Green wolves in Chris­tian cloth­ing

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. - BY E. CALVIN BEIS­NER

higher lev­els of ex­per­tise are nec­es­sary to solve many of to­day’s en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems.” Red alert to the church: If evan­gel­i­cals are sup­posed to rec­og­nize the “higher lev­els of ex­per­tise” held by the ma­jor­ity of sci­en­tists, that would re­quire that they deny Cre­ation in the first place. Isn’t that what that whole evo­lu­tion de­bate is about?

Flour­ish talks about an “ex­pan­sive stew­ard­ship man­date in the book of Ge­n­e­sis.” Sorry, but no such thing ex­ists. In­stead, Ge­n­e­sis talks about man’s “do­min­ion” over the earth and an­i­mals and how he is to “sub­due” the earth. Then God Him­self curses it, say­ing, “in sor­row shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life” (Ge­n­e­sis 3:17). Thus, we have an im­per­fect planet that was nev­er­the­less cre­ated for man’s pur­poses, not man for it. The Flour­ish peo­ple, if their mo­tives were sin­cere in de­ter­mi­na­tion of the truth, would have made “Care­tak­ers of Cre­ation” avail­able for all Chris­tian the­olo­gians and lead­ers to view be­fore its re­lease. In­stead, they’ve shown their true in­ten­tions: to ad­vance their anti-hu­man “green” agenda via twist­ing of Scrip­ture and be­hind-the-scenes po­lit­i­cal ma­neu­vers.

Paul Chesser is ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Amer­i­can Tra­di­tion In­sti­tute (atin­sti­tute.org).

The Evan­gel­i­cal En­vi­ron­men­tal Net­work (EEN) chose May 20 as the Na­tional Day of Prayer for Cre­ation Care. While I’m whole­heart­edly in fa­vor of pray­ing for a clean, health­ful, beau­ti­ful Earth ev­ery day, I’m cau­tious about this cam­paign.

What raised my concern was the cam­paign’s cen­tral em­pha­sis this year: “The day will fo­cus on the im­pacts of mer­cury on the un­born,” EEN said in an email. Then, on its web­site, the page called “Mer­cury & the Un­born” claimed, “Ap­prox­i­mately one in ev­ery six ba­bies in the U.S. are born with harm­ful mer­cury lev­els in their blood.” Fi­nally, a fact sheet on “Mer­cury and the Un­born Child” claimed, “The main source of mer­cury pol­lu­tion is dirty air re­leased by coal-burn­ing power plants.”

Those three state­ments raised my sus­pi­cions and set me about obey­ing Scrip­ture’s com­mand to “test all things, hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

The ref­er­ence to coal-burn­ing power plants was suspect im­me­di­ately. Why? First, about 70 per­cent of mer­cury de­posited in the United States ac­tu­ally comes from non-U.S. sources. Sec­ond, coal has been in the greens’ cross hairs for decades. Yet coal power plants pro­vide about 50 per­cent of Amer­ica’s elec­tric­ity (as EEN ad­mits) at a frac­tion of the cost and with much greater re­li­a­bil­ity than “green” al­ter­na­tives such as wind and so­lar (which EEN pro­motes).

Affordable, re­li­able elec­tric­ity is cru­cial to hu­man well-be­ing. The drive to re­duce its use con­ve­niently serves rad­i­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists’ de­sire to dein­dus­tri­al­ize West­ern civ­i­liza­tion — a goal that would ne­ces­si­tate a much smaller, much poorer, much less healthy, much short­er­lived hu­man pop­u­la­tion. EEN doesn’t share this rad­i­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist goal, but by join­ing the ef­fort to re­duce coal use, it pro­motes it, even if un­in­ten­tion­ally.

Iron­i­cally, this means EEN’s pro­mo­tion of stiff mer­cury-emis­sion reg­u­la­tions, which would force re­duced use of coal and steep in­creases in elec­tric­ity prices, links concern for the un­born (a clear ap­peal to Chris­tians’ pro-life sym­pa­thies) with a rad­i­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist agenda that EEN does not em­brace — an agenda that is dis­tinctly an­ti­hu­man and would lead to far higher rates of disease and pre­ma­ture death than the mer­cury ex­po­sure EEN wants to re­duce — even if its claims about mer­cury were true. But they’re not. The sta­tis­ti­cal claims also are suspect. I’d seen sim­i­lar claims be­fore — about half a dozen years ago. The cam­paign’s lit­er­a­ture of­fers no source for the sta­tis­tics. Their most likely ori­gin, how­ever, seems to be an ad by the en­vi­ron­men­tal ad­vo­cacy group Friends of the Earth in USA To­day in 2004 that claimed, “One in six Amer­i­can women of child­bear­ing age has ab­sorbed enough mer­cury to en­dan­ger a de­vel­op­ing fe­tus” and, “630,000 ba­bies are born each year with a dan­ger­ous level of mer­cury in their blood.” There’s an­other pos­si­ble source. Not long be­fore that ad ap­peared, Nat­u­ral Re­sources De­fense Coun­cil’s (NRDC) Cli­mate Cen­ter Di­rec­tor David Hawkins tes­ti­fied be­fore Congress, say­ing, “One in 12 [not six] women of child­bear­ing age has mer­cury lev­els above EPA’s safe health thresh­old. . . . Na­tion­ally, this trans­lates into . . . more than 300,000 new­borns at risk of neu­ro­log­i­cal im­pair­ment from ex­po­sure in utero.”

Those claims, how­ever, badly ex­ag­ger­ated find­ings of a sur­vey of mer­cury in Amer­i­cans’ blood by the Cen­ters for Disease Con­trol and Preven­tion.

In re­al­ity, fewer than one in 1,000 Amer­i­can women had lev­els as high as those associated with even very sub­tle neu­ro­log­i­cal ef­fects (not with broader cog­ni­tive and in­tel­lec­tual per­for­mance) in chil­dren.

Claims that mer­cury emis­sions from coal power plants are putting one in six un­born ba­bies at risk of neu­ro­log­i­cal harm are at best badly ex­ag­ger­ated and at worst out­right false. Rather than one in six (which would be about 690,000), the num­ber is more likely about one in 1,000 (about 4,130).

By all means, pray — and work — for a clean, health­ful and beau­ti­ful planet. And while you’re at it, pray for dis­cern­ment, for your­self and all God’s peo­ple.

E. Calvin Beis­ner is founder of the Corn­wall Al­liance for the Stew­ard­ship of Cre­ation.

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