Commentary by Liza Field
I would say that those who are callous about babies and callous about life ought to be brought to bear the callousness of their indifference. Newt Gingrich
It's about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Rick Santorum, on environmental stewardship
What's it been like as a pro-lifer, during this year's big-money campaign?
It's been an experience of split-personality, I would say as a pro-life conservationist.
Most conservationists I know tend to be pro-life. Nobody who has loved life on this planet wants to keep it from the unborn.
Who would deny the next generation a chance to hear the chimes of spring peepers at nightfall, or the haunting calls of owls? A chance to fish in a river, climb mountains, walk a seashore beside the majestic, life-teeming ocean?
Nobody sane would take this rare gift away from the unborn. But the corporate buy-up of our political system seems to give voters no other choice.
One camp would protect life in the womb, but politically opposes the protection of planetary life.
The other side allows prenatal life to be aborted, but has defended the surrounding human life-support systemair, water, biodiversity, climate.
How to choose life then, politically, without aborting one's brain?
The Rev. Mitch Hescox of the Evangelical Environmental Network notes that one in six of our children are being born with harmful levels of mercury in their bloodstream.
Factor in the climate change already depleting life among the world's poor, he reasons, and pro-lifers clearly should support reductions of coal-burning pollutants.
Thats the position taken by more than 300 evangelical leaders whove signed onto the Evangelical Climate Initiative (ECI). Created in 2005, the document supports climate action for the sake of all life, born and unborn.
Whom You Will Serve
It was not new theology.
The Old Testament sings with Natures voices, Noahs call to save every species, the sacredness of living waters.
Whole chapters of Promised-Land-use regulations forbid tree-cutting, soil-depletion and animal abuse requirements that make the EPA's look feeble.
The New Testament, meanwhile, is all about life more abundant, pointed out Francis Shaefferthe famed father of todays evangelical movement.
In his 1970s book, Pollution and the Death of Man, Shaeffer warned that Gods call in the area of nature
is that we should exhibit a substantial healing here and now.
Pope John Paul II later called repeatedly for climate-action. His pro-life classic, The Gospel of Life, notes that man has a specific responsibility toward the environment
for the present but also for future generations.
In 1991, conservative-Baptist heavyweight Richard Land declared, in The Earth is the Lords, I am more firmly convinced than ever that we face an ecological crisis and that God holds us accountable for our stewardship of the creation.
What happened, one wonders, here at the end of 2012? How has stewardship become what pro-life Senator Rick Santorum calls phony theology?
This year, Land himself urged support for the campaign clients of his longtime friend, Christian organizer/ big-energy-consultant, Ralph Reed.
Through his Faith and Freedom Coalition, Reeds clients (including Santorum, George Allen and the Romney-Ryan ticket) and their polluter-friendly platforms were cast as the Christian pro-life choice. Not a word from Land of an ecological crisis.
In fact, Reed, whose for-profit clients have run the oily gamut from Enron to Koch Industries, has long striven to squelch any greening of the pro-life voting-block that he successfully converted, from his earlier Christian Coalition, into corporate-political capital.
After the ECI emerged in 2005, Reed helped organize an opposing document, An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming, signed by his longtime religious associates, to oppose climate action for the sake of the poor.
He was helped by other big-oil consultants, Chris Rogers and Paul Driessen, whose industrial ministry, The Cornwall Alliance, works to frighten Christians away from environmental action.
Funded by Chevron, ExxonMobil and The Scaife Foundation (Gulf-based oil), Cornwall features Land and other of Reed's religious affiliates in a chilling video, Resisting the Green Dragon, urging believers away from the cult of environmentalism ( http://ResistingtheGreenDragon.com ).
This kind of polluter-funded political messaging has poured heavily through pro-life arteries in recent years, clogging the system and weakening its earlier heart for creation-care.
Initially, its adoption by this polluter-political marriage, which needs pro-life support as a voting block and lobby, seemed to promise the movement influence and a seat at the family power table.
Instead, this unholy alliance has reduced life to a fetal position, where it currently waitsand the ailing world waits for itto be born. Again.
Liza Field is a teacher and writer in Virginia. Distributed by Bay Journal News Service.