Thursday, December 8, 2016

Advent and the Apocalypse

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

Luke 21:25-26

The Advent texts that speak of the “Second Coming” present imagery that is wildly out of step with the manger scenes and Christmas trees that decorate our homes.

At least that is usually the case.

This year the images of apocalypse seem remarkably relevant. And that is pretty much the heart of the problem.

Honestly, I don’t know what to say. Or where to begin.

We have a President elect who has at best a tangential relationship to the truth. And we have cabinet appointments that are barely believable.

The nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency may not be the worst proposed appointment, but it is bad enough.

In an editorial criticizing the Pruitt nomination, the New York Times writes:
“This is an aggressively bad choice, a poke in the eye to a long history of bipartisan cooperation on environmental issues, to a nation that has come to depend on the agency for healthy air and drinkable water, and to 195 countries that agreed in Paris last year to reduce their emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases in the belief that the United States would show the way. A meeting Monday between Mr. Trump and Al Gore had raised hope among some that the president-elect might reverse his campaign pledge to withdraw the United States from the Paris accord. The Pruitt appointment says otherwise.”

Mr. Pruitt is not just critical of the E.P.A.; he wants to dismantle it. As Oklahoma Attorney General he has joined lawsuits against regulations reducing soot and smog pollution that crosses state lines and he has fought against regulations that provide protections against toxic pollutants from power plants.

Perhaps most troubling, he does not believe in the science of climate change. He is a proponent of the fossil fuel industry and wants to roll back our commitment to reducing greenhouse gasses.

For Christians concerned about the stewardship of planet earth, this is serious stuff.

His disagreements with the E.P.A. are not just about opposing some regulations, though that would be a problem all by itself. The real issue is that he disagrees with the science behind the regulations. And his disagreement with the science is ideological and political rather than scientific.

The bottom line is that an agency built on science will be directed by a person who does not believe in science.

Thank you for reading. Your thoughts and comments are always welcome. Please feel free to share on social media as you wish. 


  1. there's a typo in your piece in paragraph six "may not" appears twice, sequentially.

  2. Thank you for noting the typo! I have corrected it.