Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The environment: left behind?

Some of you might have noticed the rather long-winded exchange in my most recent post on evangelical environmentalism. Perhaps some of the matters can be clarified by taking a look at what Tim LaHaye, author of the best-selling "Left Behind" series, has to say about environmentalism. (Full disclosure: I haven’t read a single "Left Behind" book.) Here’s LaHaye on "Larry King Live":

KING: Why, Reverend LaHaye, haven’t evangelicals been more outspoken about the environment?

T. LAHAYE: Because we believe that the environment was made for us. And not us for the environment. There’s a big cultural chasm in our country today. For example we have people who get out of shape if a whale is beached and they want to blame the U.S. Navy and sonar investigation and so on and yet they don’t mind 45 billion babies being murdered in the name of abortion in the last few years. I can’t understand why animals...

KING: But if we’ve got dirty air we might all not be here. Shouldn’t that be a prime concern?

T. LAHAYE: But we don’t have the dirty air that we did 20 years ago, right here in Los Angeles. You don’t have near as much dirty...

KING: You think we’re doing a good job with... T. LAHAYE: I think we’re improving. We could probably do better. And we Christians are not against clean air and clean water and preserving proper life. But we ought to have our values in priority. And we believe that human beings are more important than animals.

Now, he doesn’t seem to be advocating permitting big oil to drill in ANWR so that credulous red-staters can drive their SUV’s to sensitive wetlands, where they unload their ATV’s so that they can shoot all the deer and drink all the beer before the Apocalypse.

And just so that there’s no misunderstanding: I am not advocating driving or hunting under the influence. In fact, I personally do not own a gun, an SUV, or an ATV. (Indeed, my son, then seven, once had a conversation with a little boy at the Gulf Coast condo at which we were staying that ended, dismissively: "He don’t know what a four-wheeler is.") Soon, I suppose, they’ll deport me from the red state in which I live.

Discussions - 14 Comments

More time spent on this issue. I have a hard time seeing the connection between the beaching of whales from sonar and abortion. The reason people talk about sonar and whales is because that is the issue they are spending time researching. Abortion is no less important to anyone who deals with global environmental issues. I understand that LaHaye doesn’t want to destroy his surroundings or create unnecessary loss of plant or animal life in the promotion of "preserving proper life." I do feel that LaHaye has detached himself from reality.

To think that ANWR drilling will promote a proserous way of life is true. Until the oil runs out. Prosperous life could come from both ANWR drilling and more pressure to find renewable or greener energy. To think that a moral society is directly created by "humans first, animals last" seems incredibly off base. Morality and a prosperous human species should involve stewardship and respect of our surroundings. I know moral, anti-abortion, conservative, Christian people who happen to think that the environment is pretty important.

Is it that environmental issues (or problems, if one sees it that way) need to take a "back burner" to moral issues? Abortion rights and death penalty and the such should be resolved before we waste precious time on the environment? If the environment gets worse, but morality gets better we are better off?

I’m not sure this is the message or even implied, I’m just wondering if this seems to ring true at all, so I can understand LaHaye’s strange comparisons and odd opinion on his surroundings. He, most certainly, is not advocating the full-on destruction of the environment, but does not make the connections of morality and stewardship. LaHaye should ask himself, if the environment was made for us, are we supposed to exploit it, or show moral maturity and exercise a bit of restraint and true conservation? LaHaye, what would Jesus do?

Without adopting LaHaye’s position, I think I understand it. He has limited political energy and capital. He is going to expend it where it means the most to him, which is on "human life" issues, not "animal life" issues. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. You can drive to your anti-abortion demonstration in a Prius; you don’t have to drive a Hummer. But, most importantly, there’s nothing in his statement that suggests that, because the end is near, we can be profligate in our utilization of natural resources.

Exactly. If someone researching sonar deals with whales, LaHaye, as a moral advocate , deals with abortion. His assertion that you can’t care about human life if you care about animal life is a bit awkward, to say the least.

But, most importantly, there’s nothing in his statement that suggests that, because the end is near, we can be profligate in our utilization of natural resources.

Yes, true. Thankfully this can quash part of the Moyers arguement.

I’m still a bit nervous about his attitudes toward the environment and his reasoning for (or is it against...?) stewardship. There is an important link between morality and proper preservation and careful conservation of our environment, non-exclusively to natural resources, specifically.

Frankly, I’m worried about both of your attitudes towards the environment.

How many animal-rights activists are also pro-abortion? I am more than willing to go out on a limb and say most of them.

There is more than enough work to keep all of us busy. I would never argue that everbody has to spend all of their time outlawing abortion. The question he poses is "what are your values?"

The environmental movement is full of people that love trees - but hate people. Environmentalism has all of the signs of a religious cult.

Bottom line, if the rare "fluff-fluff" tree could be used to cure aids, the "fluff-fluff" tree would be gone!

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t they have a name for grabbing large chunks of land in the name of "the people" and then not letting the people enjoy what they supposedly own?

I thought it was called socialism.

Mr. Kelso,

What, exactly, in my environmental position are you worried about?

Please accept my apology in advance if I misunderstood you, but when you said:

Now, he doesn’t seem to be advocating permitting big oil to drill in ANWR so that credulous red-staters can drive their SUV’s to sensitive wetlands, where they unload their ATV’s so that they can shoot all the deer and drink all the beer before the Apocalypse.

I took you for one who supports the ever increasing Government ownership of land in the US.

Did I read you wrong?

Heaven forbid, no!

My apologies!

I must have been humor-deficient that day.

Mr. Kelso,

I’m trying to understand your connection between environment and abortion. Are they not two different issues? If someone has a stance on abortion and another on environment, the two are not dealt with in the same breath in Congress, are they?

LaHaye may be asking what our values are, but his connection between abortion and environment are hard to understand and still seem out of place if that was, indeed, his question.

And with the knowledge that said "fluff-fluff tree" were to cure AIDS, I think, rather, I’m sure that there would be an effort to preserve the resource. Isn’t that what conservation is all about? Wouldn’t that be the moral thing to do? Think of all the lives we would save in preserving the last stands of fluff-fluff trees!

My words are my own.

My point is on values. As much as I like trees, I like human beings much better. Many on the left have shown little care for the lives of actual human beings, while hyperventilating at the future of every snail or puddle of water.

As for my example, it’s just a either/or example. There are people out there that would in fact choose the tree over the human being if they HAD to make a choice.

Mr. Kelso,

My point is also on values. I’m having a hard time understanding how one could not respect environment and anti-abortion values at the same time with your arguement. It seems rather closed-minded to not understand that our environment directly affects our lives. There is a food web, not a chain, where one must understand the need to conserve and preserve the environment and our natural resources to ensure a well-oiled and properly-functioning machine known as humanity.

Again, are we saying that because one may be pro-abortion or pro-choice that they do not value human life at all? Are we then saying that we must put environment on the back burner until we all agree that we should protect all human life from conception to (natural) death? I think it is irresponsible to be planning so hard for protection of human life while ignoring the surrounding environment that will provide the food, shelter, and asthetic enjoyment for their very life.

Your statement that there is someone that would choose a tree over a human life is certainly true, however there are certainly more who would value both equally if it came down to it. Or, (drumroll please) there are even more people that value human life first, but understand the need to conserve and preserve our natural environment and natural resources. The radical loons who would value a tree over a human life certainly fall into the ELF and PETA-type folks who are, most certainly, terrorists with a horribly misplaced agenda. Again, even they are in a tiny minority of any "left-winger" who may be pro-environmental and pro-life/pro-death/pro-choice.

I like nature and wish to conserve that which we do not use. I do not worship nature. There is not a crisis in our country when it comes to the environment.

As for what is the minority opinion on the left, you could have fooled me.

Mr. Kelso, I’m so very confused about your statements. Are you telling me that you think that PETA and the ELF are the majority opinion of an environmental movement. I would have to say, speaking from experience, not a guess, that the majority of "left" opinion would not be that of the ELF or PETA. With your understanding of environment I fear you would say that a majority of Muslims are extemists--hell-bent on Christianity-ending terrorism.

I fear that you think environmentalism is a liberal issue, not an issue for conservatives to worry about. Sadly, that is only the view of a minority. Your lumping of abortion/human-life rights and environmental issues is off base. I don’t worship nature, either. Amazing, I know. The issue of environmental and natural resource management through preservation and conservation have been part of both Democratic and Republican politics for years, only to be neglected in recent times.

Roosevelt was also the nation’s first environmentalist, setting aside 190 million acres for national forests, coal and water reserves, and wildlife refuges. His conflict with his chosen successor, President William Howard Taft, partly concerned Taft’s failure to adequately pursue

Yikes, a Republican who cared about conservation and protecting wild lands! Don’t forget this:

"Roosevelt took on hundreds of issues, asserting his strong opinions in areas as diverse as morals, literature, art, marriage, divorce, birth control, and football."

Double yikes!

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