The FFRF Action Fund is calling for an end to the denial of the sound science of human-made climate change.
By all accounts, July 2023 was the hottest month on record. European officials noted that global temperatures were a third of a degree higher than the previous record month of July 2019. To put that in perspective, record temperatures are typically broken by hundredths or a tenth of a degree. And extreme weather events are bUhecoming more common, including the recent horrifying inferno on Maui.
Yet Christian nationalist lawmakers have finally found the talking points they will use to react the wrong way: Project 2025, dubbed a Republican “battle plan” to dismantle efforts to mitigate global warming that has been produced by the religion-based Heritage Foundation. The infamous plan, which includes bringing independent agencies under direct presidential control, lays out the first 180 days of the next Republican president. Part of the plan is to deep-six federal regulations to lower greenhouse gas emissions from cars, gas and oil wells and power plants, undo clean energy programs and — unbelievably — to irresponsibly increase the production of fossil fuels. One can only assume the authors of Project 2025 have been misled by religious dogma to consider this life on Earth to be disposable since a celestial afterlife awaits them.
A large swath of climate change denial comes from evangelical Christians. Their denial is not merely a byproduct of their generally conservative political stance — there is something deeper at play here. A 2013 study that was conducted for the book, The Gospel of Climate Skepticism, by Robin Veldman, found that 31 percent of evangelicals cited religion to explain why they did not accept climate change. The skepticism is not exclusive to evangelicals, however; Catholics have also taken up religious rhetoric to justify the change in climate. Veldman highlighted a response from one Catholic who noted that “only God controls the weather.”
A recent major survey by the Pew Research Center of more than 10,000 adult Americans finds that “Americans with lower levels of religious commitment are much more likely than those with medium or high levels of religious commitment to say the Earth is getting warmer because of human activity.” And, no surprise, evangelical Protestants are among the least likely to view global climate change as a very serious problem, with only 34 percent agreeing.
Those sentiments continue. A study published in 2023 shows that religious radicals still view the Earth as a place with a predetermined destiny. Part of that belief lies in Genesis 8:21-22, wherein God says, “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.” To many Christians who deny the harmful effects of climate change, God’s promise to not repeat his genocidal acts is enough to turn a blind eye to this global crisis.
This narrative has also struck a chord with members of Congress and lawmakers in statehouses. In 2010, John Shimkus, a Congressman from downstate Illinois, dismissed climate change concerns by echoing the ridiculous belief that “God said the Earth would not be destroyed by a flood.” Texas Congressman Jon Barton also cited the bible to rebuke scientific consensus that humans have contributed to climate change. “I would point out that if you are a believer in the bible, one would have to say the great flood was an example of climate change,” Barton once told a congressional hearing.
In contrast to evangelicals, nine in 10 atheists understand that human activity is causing climate change.
“The evangelical denial of climate change based on nonsensical scripture is as dangerous as it is ignorant,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF Action president. “Fundamentalist religious dogma needs to get out of the way so that the rest of us can save our planet, and ensure a pleasant and secure future for our descendants — the only afterlife that should concern any of us.”
FFRF Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that develops and advocates for legislation, regulations, and government programs to preserve the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. It also advocates for the rights and views of nonbelievers, endorses candidates for political office, and publicizes the views of elected officials concerning religious liberty issues. FFRF Action Fund serves as the advocacy arm of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which has more than 40,000 members and works to keep religion out of government and educate the public about nontheism.