Help! Someone Trashed My Environmentalist Credentials!

Originally published January 13th, 2003.

Not that I really care that much about impressing environmentalists. They are a breed apart, a priesthood bent on maintaining the unspoiled worship of the creature rather than the Creator. Nevertheless, imagine my surprise to discover that an article of mine, published way back in 1987, had led a leading Christian environmentalist (jawohl!) to characterize me as a proponent of “wise use,” regarding which, “happily, only a few evangelical Protestants fall into this type.” You see, proponents of wise use are a “political ‘movement,’ bank-rolled by companies who would profit from deregulation, seek[ing] to promote an open-throttle, all-out exploitation of the rest of creation.” (Note the gaudy corporate sponsorship of my web page. Doubtless I am feted all over corporate America for this fine little article I wrote. Yeah right…) Forsooth:

The evangelical Protestants of the Wise Use type are providing a theological rationale for such exploitation. Wise Use does not include the evangelical Protestants who are opposed to any ethic of creation-care. Rather, those in this type seek to offer an alternative which actually works against caring for creation. God is indifferent to the rest of creation, and thus it has no moral status.

Our intrepid writer includes a helpful graphic showing: how I and my “wise use” counterparts opine that “the rest of creation has no moral status: it cannot be sinned against;” use “stewardship rhetoric as a cover for exploitation;” exhibit a “dominant attitude: extreme arrogance;” and are “completely co-opted.”

My problem with this “description” is, how on earth did the illustrious Mr. Jim Ball, holder of a doctorate from some seminary or other, executive director of the Envangelical Environmental Network, and apparently the mastermind behind the uniquely absurd “What Would Jesus Drive” campaign (the answer to which is blindingly obvious — a donkey!), get it from my article?

You be the judge, for I have now posted the offending piece for the perusal of all.

Now, when one finds oneself cited by such a leading light among evangelicalism one should probably feel proud (“bust my buttons! I’ve been wilfully misinterpreted again!”). But none of that for me. I will remain suitably chastened for proving again unable to convey basic, simple messages to the intellectual vanguard of our age (Mr. Rozen being another example). At any rate, if you, dear reader, desire the enlightenment Mr. (Dr.) Ball has to provide regarding my writing and many others’ as well, do not hesitate to visit the American Scientific Affiliation’s web site, for there it is for all to behold.