Climate Change: The Bell Tolls for Thee

by | Dec 14, 2009 | Frontline

Last week, the worldwide summit on
climate change in Denmark encouraged some and terrified others. During the past
few years, the debate among many informed people has not just been focused on
whether or not the globe is getting warmer, but about how our nation should
respond to the perceived international threat.  

A few years ago Tony Perkins, president
of The Family Research Council, and I decided to tackle the question of climate
change and evaluate popular proposals based on two things: 1.) a measurable
return on investment  and 2.) the value of human life. Our thoughts are
catalogued in the book Personal Faith, Public Policy. Based on our
study, we are very concerned about the direction that our current
administration may be seduced into following in the name of saving the planet.
Unfortunately for the U.S., there are always wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing
— supposed “saviors” that may lead us astray.

What was most alarming to Perkins and I
was the resurgence of the call for population control as part of the
international prescription to prevent global warming. We are concerned that
human life will be devalued in order to protect the ecosystem. As believers,
all of us must make sure that population control is not chosen as a major way
of balancing out the CO2 equation. Population control is a loaded term that
includes not only abortion, contraception and sterilization, but infanticide
and in some cases the promotion of same-sex relations. In an almost Orwellian
manner, women from China have testified before the U.S. Congress of forced
abortions, as late as nine months into the pregnancy. “Big brother” in China
also forced sterilizations because of the nation’s population control measures. 

Last Friday, Laura Ingraham confirmed
my concerns that we in the west could fall prey to wrong-headed solutions to
population control. She bravely tackled this issue on the O’Reilly Factor
by interviewing a self-proclaimed Canadian feminist who extolled the virtues of
the Chinese “one child” policy. When asked how such a policy would be carried
out, her guest feigned ignorance while insisting that bringing a child into a
poverty-stricken environment was somehow immoral.

The present call for population control
by secular environmental activists is not unlike the warnings sounded by Thomas
Malthus in 1798, who said the world’s growing population was growing
exponentially while the earth’s food supply could at best be increased only
arithmetically.

According to Malthus, the population would soon overtax the
planet’s ability to sustain the human race. He argued for policies that would
result in a decreased population among the poor classes. He warned that if both
private and public policies to limit population were not enacted and wars did
not decrease the population, disease and famine would. He obviously
underestimated the creativity of the generations that followed him. The
innovative power of those generations fueled the Industrial Revolution and increased
the average agricultural yield per acre. 

Similar to Malthus, Stanford University
professor Paul R. Ehrlich, sounded an alarm about population control in 1968.
His book, The Population Bomb, predicted millions of people would die of
starvation in the 1970s and 1980s without population control. The hysteria
created by Ehrlich paved the way for the United Nation’s Population Fund, which
was established in 1969. Ehrlich believed that those nations who refused to
institute his population controls were willing to let citizens of those nations
starve to death. He also believed that Indian men who had more than three
children should be sterilized by force.  Global population control became
a major focus of the United Nations as they projected the planet to be overrun
with 11.5 billion people. Fortunately for us, Ehrlich was not a prophet.
Virtually nothing he wrote came to pass. The UN now admits that the human race,
which stands at 6.6 billion people, will fall far short of their projections
and peak at 8.5 billion. Demographers currently say that once the population
peaks, it will start a long-term decline because of falling birth rates. 

Even though the fertility rate is
declining across the board in Western nations, it is the most Christian nations
that have the highest birth rates. Declining population may eventually become a
problem in the west because we have seen children as the consumers of limited
resources – rather than a reward and heritage from Lord.   

While some well-meaning Christians
organized a public a demonstration of solidarity with the Denmark Climate
Change summit, we must all beware that we don’t miss the forest for the trees.
This past Sunday David Hallman of the World Council of Churches recruited
churches in Copenhagen to ring their church bells 350 times in recognition of
the 350 parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere goals set by popular
climatologists.  Undoubtedly, these activists see the devastating
ecological impacts of climate change as a death sentence on many of the world’s
poorest and most marginalized peoples. Unfortunately, though, they have not
thought that we could use the considerable financial and scientific resources
of more developed countries to help poorer nations industrialize and
strategically assist their poorer citizens in moving from disaster prone
regions to places of safety, obtaining better jobs and more productive
lives. 

We don’t need to hear any more bells of
affirmation, we need to sound a meaningful alarm that says, “Human life is
still important on this planet and that we will carefully, ethically and
strategically steward the earth!”

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