"Bishop claims environment abusers as bad as sex beast Fritzl," colorfully declared the headline of the Birmingham (England) Post. The May 31 article began: "The Bishop of Stafford has compared people who ignore the effects of climate change to the Austrian child sex monster Josef Fritzl."
In all too common fashion for Global Warming alarmists, the Anglican bishop recently employed a pastoral letter to liken dissenters on Global Warming to Josef Fritzl, who fathered seven children by his daughter, who was locked up in the basement across two decades.
"Josef Fritzl represents merely the most extreme form of a very common philosophy of life: I will do what makes me happy, and if that causes others to suffer, hard luck," the Very Rev. Gordon Mursell explained to his Diocese of Lichfield. "In fact you could argue that, by our refusal to face the truth about climate change, we are as guilty as he is – we are in effect locking our children and grandchildren into a world with no future and throwing away the key."
The bishop continued: "We are right to be disgusted at these crimes. But mere disgust is too convenient. There are lessons for all of us to learn." Presumably, for the bishop, the "lessons" are that the world must rally to his brand of Global Warming alarmism, lest we all become moral lepers like the monstrous Austrian father.
Trying to sound hopeful, the bishop helpfully recalled that the Bible is "full of stirring visions of a new cosmos - not just a new church, but a new world," in which "ill-health will be unheard-of, everyone will be properly housed and employed, and even animals will live together in peace." The Rev. Mursell pointed to the historic Christian promise of a troubled creation eventually reclaimed by God. But for the bishop, there is a caveat.
"A fantasy?" he asked about the messianic promise. "That depends on us." Typically for left-wing church prelates, the bishop does not apparently believe the universe's redemption relies on God but instead on human efforts, presumably through left-wing political action. "And anyway, we need good and attractive fantasies which will draw people away from the sick perversions of a Josef Fritzl and the empty slogans of so many politicians."
Surprised by the unwanted publicity about his comparison of Global Warming skeptics to a child rapist, the Bishop of Stafford quickly responded with an official clarification, which instead compared Global Warming to the cataclysmic 2004 tsunami and the recent Cyclone Nargis that killed 134,000 in Burma.
"Surely if we could have done something to save lives we would have done it?" the bishop querulously asked. Answering his own question, he sarcastically responded: "Well, maybe not." He archly observed that his pastoral letter likening Global Warming skeptics to the Austrian child abuser had received "widespread media attention and criticism."
The Rev. Mursell insisted: "I am not saying that people who refuse to accept the reality of global change are child abusers." He wanted to "set the record straight" and was not suggesting that, to quote the BBC News website's headline: 'Climate deniers are like Fritzl.' And he apologized for "being unclear" to "people who are offended because they think I have said that people who deny climate change are like paedophiles."
But the bishop insisted that he would not "retract" his prophetic pastoral letter, since it simply was about the clear cut issue of "sin." Generously, the Rev. Mursell granted that "we have the liberty in the West of debating whether climate change is real or perceived." But he implored that "people are dying" from climate change.
Declaring that Global Warming is too important to leave simply to scientists, the Rev. Mursell cited a claim that 250 million people will be "forced" by climate change to leave their homes before 2050. Meanwhile, 30 million will go hungry, and water shortages will parch the throats of 1-3 billion people.
Climate change is "real and it is here and is having an effect now," the bishop concluded. "Thousands of lives are at risk." Actually, if we are to take the English prelate's claims seriously, billions of lives are potentially at risk. The Rev. Mursell's apocalyptic understanding of climate change is woefully common among left-wing Western church officials, ever eager to replace their own depleted faith with the new political cause du jour.
That new cause nearly always involves vast expansions of state power at the expense of personal liberty. Such demands for massively centralized regulation can only be morally justified by cosmologically immense potential catastrophes, scenarios on which Global Warming alarmists, especially on the Religious Left, are expert at portraying on a biblical scale.
Mark D. Tooley directs the United Methodist committee at the Institute on Religion and Democracy in Washington, D.C.