I was dumbfounded when I read Robert H. Nelson’s article (TNT, 4-19) claiming environmentalism is a religion. Such twisted reasoning from one who purports to be an academic.
The Oxford English Dictionary (the authority on English) defines religion as “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods …” But Nelson says belief in the supernatural is not necessary. Just belief – beliefs like rivers catching fire, wholesale contamination of our environment with pesticides to the point of eradicating birds, and air pollution causing respiratory disease are not desirable.
These beliefs led to the first Earth Day and environmentalism – caring about the surroundings one lives in.
Nelson believes that the science documenting facts about human-environment interaction should not be taught in school unless Judaism and Protestantism (but not Catholicism or Buddhism?) may be taught as equally valid thought systems.
The tenets of environmentalism, as taught in real universities, are based in scientific and technical studies and are subject to examination, debate, testing and rejection. The same can be said of religions when taught as cultural developments in academic settings in which they are also subject to free inquiry also. But where does that take place in the United States?
The conflation of cultural movements based on science and secular humanism (a system of basing policy decisions on rational thought, free inquiry and open discussion) with religion is just a subterfuge for promoting the introduction of favored religions into public schools and places (anti-constitutional establishment of religion).