Cracks in the Ice II



(Continued from the preceding post.)

‘Better Late Than Never’

Would no response from religion have been better than being late and short?  No. The response has, at least, provided some foundation for a potential recovery following collapse. Has enough of a foundation been laid to carry a green theme through the coming collapse and into an undefinable future? That is hard to tell. Authoritarian governments have in the past incorporated strong ‘green’ themes. This is not to imply that environmental advocates could work easily with authoritarian, even fascist governments as collapse progresses. In the US, the situation becomes even more complex because of religion. Having watched the situation during the Bush Administration of 2000-2008, and currently, it is not stretching the point to perceive of an increasingly close alignment between rightist governments and the Christian Right. With one exception, it is hard to see a green component in such a comingling. The exception might be the increasing vilification and demonization of environmental advocates, much as has been done to ethnic and religious groups by rightist advocates. As some of the environmental tipping points actually tip we might also see a tendency to blame the messenger.

All governments require control. While consent of the governed might be the basis of democratic government, command and control is the essence of authoritarian governments and the hidden heart of organized, institutional religion. In the US the years from 2000-20008 have demonstrated how quickly the electorate will surrender its civil rights in time of threat and the period since then has demonstrated how easily the Congress can be neutered. In addition, the rage of those attracted to the jack-boot set will grow as the global food crisis deepens, the economic situation worsens, and job loss continues. In the US, this rage may, as it has with other authoritarian governments at other times, provide ready recruits for those movements that tend to support the political right. Energized by methamphetamine, the sacrament of the poor ‘heartlander’ and Southerner (although not limited to these regions) and whipped into a hate-filled fury by those thousands of preachers whose messages are broadcast nightly from hundreds of radio stations scattered across the United States, there is little question that conditions are rapidly becoming such that these movements may find fertile ground for rapid recruitment and development.

This note is a comment on the belated response of religions and theologies to Earth in Crisis. The work undertaken in the field of ecotheology should, however, indeed must continue. As an institution, religion has many tragic failings but its response to the world environmental crisis isn’t one of them, it is simply late; no more belated, however, than any other institution of society and a bit ahead of some. Depending on the length and ‘depth’ of societal collapse, the work in ecotheology, if it survives, may provide a partial foundation for recovery. We have all been a day late and a dollar short and now we will pay the price. How much we can salvage for the future remains the question. In his book Black Mass, author Ronald Wright tells us that “…this new century will not grow very old before we enter an age of chaos and collapse that will dwarf all the dark ages in our past.”


Now, however…


the world waits
for events to
turn

for cities to
burn

for plagues to
churn.


(For a fully referenced paper on this subject please access http://www.greeninstitute.net/ scroll down the left side of the page to the note on the Interdisciplinary Initiative and click.)

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