Climate Change and Religion: How Separation of Church and State Safeguards Well Being

By Donald B. Ardell Ph.D. | 4 April 2017
Seek Wellness

Introduction: REAL Wellness and the Environment

The REAL wellness concept, that is, attitudes and choices that promote positive lifestyles, is not a Republican or Democratic concept. It’s an apolitical commitment to disciplined thinking and behavior that advances health (its own reward) while preventing illness (an attractive side effect).

Anyone who practices such a wellness lifestyle will know that wellbeing cannot be sustained with personal efforts alone. No man (or woman) is an island, as John Dunn famously noted; other factors have an immense influence on the quality of our lives—most especially our immediate and the larger environment of which we are a part.

A wellness lifestyle will not get you far in a war zone, in a city besieged by a modern day plague or a community engulfed by an ecological disaster, such as floods and famines of biblical proportion.

President Trump and Climate Change

In late March, President Trump signed an executive directive to remove regulations that to some measure mitigated the impact of climate change. This action will revoke the Clean Power Plan that would have closed coal-fired power plants; wind and solar farms will no longer be supported.

The head of EPA, Scott Pruitt, is a climate change denier and a religious fundamentalist. This is true of most of Trump’s appointees. When supernatural beliefs drive public policies, science is ignored. Climate change denial is founded on religious dogma, not evidence concerning the nature of reality. Rick Perry, Trump’s secretary of energy, is well known for mocking climate science, based solely on his religious devotions to bible stories, blind faith and wishful thinking. Other prominent climate denialists include Mike Pence, James Inhofe, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum.

Donald Trump. (Screenshot from YouTube)

There is a reluctance to call out the influence of extreme religious belief as a controlling factor in climate change denial. However, the correlation between religiosity and climate change delusion is clear. Consider the following:

“My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.” Sen. Inhofe, R-OK

“Jesus would be for whatever is best for the poor. A warmer climate—if it’s even happening—is better for the poor.” Conservative Christian radio host Bryan Fischer

“The Earth will end only when God declares it’s time to be over. Man will not destroy this Earth. This Earth will not be destroyed by a flood…. I do believe God’s word is infallible, unchanging, perfect.” Rep John Shimkus, R-IL

Why the Twain Should Not Meet, Nor Blend

If there were a stronger, clearer demarcation between government and public policy and religious dogma, there would be less conflict not just over policies for minimizing the dangers of climate change, but also evolution, women’s reproductive rights, taxpayer funding of religious schools (i.e., vouchers) and so much else.

It could be worse: Martin Luther counseled, “Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his Reason.” This reminds us of Mark Twain’s observation that “faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”

A virulent strain of evangelicalism infects our current government. Too many politicians are animated with religious worldviews that welcome the destruction of this world, believing in apocalyptic “End Times” as a fulfillment of prophecy and a second coming.

Whether you live a healthy wellness-oriented lifestyle or not, concern for the environment should be a high priority. A recent FFRF news release put it this way:

“The only afterlife we ought to care about is leaving our descendants and our planet a secure and pleasant future. Systems that deny facts and reality must not be used to dictate public policy. We have a duty to our children and grandchildren, to posterity, to the other species we share our planet with, to ensure our world is habitable for the future.”

Reprinted with permission from the author.

Donald B. Ardell has degrees from The George Washington University, The University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), Stanford University and The Union Institute. Dr. Ardell is the author of 15 books about REAL wellness and produces a regular Wellness Report online (821 editions since 1984). Sample copies available on request to He is an outspoken freethinker. Check out

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