It’s Official: Environmentalism Is the New Religion



Robert Nelson, in the Independent Institute’s recent book, The New Holy Wars, points out that environmental religion owes its moral activism, ascetic discipline, reverence for nature, and fallen view of man to the Protestant theology of John Calvin.

Manhattan’s new Church of Earthalujah is perhaps the most striking—though hardly rare—expression of this new religion. Its leader, the Rev. Billy, outlined the church’s purpose and practices in this recent interview.

Asked about influences in his life, Rev. Billy reminisced on the importance of his high school creative writing teacher:

I moved to the East Coast with his family for a bit to get out of a tough Midwestern Calvinist situation.

The tenets of the Church of Earthalujah are based on the view that:

...these freak storms and tsunamis and flocks of blackbirds are not a coincidence—it’s the Earth talking to us. The Earth’s physical systems are in revolt.

Their faith is practiced both in church:

Every Sunday we have a devil and a saint, and the holy writ is the Earth. We have sermons and songs. Scientists give talks.

And on the street:

Friends give us soil from mountains that have been strip-mined and we go into bank lobbies like Chase and Union Bank as if we’ve been invited by an art curator and we sculpt dirt peaks and sing, then exorcise the demon out of the ATMs.

One might be tempted to laugh off such “performance art,” were it not that so many apparently find such tactics absolutely mesmerizing:

...we talked to many middle managers in the lobby at JP Morgan, and now that bank is in negotiations with Rainforest Action Network in San Francisco over their environmental policies.

When corporate policy—not to mention international economic and public policy—is based on faith over fact, may Heaven help us all.

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