"Scott Pruitt vs. The Pope"

"The EPA administrator has become the de facto spokesperson for a fringe version of Christian environmentalism."

"Pope Francis sparked a media frenzy in 2015 with the release of his second encyclical, Laudato Si. One of the highest forms of official Catholic Church teaching, the document presented the moral case for tackling climate change on behalf of the poor and vulnerable. But there was another, less-noticed purpose for Francis’s document: To reject an insidious notion among Christians that God wants humans to exploit the Earth’s natural resources.

This notion stems from the book of Genesis, in which God gives man “dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Some Christians wrongly believe that this passage “invites us to subjugate the earth, the savage exploitation of nature would be encouraged, presenting the image of human beings as ruler and destroyer,” Francis wrote. “This is not the correct interpretation of the Bible as intended by the Church.”

The idea that “dominion” is a free pass to exploit is nonetheless central to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who has recently become the de facto spokesperson for the anti-Pope brand of Christian environmentalism. Speaking on the pro-Trump Christian Broadcasting Network last week, Pruitt said his faith is partially what motivates him to remove regulations on higher-polluting sources of energy like coal, oil, and natural gas. “The biblical worldview with respect to these issues is that we have a responsibility to manage and cultivate, harvest the natural resources that we’ve been blessed with to truly bless our fellow mankind,” he said. Those comments attracted a lot of media attention, but it’s not the first time he has invoked his faith to defend his policies. “God has blessed us with natural resources,” he told Politico in July. “Let’s use them to feed the world. Let’s use them to power the world. Let’s use them to protect the world.”"

Emily Atkin reports for the New Republic February 27, 2018.


"Scott Pruitt Is Gutting the EPA Because He Thinks It’s God’s Plan" (Mother Jones)

"For Christians, the Green Revolution is Stalling — and Politics May Be Why" (Religion News Service)

"How Dangerously Dirty Water Is Threatening One Of The World's Ancient Religions" (UNEP)

"Is Christianity Greening? Depends On Who (and How) You Ask" (Religion Dispatches)

"Scott Pruitt Cited The Bible To Defend His Oil-Friendly Policies" (Vox)

Source: New Republic, 02/28/2018