Rush Limbaugh has sunk to new lows. I usually dismiss his incendiary comments, but I can't ignore them when he takes on two things that matter deeply to me: Christianity and climate change.
Limbaugh recently told his devoted listeners, "If you believe in God, then intellectually you cannot believe in manmade global warming."
His statement doesn't just defy logic. It is profoundly out of step with contemporary Christianity. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, numerous other denominations and evangelical groups have issued statements about the need to confront the threat of climate change.
This call to action is based on the notion of creation care: God created a beautiful and abundant world and we humans have a responsibility to tend it. If Limbaugh hasn't heard of this concept, I don't know where he goes to church, because it is being discussed in faith communities across the nation by passionate Christians who not only want to care for the gift we call the earth - but also future generations.
I have family members who listen to Limbaugh, and while they may share some of his politics, they would not appreciate his flippant attitudes about God's creation -- or his disregard for free will.
In describing why he thinks Christians should deny climate change, he explained: "You must be either agnostic or atheistic to believe that man controls something that he can't create." It seems Limbaugh is forgetting that God gave humans the will to make our own decisions. Remember that little incident in the Garden of Eden? We don't live there anymore, which reminds us that we can choose to honor God's wishes and his creation, or we can choose to disregard him and despoil the planet.
All too often, humans make bad choices -- I ask God for forgiveness several times a day. But fortunately there is grace. There is the chance to heal and repair. This is true in the Christian tradition -- and many others -- and it is true for the environment. We can clean up the air, we can make the water safer, and we can take steps to stabilize the climate.
Limbaugh doesn't have to agree; he has his own free will and can decide how he wants to conduct his own life. But I don't want people to think his fanatical views on climate change actually represent Christianity.
As far as I am concerned, Limbaugh is no different from the Westboro Baptist Church folks. He too takes extreme positions that have no basis in the Bible. Jesus didn't picket funerals and he didn't trash the Earth. Even in the 40 days he spent in the desert, he lived in harmony with God's creation. Now that is our task: to be grateful for what we have been given and to take care of it the best we can.