The cool pope’s in town, guys. He thinks atheists can be good people! He admits capitalism’s flaws! He wants churches to aid the poor and refugees! And he sees combatting human-caused climate change as a moral and religious mission — something he reiterated on the White House lawn as his most excellent adventure in America continues.
“It seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation,” the awesomest pope ever said, whipping off his wraparound Ray-Bans. Proving that even Cool Pope (TM) can pander to the local audience, he quoted one of America’s favorite sons to rope into one’s particular worldview. “To use a telling phrase of the Reverend Martin Luther King, we can say that we have defaulted on a promissory note and now is the time to honor it.”
Added Cool Pope the First, “Anyone here go to GEORGETOWN!?”
But it’s all still cool, because unlike, say, when Fox News broadcasters invoking Dr. King to say that Black Lives Matter protestors should behave differently, climate change action seems like something the Reverend would have actually supported. Yet and however, such pro-science proclamations from Buddy Pope have upset many religious leaders in the U.S.
That was glib. The reflexive disapproval by many U.S. conservatives of Good-Guy Pope’s statements on climate change seems, superficially, like anti-science religiosity. People upset about climate science seem to walk and talk like anti-evolutionists, those who oppose what Darwin wrought because it opposes their understanding of the Bible.
In both cases, opponents of a politicized area of science must go through some weird contortions. They live in a world defined by science and technology, but cannot accept a core finding of modern science. Thus, in the case of anti-evolutionists, you get Intelligent Design, an attempt to distort the logical-scientific enterprise so that it somehow arrives at the preconceived notions derived from religion.
Climate-change deniers commit similar deformations of science and logic, but here the preconceived conclusions are not religious. Sure, you can derive Bible-based arguments to oppose climate action — e.g., God gave us this planet to use, and so drill (baby, drill) we must. But the major reason for climate-change denial is economic. Fighting climate change means thinning the wallets of fossil-fuel companies. It does not, primarily, commit sins against the teachings of the Bible. It commits sins against the tenets of unfettered capitalism.
So Pope Kick-Ass’ statements on a warming planet anger many American conservatives not because he’s a religious figure denying religious teachings in favor of science — but because he’s a religious figure denying capitalism’s teachings in favor of science.
The way the religious right has yoked Jesus to Adam Smith still surprises me sometimes. Here, we see, arguably the most powerful living Christian figure in the world rejected by the most political of Christians in a country, attacked by those same Fox News broadcaster — because he’s not capitalist enough. Christianity was a Jewish religious co-opted by Rome. It now, here at least, seems like a Roman religion co-opted by Goldman-Sachs.