If you think the religious right is bad — and it is — get a load of the religious left. Brian McLaren unites religion and environmentalism in an assault on capitalism. The fit makes perfect sense by the premises of both ideologies, for each disdains the materialism and greed of this world. The logic of the religious left is more internally coherent than that of the religious right, although neither corresponds to reality.
McLaren states his case clearly — more clearly than Obama’s vapid rhetoric.
For many people, economic recovery means “getting back to where we were a few months or years ago.” That means recovering our consumptive, greedy, unrestrained, undisciplined, irresponsible, and ecologically and socially unsustainable way of life.
What used to be called prosperity or economic growth is now very bad, as that list of adjectives above shows. McLaren goes on, using the moronic language of our new age therapeutic culture to argue that we are “addicted” to carbon, weapons, fear and so on. Everything the left does not like, such as productivity, buying material goods and a strong national defense, is now an “addiction.” (One could with just as much sense assert that we are addicted to mysticism and therefore no one should listen to McLaren.)
The religious left is a small faction now, but I think it will grow to be a huge threat to liberty. As public schools dumb down America, more and more people will be receptive to a political movement founded in a woozy metaphysical fantasy. As others have noted, religion gives environmentalism the veneer of a moral ideal, whereas environmentalism gives religion the veneer of practicality in this world. The union of the moral and the practical, however specious and dishonest their claims are, can be a powerful force. The religious left could lead America in a righteous march into a lower standard of living for all. Progress would slow, freedom disappear, opportunities dry up, and poverty spread — all in the name of sacrifice to God and “the planet.”