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The Religious Right — not a purely Christian phenomenon

15 May 2010

I recently read a blog post pointing out that the film Avatar (which I have yet to see), is a thinly-disguised parable about the exploitation of the forests of Ecuador. It also had a link to an article in a Jewish publication, which expressed the following sentiment: Ann Coulter:

The ethic of conservation is the explicit abnegation of man’s dominion over the Earth. The lower species are here for our use. God said so: Go forth, be fruitful, multiply, and rape the planet — it’s yours. That’s our job: drilling, mining and stripping. Sweaters are the anti-Biblical view. Big gas-guzzling cars with phones and CD players and wet bars — that’s the Biblical view.

Now I thought that such sentiments were a parody of Christian theology mainly employed by “green” neopagans to promote the idea that it was the Christian worldview that was responsible for the deterioration of the environment. It was quite a shock to see that it was actually being expressed, apparently quite seriously, in a Jewish publication. This was not The Onion. I’m not sure who Ann Coulter is, but I wonder what her rabbi would have to say about it. I’m no fundi on Orthodox Judaism, but I somehow doubt that most rabbis would accept that interpretation.

The blog post on Avatar is also interesting from another point of view. Blogging from the Bog :: Avatar or Equador? :: January :: 2010:

In the new John Cameron blockbuster, the 3D fantasy ‘Avatar’, a foreign corporation swoops down on an indigenous forest peoples to plunder their resources. Armed with mercenaries, a business plan, and an insatiable desire for shareholder profits, they will stop at nothing to feed their greed. The fantasy part of the story is it’s location.

For thirty years Texaco, now owned by Chevron, profited from cheap oil extracted from the forests of the Amazon (known as the ‘lungs’ of our planet) leaving behind an environmental disaster for the people of Equador. Following the logic expressed by Ann Coulter in her quote ‘God said so: Go forth, be fruitful, multiply, and rape the planet–it’s yours. That’s our job: drilling, mining, and stripping.’, many corporations, including Hunt Oil in Peru, are doing just that.

That was cool for the people at the Jewish World Review and other members of the American religious right when they got the oil and people in Ecuador suffered the environmental consequences. Now with BP drilling off the American coast, the USA is suffering some of the consequences too — perhaps that will promote a somewhat different view. As Avaaz says:

We’ve all seen the outrageous images: a monstrous oil spill is gushing as much as 2,500,000 gallons of crude a day into the Gulf of Mexico.

Before the spill, U.S. President Obama and Congressional leaders were planning to ramp up offshore drilling. Now, with the spill, the politics have shifted — and an opportunity has opened for the world’s biggest historical climate polluter to shift away from oil and towards climate-safe energy sources.

At a moment like this, when leaders are making up their minds, the world’s voices can help tip the balance. Sign the petition urging the U.S. to stop offshore drilling and invest instead in clean renewable energy — the signatures will be delivered to the White House in Washington DC when we reach 500,000! Click to sign on now and spread the word:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/stop_offshore_drilling_2/?vl

8 Comments leave one →
  1. 15 May 2010 9:01 am

    OK, you need to use your google. Ann Coulter is not Jewish. If she is Christian, she is not a member of the “religious right,” as far as I know. I don’t think she is known for speaking on religious topics with great regularity, though she certainly is a far-right alarmist.

    But just out of curiosity, what exactly is a ‘purely Christian’ phenomenon? Has there been one since Pentecost?

    • 15 May 2010 9:33 am

      OK, I Googled and found this: Right Truth: ANN COULTER’S JEWISH PROBLEM – Right Truth Exclusive. So she’s apparently not Jewish, which leaves me wondering what she was doing writing for a Jewish publication. And, interestingly enough, the article quotes from the piece she wrote in the Jewish World Review.

      As for whether anything has been purely Christian, I was referring rather to journalists who refer to the “religious right” as though it were a purely Christian phenomenon.

  2. Rory Short permalink
    15 May 2010 12:35 pm

    Ann Coulter’s view does not surprise me at all. Our Western culture is imbued with it I am afraid. Until I reached a stage in life where my, I would hope, natural understanding of mine and humanity’s place in creation, each of us just a passing knot in the complex web of creation, I was also somewhat in the grip of that ego-centric view. The only way out of it is to work to expand ours and others consciousnesses.

  3. 15 May 2010 8:11 pm

    Thank you for considering my post worthy of inclusion into your own story! The Ecuador/ Chevron debacle is still unfolding, Bill Moyers wrote an article recently about how Chevron has won a court ruling against (free speech) and the makers of the movie “Crude” which included footage from research materials done in Ecuador, it’s scandalous to think what this corporation is getting away with, thanks again!

  4. 16 May 2010 2:02 pm

    You’ve never heard of Ann Coulter before? That’s another reason to consider yourself truly blessed, Steve.

    I will note that Coulter is pretty far out there, though she has a pretty strong following it seems. (One would think she wouldn’t keep dumping out her detestable books if someone wasn’t buying them.) But I’d be hesitant to present her as too representative of far-Right politics here in America, all the same.

    • 16 May 2010 6:33 pm

      My son works in a bookshop, so I’ll ask him if he has heard of her name or seen her books, but I’m sure I haven’t. The only Coulter I know of is fictional — the mother of Lyra in Philip Pullman’s His dark materials series, which obviously dosn’t count. But I gather she’s anti-Jewish, so I wonder what she was doing writing for a Jewish publication.

    • 16 May 2010 10:34 pm

      I’ve now asked my son, and he too had never heard of Ann Coulter, but when I described her views about oil drilling etc he said that that sounded like John Hagee, whom he has heard of (I hadn’t), who apparently writes similar stuff, and they sell quite a lot of it at the book shop.

  5. 16 May 2010 10:44 pm

    Coulter is popular because she is tall, blond, thin, and incendiary. She’s sort of a right-wing version of Michael Moore (except, as I said, attractive). She’s fairly close in tone to a Rush Limbaugh, though Limbaugh is honest enough to admit that a lot of what he does is entertainment. Coulter will say some pretty strange things with a straight face.

    That said, she is intelligent and will occasionally have a good point – I think she has a law degree from Columbia. (Even a broken clock is accurate sometimes, right?) But the Hagee comparison is inappropriate, because she’s not a pastor, theologian, or religious representative of any kind.

    But yeah, her stuff sells. But hey, at least some people are reading. They could be watching Soap Operas.

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