Columns General story Government & Politics Mark Silk: Spiritual Politics Opinion

Bible face off: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez v. Sarah Huckabee Sanders

The University of Florida’s two-volume Hebrew Bible was printed in 1814 in Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of Price Library of Judaica 

This week the Notorious AOC cited Scripture for her purpose. Which was to slap down Sarah Huckabee Sanders for criticizing her views on climate change. OMG.

In case you missed the story, it goes like this.

On Monday, Martin Luther King day, AOC was being interviewed by Ta-Nehisi Coates and, alluding to the recent U.N. report’s claim that we have 12 years to prevent climate change disaster, inquired rhetorically, “Millennials and people, you know, Gen Z and all these folks that will come after us are looking up and we’re like: ‘The world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change and your biggest issue is how are we gonna pay for it?’ ”

Tuesday evening, after the remark was reported by The Hill, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked for a response by Fox News’ Sean Hannity. Ever alert to claims about the end of the world, the daughter of the sometime head of the Arkansas Baptist Convention flung down the spiritual gauntlet.

I don’t think that we are going to listen to her on much of anything, particularly anything that we will leave into the hands of a much, much higher authority. And certainly not listen to the freshman congresswoman on when the world may end.

After Raw Story reported that, AOC took up the challenge. “You shouldn’t need a Bible to tell you to protect our planet, but it does anyway” she tweeted, tipping her hat to Relevant Magazine for “Stopping Climate Change is a Part of Following Jesus,” an article by Evangelicals for Climate Action spokesman Kyle Meyaard-Schaap.

The next AOC tweet paraphrased Scripture as follows: “Genesis 1: God looked on the world & called it good not once, not twice, but seven times. Genesis 2: God commands all people to “serve and protect” creation. Leviticus: God mandates that not only the people, but the land that sustains them, shall be respected.”

Now, for the record, the Bible has come in for some criticism for seeming to give humankind free reign to exploit the rest of nature. And it was a bit of an exaggeration for AOC to suggest that the world would end in a dozen years. After all, the U.N. report only indicates that if major steps aren’t taken, an End Times scenario would begin then.

But as any red-blooded American pre-millennialist knows, you’ve got to be alert to the signs of the times.

Among the recent ones are the burning forests that are afflicting the American West with increasing intensity. As the old gospel song puts it, “God gave Noah the rainbow sign / No more water, the fire next time.”

When facing the imminence of the Apocalypse, fundamentalist Christians are adjured to amend their ways and bring as many people as possible into the fold. We believers in apocalyptic climate change should do no less.

Preach it, AOC!

About the author

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service

38 Comments

Click here to post a comment

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ childish belief that human beings can act with complete impunity in trashing the planet with excessive amounts of CO2 because God is in control would be laughable were it not so dangerous. As a Christian believer, I believe God gave us brains because S/he expected us to use them. Shutting off half the brain in service to willful ignorance and slavish devotion to fundamentalist dogma won’t do – not when everyone else’s fate hangs in the balance. Science deniers must be opposed at every turn. Vote them out and lock them up!

  • Oh yes mama. 12 more years and the Earth is toast! The divine AOC, high priestess of the Global Warming Religion, said so!

    Meanwhile, back in the real world, the Global Warmers seek to pressure America into damaging its own economy (and kneecapping its fossil-fuel-dependent low-income people, by the way.) But why? Because the GW’s lusteth for YOUR moolah, that’s why. They demand a huge, draining amount of free $$$$$$ — and they do NOT want America questioning their Royal Scam anymore.

    So here is what Reverend AOC is NOT telling you:
    (1) The alarmist UN-IPCC report that she’s trying to selling to you, contained a major science error. Go figure. http://www.climatedepot.com/2018/10/11/major-error-found-in-new-un-ipcc-report-un-distorted-data-from-discredited-study-scientist-reveals/
    (2) If AOC’s socialist “Green New Deal” comes true, you’ll WISH the Earth was gone in 12 years! Details here: https://www.conservativereview.com/news/no-climate-change-wont-end-the-world-in-12-years-but-alexandria-ocasio-cortezs-green-new-deal-would-end-america/

  • Dude, I ain’t got enough moolah to pay for all these manufactured Planetary Crisis gigs. I barely have enough cash to pay for Pop-Tarts!!

  • Dudes, what are your views on the roundness of the Earth, the efficacy of vaccination, Darwinian evolution, the red shift, the Big Bang, and the theory of relativity? Curious to know.

  • An economy that leaves so many without healthcare or homeless or in poverty or on the brink of poverty is already damaged.

  • God and the Bile in politics privilege the irrational and absolutism. How do you argue rationally once someone says, “God says,” or the “Bible says”? That’s it. Minds closed.

  • AOC is right on target. When confronted with a Biblical argument you have to respond with a Biblical argument you can’t respond with scientific facts! AND I must point out, it does shut off the discussion. Bible thumpers do have trouble with people that use the Bible against them!

  • The calvinists who are well represented by the following posts full of misrepresentation don’t have a clue as to what Christianity says about protecting the Earth. They can only bobble their heads and jerk their knees in synchronicity with the ignorant blatherings of tRump, Graham, Falwell, and others of their ilk. They need to repent and join a Christian Church rather than the Southern Baptist Cult or similar heretical/blasphemous/sacrilegious anti-Christian fake church. They also need to realize a so called literal or “inerrant” interpretation of the KJV, the worst of all the translations, is the key to their anti-Christian beliefs. It’s also way past time for Christians to call out and expose these calvinists for their gross misrepresentation of Christianity as it is the core of the decline in membership of our faith.

  • Dude, I remember, many years ago, when the media and a number of scientists were screaming about “the coming ice age”. Were you on board with that too then? Curious to know.

    As to your other topics:

    Round earth: Widely accepted by scholars since ancient Greek times. Also widely accepted by Christian scholars in Late Antiquity and Middle Ages: Basil the Great, Ambrose, Augustine, Bede, Isidore of Seville, etc.

    Efficacy of vaccination: Varies on the vaccine being discussed. Some flu vaccines are highly ineffective because they were designed to target the wrong strain of flu. Some vaccines have had harmful side effects in a small percentage of cases, while others had their ingredients changed due to safety concerns. Other vaccines seem fairly effective.

    Darwinian evolution: No longer followed in the form put forth by Darwin himself, being greatly modified by concepts such as “punctuated equilibrium”, etc.

    Red shift: I see no problem with it, although I do not know enough about electromagnetic radiation to say a lot about it. Do you?

    Big bang: A current theory tracing the start of our physical universe back to its earliest point. Interesting, but unable to say anything about before the big bang, or why there should be anything at all rather than nothing.

    Theory of Relativity: Seems to be a useful theory in the fields of astronomy and physics, an improvement on the earlier Mechanical Theory.

  • Ocasio-Cortez is right, Sarah Sanders is both wrong and as dumb as her boss, the awful Oaf in the Offal Office.

  • Once again Mark/Bob, the Holy Poobah and aspiring Grand Inquisitor, displays his disdain for science, common sense, and our planet’s future.

  • Don’t see a whole lot of calvinists in the following posts.

    Is that just your term of opprobrium for those you disagree with?

  • Great. All we needed was one more politician who puts unfiltered, undeveloped thoughts on Twitter. I don’t care about what either AOC or SHS thinks in this matter or any other.

    But I do care about science, and scientists overwhelmingly agree we need to do some course correcting regarding climate change. That’s good enough for me.

  • Person elected to serve her constituents vs person who was a nepotism hire whose job it is to run cover for a veracity impaired president. Whom should we trust there?

  • Our greatest expansion of the middle class came with tax policies you currently deride. The longest period of wage stagnation and decline come from 30 years of unworkable conservative supply side plunder of public resources.

    You are a science denialist. Your opinion concerning pollution and supplies of fossil fuels cannot be taken at its word.

  • So you are saying that opinions of a scientific nature should not change with new evidence and methods of analysis? That makes zero sense.

    What you criticize as evidence of lack of credibility is actually supportive of what makes it believable. That it is not inflexible and beholden to the egos of individual scientists or sunk costs thinking.
    M

  • Rick seems unaware of Gen. 2:15 — “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it AND TO KEEP IT.” Keep it would seem to mean “don’t screw it up.”

  • eddoer seems unaware that Genesis 2:15 NOWHERE tells us to SERVE creation, as that dippy AOC thinks.

    On the contrary, it says we are to TILL it, to CULTIVATE it (Hebrew: leabedah), that is, to make it serve US by producing rich crops.

    So you lame-brainedly zeroed in on the word I was not talking about (lasemerah – keep it), and ignored the word I was talking about (leabedah – cultivate it), the one AOC wrongly translated as “serve”.

    We are not called to serve the earth; we are called to cultivate it, that it may serve us.

    This does not, of course, preclude responsible stewardship of it; that would be included in the word “lasemerah” – keep it.

    But nowhere are we called it serve it. It serves us.

  • No, that’s not what I’m saying.

    In fact, I cited several instances of scientific opinions changing, so I said the exact opposite of what your “straw man Rick” allegedly said.

    It is however, prudent, to exercise caution with every new scientific fad which comes down the pike. Often they are nothing more than that: the latest fad. Nowhere has this been more true that with climate predictions over the last 60 years. To accept the latest prediction models – especially with so much disagreement about them – would be the height of naivete.

  • Well you were sarcastically moaning about a scientific theory changing over the years in line with new evidence, technology and methodology. So there really isn’t any other way to take your argument there.

    “It is however, prudent, to exercise caution with every new scientific fad which comes down the pike. ”

    What we have here is not caution, its deliberate avoidance and misrepresentation in light of present evidence. Denialism isn’t about caution. Its about ignoring present evidence in an intentional fashion.

  • I was pointing out how the past mania over global cooling was very similar to the current mania over global warming. We were supposed to be entering an ice age by now. Perhaps you are too young to remember all that. It makes me sceptical over this latest fad, especially with the diversity of evaluations of the soundness of the “present evidence”.

    Scepticism , not credulity, is at the heart of the scientific approach.

  • It serves us as long as we don’t screw it up, as Trump and his stupid followers seem hellbent on doing.

  • The global cooling mania didn’t have much impact besides a brief SF sub genre in the late 60’s to 70’s. Even the science was considered weak back then. Hence the lack of political mobilization behind it. Not the sane.

    Global warming has the benefit of time, technology and study. Hence a far greater scientific consensus. To date there is no credible challenge to it. Knowledge improves and we adjust.

  • (1) True (Even Isaiah 40:22 says so.)
    (2) True (But some big-name Hollywood Liberals disagree. Liberalism = backwater swamp.)
    (3) Refuted by Modern Biology (especially human biology and cellular biology). No other way to describe today’s Darwinism crisis. Astonishing engineering examples within one’s own body.

    (4) Ongoing contest. All sides trying to work on it. E.g. http://creationwiki.org/Redshift
    (5) Ongoing contest. However, the Big Bang’s timeline is impossible to reconcile with the Bible’s timeline. Big Bang also assumes natural causation for the universe, stars, planets; but the Bible says supernatural causation only (Heb.11:3).
    (6) Ongoing contest. Relativity isn’t just for evolutionists; creationists can find some support there too. http://creationwiki.org/General_relativity

    (7) Today’s Weather Report: Cloudy & Freezing for Darwin, Sunny & Warm for Design.

  • “Interesting, but unable to say anything about before the big bang, or why there should be anything at all rather than nothing.”

    No we have no data, nothing to test any hypotheses. Due to the Hadron Collider in Switzerland we can observed interactions of high energy particles that mimic conditions after the first few billionth of a second after the Bing Bang. That’s it.

  • I like the Pop-Tarts without icing and I can no longer find them. They are a better choice for those of us with DM2.

  • Sanders is a fanatic. She probably has TP with Bible verses on so she can even pretend to be holy in the john.

ADVERTISEMENTs