Warming Up To The Apocalypse


A new study draws a connection between the 76% of Republicans who “profess a belief in the Second Coming” and America’s inaction on climate change:

The study, based on data from the 2007 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, uncovered that belief in the “Second Coming” of Jesus reduced the probability of strongly supporting government action on climate change by 12 percent when controlling for a number of demographic and cultural factors. When the effects of party affiliation, political ideology, and media distrust were removed from the analysis, the belief in the “Second Coming” increased this effect by almost 20 percent.

“[I]t stands to reason that most nonbelievers would support preserving the Earth for future generations, but that end-times believers would rationally perceive such efforts to be ultimately futile, and hence ill-advised,” [David] Barker and Bearce explained. That very sentiment has been expressed by federal legislators. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) said in 2010 that he opposed action on climate change because “the Earth will end only when God declares it to be over.” He is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy.

I recall David Brooks’ comment on my book, The Conservative Soul, where he declaimed that my concern with religious fundamentalism taking over the GOP was a function of bad faith or ignorance. And yet here we have a clear policy position distorted beyond reason by fundamentalist claptrap. Add the support for Israeli settlements to the mix as well. It’s those who refuse to see or downplay religious fanaticism in the current GOP who are either writing in bad faith or have no idea what they are talking about.

(Image from Michaelangelo’s Last Judgment, courtesy Wikimedia)