You can lead a horse to water, but can you keep him from pissing in it?

COLORADO COLLEGE, COLO- I just attended an INDY “Sustainability Movement” event at CC’s Shove Chapel featuring Reverand Richard Cizik, orchestrated to unite Evangelicals and Environmentalists along the “non-wedge” issue of eco-stewardship. The two demographics find themselves traditionally polarized, even in the face of an imminent climate cataclysm. A shared concern for health and survival would seem only rational, but isn’t rationality precisely what divides them?

First of all, kudos to the Independent for bringing the issue before a public audience. But shame on Colorado College for preventing any discourse.

To better understand the disparate perspectives, let’s narrow the comparison using a neutral control group. What’s the difference between someone concerned for the environment, and someone not, regardless of spiritual belief? Would the answer have to do with being educated about the issues? Becoming informed is certainly also limited to people who have the curiosity, and the capacity to acknowledge complexity. NASCAR minds, to pick on an example, may lack the dexterity to absorb personal responsibility in the abstract, or the fertile mind to grow in consciousness.

What’s the difference between Evangelicals and non? Adherents who require literal absolutes, as opposed to figurative nuance? There might also be a differential having to do with personal initiative, because by very definition, evangelicals are followers. The news offered tonight by one of their leaders, the Reverand Richard Cizik, is that Evangelicals are on board the sustainability bandwagon, awaiting to be led. If environmentalists would kindly please befriend them.

My take? Whoa Nelly! There was no mention tonight of accusations of nature-worship idolatry, or signs of the Revelations being welcomed by end-timers. Are Evangelicals setting aside those arguments out of self-interest for their own worldly preservation? I’ve no doubt that could be in their character, but I’d like to hear it from their ambassador. Instead, he stressed that environmental wrongs are now being sold to his flock as a moral issue.

On a side note, could this Evangelical outreach be something else altogether, characteristic of the church’s usual call to witness? Specifically, was this minister’s outreach really aimed at us Environmentalists, to recruit non-believers into a dialog about morality, the pretext of which appear to be on our terms?

These might have been my arguments if Colorado College had allowed public discussion. Instead CC Dean Celeste smarmly declared the presentations to have been a “full meal” and entreated the audience to repair to the much smaller Gates Common Room where private questions could be asked of the speakers. Of course he offered the audience the option of awkwardly juggling a microphone in Shove Chapel versus a convivial exchange of camaraderie over snacks. The net effect was to curtail a public discussion.

Which it can be noted has been the direction many Colorado College symposiums have been taking. The school provides a forum for unquestioned indoctrination. And the voices visiting the campus have become progressively regressive.

You might think there’s nothing to argue about “sustainability.” In fact, the tone of all the speeches was feel-good encouragement. Reverand Cizik praised people willing to go against the grain, though there was not a single dissenter in the crowd.

The program featured Cizik’s homey homily and personal witness about his conversion to Sustainability. His act followed a Jim Hightower pep talk about the positive signs that a grassroots revolution is happening around us in spite of our cynicism. Hightower was preceded by announcements from local charities, assembled under the Sustainability banner. Sustainability is the new Green. Address eco-sensibility and you’re a member.

The best news was that Richard Skorman is opening an Environmental Hardware Store which will sell eco-oriented hardware at cost.

Care N Share was represented, promoting a sustainability concept of redistributing bounty, from abundance to need. They boast a state of the art warehouse system at Powers and Constitution, that’s built according to Green standards, but I think that’s it. How sustainable is it to have affluent people purchase canned goods to fill paper bags to deliver to the warehouse, to be distributed to the poor?

Had critical voices been permitted, would those really have been my questions? No, actually. There are far easier concerns to raise about this wunder-ideal “sustainability.” It’s a new mind-set. It’s a quantum leap into an evolved consciousness. It embraces Capitalism in a warm-fuzzy Jesus way. Is that sustainable? No really?

A friend of mine might have brought up the example of Israel’s Kibutzes. Those were environmentally sustainable communes which taught higher ideals to Israeli youth, and international Jewish youth recruited to support Zionism, while in actuality providing cover for illegal Zionist settlements upon conquered lands. The self-important “sustainability” ideal was warped to turn desert land into oasis, at the cost of the water of others. The Kibutz fad is largely over, and in its place we now have unbridled Zionist Fascism, a religious state where non-Jews are second and third class citizens, and what remains of Palestine is kept under permanent occupation. So that was Zionist “sustainability.”

Before that, who did we see posing in the boots of sustainable agriculture? Why, that be the Nazis, promoting Aryan supremacy and glorifying the equilibrium of the German farmer. We found out where sustainable genetics got us. In America the movement was called Eugenics. Bad enough when it was simply Behavioral Sociology hacks. What happens when religion gets in on the act?

Both the Zionists and the Nazis had God on their side. Now the American Evangelicals want to bring morality into the cause. Reverand Cizik explained that the coming Climate Crisis “will separate the winners from the losers.” I kid you not. We’re at a turning point in history, he warned, where mankind can decide who survives and who will not.

What exactly will be Capitalism’s version of sustainability? The sustainable exploitation of underclasses sounds damn Fascist to me. Doubtless those making the pitch in Shove Chapel know it too. No questions allowed.

Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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