaiming Christianity from the religious right and putting faith into action for social justice.” It’s also funded by George Soros and other left-wing secular philanthropies for “organizing the faithful to take on right-wing extremists and renew the church’s prophetic role in building a more free and just society.” Their advocacy issues are predictable: sexual liberalism, abortion rights, radical environmentalism, Big Government, anti-military, etc. And apparently anyone who dissents from their “justice” advocacy is implicitly guilty of “hate.”
One of Faithful America’s current targets is a “dangerous” pipeline in Kentucky to carry pressurized natural gas liquids to Pennsylvania. As a general rule, the Religious Left, like much of the secular far Left, opposes any extraction of fossil fuels in America. They prefer to imagine that the country can rely on windmills and solar panels, even while environmental activists jet to their various protests on planes fueled by oil shipped laboriously from Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.
According to the Faithful America petition:
After poisoning drinking water and increasing earthquake risk throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, now the fracking industry wants to build a dangerous pipeline through the heart of Kentucky, including hundreds of acres of historic farmland that an order of nuns have lived on for nearly 200 years.
Faithful America alleges that a “spill or accident along this route could blow up homes or poison drinking water in over 18 counties.” And they want Kentucky’s governor to heed “thousands of Christians across the country [who] are standing with these courageous nuns” whose rural acreage the pipeline would bisect. Of course, Faithful America would oppose the pipeline with or without the politically useful involvement of a convent with “courageous nuns.”
Liberal religious groups are especially high profile in opposition to the Keystone Pipeline that would carry oil from Canada’s tar sands through the U.S. Midwest to the Gulf Coast. Allegedly the pipeline will encourage additional oil use and contribute to the ostensibly man made, apocalyptic global warming scenario for which the Left claims only a shutdown of human economic activity is the remedy.
Activism against Keystone includes oldline Protestant lobbies like the United Methodist Board of Church and Society and Jim Wallis’ Sojourners. The lead activist against Keystone is Bill McKibben, a United Methodist. But political thinker Walter Russell Meade, an Episcopalian, recently responded to their bravado:
The green movement picked a poor issue on which to make a stand, because as report after report confirms, the Keystone XL pipeline will not increase greenhouse gas emissions, as environmentalists like Bill McKibben have so dramatically claimed. That’s because that oil is coming out of the ground, whether or not Obama permits the project. If not by pipeline, it will be transported to refineries by rail and by truck—more expensive and more dangerous options that themselves will actually increase emissions.
So environmental “success” evidently would mean additional fleets of tanker trucks on the interstate carrying Canadian oil or Kentucky liquefied gas.
There once was a time when thoughtful concern for the environment meant protecting or working for clean air, land and water whenever possible, not an absolutist ideology that villainizes all economic growth and prioritizes an idealized nature over humanity. Sometimes misplaced environmentalism, refusing to admit unintended consequences, means needless more costs and more pollution. Religious Left environmentalists, guided by zealous faith in a hybrid of God and Gaia, are especially susceptible to counterproductive flights from reality.
A more constructive Christian witness would strive to affirm responsible protections for land, water and air while also seeking aggressive extractions of cost effective energy to benefit all humanity.