Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Recycle or meet the devil

"Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's"; that's what it says in the bible, so why can't the clergy abide by that?

We see too many church leaders go beyond spiritual guidance and enter the realm of the Caesar's world. Bishops and national religious orders have campaigned for immigration reform and require pastors to read messages to their flock urging changes in immigration law. Parishioners are asked to legalize acceptance of illegal immigrants, care for them and reward them with amnesty so they can become citizens. Perhaps this can be attributed to a concern for the impoverished and a desire for humanitarian conduct. But how in the world can religious leaders feel they have a right to dictate whether we separate plastic bottles from other trash?

Southern Baptist ministers have climbed on board the global warming train and want to bring their followers along for the ride too. But, perhaps the most disappointing extension of biblical teaching was recently pronounced on behalf of the Vatican. If we don't recycle plastic bottles, we could find ourselves spending eternity in Hell; that's what a spokesman for the Vatican said as he added to the list of the traditional seven deadly sins. Furthermore, profit-making capitalists contribute to "social injustice" and that could be sinful as well.

You may have learned as I did that the seven deadly sins are lust, gluttony, avarice, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. Now however, according to Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, a close aid of the Pope and the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, one of the Roman Curia's main courts, as he told the L'Osservatore Romano (the official Vatican newspaper), these seven sins have a "rather individualistic dimension. He said we must be aware of "new sins which have appeared on the horizon of humanity as a corollary of the unstoppable process of globalization. He also listed bad ecological practices and economic inequality, "in which the poor are getting poorer and the rich growing richer, fueling an unsustainable social injustice."

Girotti said: "Whereas sin in the past was thought of as being an individual matter, it now has 'social resonance'." "You offend God not only by stealing, blaspheming or coveting your neighbor's wife, but also by ruining the environment, carrying out morally debatable scientific experiments, or allowing genetic manipulations which alter DNA or compromise embryos."

So what are the 'deadly sins' of our time? The Vatican says climate change 'will spark global conflict' and therefore to the deadly sin list we must include polluting the environment and contributing to climate change. However, not only are greenhouse gas emitters on the path to you know where, but according to Monsignor Girotti we must add causing social injustice, causing poverty, becoming obscenely wealthy and taking drugs to the list of sins which are "mortal sins".

According to Roman Catholic doctrine, mortal sins are a "grave violation of God's law" and bring about "eternal death" if unrepented by the act of confession. They are far more serious than venial sins, which impede a soul's progress in the exercise of virtue and moral good. The new additions to the seven deadly, or mortal, sins, are, according to the Monsignor "designed to make worshippers realize that their vices have an effect on others as well". "The sins of today have a social resonance as well as an individual one," said the good Monsignor. "In effect, it is more important than ever to pay attention to your sins." Notice the moral equivalency given contributing to global warming with other "vices".

I have read the bible twice and several translations of the Koran. No where in these texts can be found a teaching that contributing to global warming according to the Al Gore doctrine is a sin or even a 'no no'. So why then are religious leaders now defining "sin" to include politically incorrect behavior?

I don't have an answer to the question, do you?

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