Compassionate Environmentalism vs. Plunder the Earth

There is a growing awareness among Evangelicals of the importance of environmental issues. There are good Biblical arguments for the importance of taking care of the creation as part of loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and loving our neighbor as ourselves. Increasingly, this is true among politically conservative Evangelicals; it is no longer just our more politically liberal brothers and sisters in Christ who see that being good stewards of the environment is part of the call to discipleship.

Marvin Olasky has an article on World Magazine’s web site called “Compassionate Environmentalism.” Here are some quotes:

While older evangelicals tend to emphasize the problems of gay marriage, many younger evangelicals concentrate more on poverty-fighting and environmental issues – and that’s fine. But what happens when evangelicals understand that helping the poor and aggressively fighting global warming are at loggerheads?
I first became aware of the divide between concern for the poor and radical environmentalism in Austin a decade ago. The city went all out to protect a species of cave spiders but scrimped on police protection in poorer sections – and one result was that a deaf woman died in a gang shooting near my home. Sure, in theory we can protect both cave spiders and humans, but in reality needs and wants compete for a limited pool of money.

“Creation care” is important. God calls us to be stewards and gardeners, caring for oxen in the ditch and relishing lilies. But the Bible also teaches that human beings, created in God’s image, are the most valuable resource on earth.

My hope and prayer is that those who see the importance of environmental issues will be able to rise above “left vs. right” to find solutions to environmental problems that are good for the Earth, good for the poor, and good for the economy.

However, some conservatives just don’t get it. Here is a comment added by a reader of Olasky’s post:

When I walk out my front-door, the only environmental problems I see are crab-grass. Pass the herbicide please.

The Bulldoze-the-Everglades-and-Kill-the-Whales side of conservatism is no more Biblical than the Worship-the-Earth-Goddess-and-Hug-a-Tree side of the environmentalist movement.

Grace and Peace

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