Sunday, December 11, 2016

This Election Reveals the Collision Course Between Consumer Society and Creation -- by Rabbi Yonatan Neril

Hurricane Matthew 2016 Charleston South Carolina flooding (Credit: Wikipedia) Click to Enlarge.
What this election reveals to me is to the extent to which American society, but more generally the dominant paradigm of consumer society, is on a collision course with Creation.  Since being elected, Mr. Trump is prioritizing creating jobs, growing businesses, drilling oil and gas, mining coal, and expanding infrastructure, including highways and oil pipelines.  The broader societal goal is to expand material consumption and consumer society.  It therefore makes sense for him to say that we should roll back the EPA’s environment protection’s and the UN’s climate change accord, because both of these may limit the unrestrained growth of material and consumer society, especially one fueled by fossil fuels. The election is helpful is clarifying that we are heading full steam ahead for the iceberg.
[T]his election has shown us that, for most religious American voters, care for our common home is not a significant enough issue to sway their vote. The question that must be asked is: Why?

A 2014 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute and the American Academy of Religion sheds some light.  It found that “most Americans who attend religious services at least once or twice a month hear little from their clergy leaders about the issue of climate change. Just over one-third of Americans say their clergy leaders speak about climate change often (11%) or sometimes (25%).  More than 6-in-10 Americans say their clergy leaders rarely (29%) or never (33%) reference climate change.”

In the reverse, the survey also found a correlation between clergy speaking about climate change and the number of congregants who believe that climate change is occurring and human caused.  “Americans who say their clergy leaders speak at least occasionally about climate change are more likely to be climate change believers than Americans who tend not to hear about climate change in church.”

According to a recent poll by Yale and George Mason universities, the vast majority of Americans do not view climate change as a moral or religious issue.  One sees that the low incidence of American clergy teaching on climate change, and by extension, environmental issues in general, is reflected in how American citizens view the issue of climate change.

Read more at This Election Reveals the Collision Course Between Consumer Society and Creation

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