EWTN Disappoints

I had been longing to get cable for several decades so I could see EWTN.  Meanwhile I had been contenting myself by watching Trinity Broadcasting (TBN, an evangelical channel).  When I started being concerned about global warming 20 years ago, which triggered me from passive to active environmentalist & into mitigating enviro problems in my daily life, I expected the Christian community to be right up there talking about it and about what we as good Christians should do.

As it so happened TBN never even mentioned environmental problems or global warming during the many years I watched it.

However, I was all that time imagining that EWTN would, of course, be mentioning such problems, and presenting how the popes and bishops were admonishing us to mitigate them.  I didn’t expect EWTN to displace calls to end abortion (which is a more serious moral failing) with calls to mitigate environmental problems, but I figured that at least for every 50 times they mentioned abortion, they would be saying something about our call to mitigate environmental problems.

What I found, however, when we finally did get cable TV in 2007 was the damning of environmentalism and environmentalists.  I was flabbergasted.  At least TBN never said anything, pro or con, about environmental issues or environmentalism.

I don’t get much chance to watch TV, so it is possible that some EWTN programs have been conveying the environmental writings of the popes and bishops in a correct way, not simply pointing out the neopagan stuff to (I imagine) their totally non-neopagan audience, but I haven’t heard.

The negative comments I have heard dismay me, because it’s hard enough to get up the gumption and overcome inertia to mitigate environmental problems (I keep a starving African madonna & child image in my mind’s eye, when I start back-sliding).  You know, things like turning off lights not in use, recycling, composting, reducing meat in the diet, findings little and big things to do.  It’s hard enough to do these things even when one is totally sold that there are environmental problems and feels the moral obligation to mitigate them.  It’s REALLY hard.  So if there is even a sliver of doubt cast about such problems and the Church’s call to mitigate them, that’s the end to even taking a few baby steps to mitigate.  And the children and poor will suffer the most.  My heart really goes out to them.

The EWTN program that first shocked me was a “Rome Reports” segment on October 10, 2007, “Is Pope Benedict the First Eco-Pope?”   The title itself is wrong, since JPII and other popes were also eco-conscious.  The segment started out good, but there were two parts at the end that were very disturbing: 

(1) They interviewed Christopher Monckton, a known and thoroughly debunked climate denialist, who is NOT a scientist and certainly not a climate scientist, who told us rather flippantly that anthropogenic global warming was not happening, completely flying in the face of the entire body of legit climate science.

(2) They then interviewed Kishore Jayabalan, from the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, who warned us about the “true dangers” of environmentalism — how turning off lights not in use will destroy the world through presto-changing all of us into atheist-pantheist anti-humans (I speak tongue-in-cheek here).  He did claim, however, that a large segment of environmentalists are such.  I wonder why, when there are so many Christians in the world, who would outnmber those atheists-pantheists-anti-humans.  Is it because Christians refuse to stop killing people through environmental harms, and therefore are not counted as environmentalists (to off-set all those atheist-pantheist anti-human environmentalists).  Or, is it maybe because  environmentalist Christians like myself are falsely accused of being atheist-pantheist anti-humans — thereby wrongly putting us in that group & taking us out of the good-environmentalist-Christian group.  I teach stats, and I know when you monkey with the data like that, it can make a big difference in the outcome.

(I later looked up Acton Institute on www.exxonsecrets.org and found out they are funded by Exxon.  Case closed.)

Even though I’ve written to Raymond Arroyo several times that Acton is funded by Exxon, so he shouldn’t have Acton speakers like Fr. Robert Sirico (Acton’s president) on to talk about the environment — that’s like having the fox guard the chicken coop — there Fr. Sirico is on The World Over time & time again, talking about the dangers of environmentalism, and ignoring or fluffing over the dangers of environmental problems.

There have been some other anti-environmentalist comments on other EWTN programs, as well.  As I mentioned, I don’t have much time to watch, so perhaps there are some good comments about environmentalism that I haven’t heard.

I think EWTN is doing a great disservice to the Catholic Church in its anti-environmental and anti-environmentalist stance.  It just serves to push more Catholics out of the Church, and blocks others from coming in.  It tarnishes the Church.  If Catholics cannot take the popes’ and bishops’ admonitions to do right and mitigate environmental problems, then let THEM leave the Church.  Don’t push out the good people, who leave because of scruples and high morality.

Okay, you good people out there who might leave the Church because of EWTN’s anti-environmentalism, please don’t be disheartened by this.  I had to address it in hopes EWTN will get on the right path and do good.  There are good Catholics doing really good environmental work, which I will present in my next post.


2 Responses to “EWTN Disappoints”

  1. Annie Says:

    Lynn, it sound like YOU need to be interviewed and EWTN needs a reality check.

  2. lynnvinc Says:

    That would be nice, or better yet they could interview some Catholics who are really doing much more in the environmental movement from a deeply Catholic perspective.

    There is much I like about EWTN, so I do watch their programming when I get a chance. But I really hate the idea that people might be leaving the Church because of EWTN, or get demoralized by them (like I’ve been).

    Since EWTN has Franciscan roots, you’d think environmentalism would be right up their alley. Next they’ll be calling St. Francis a neopagan pantheist, or something. He was really much more into God’s creation than I’ve even been. He is an environmentalist’s environmentalist! He said, “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” Uh-oh, sounds like a eco-centric-neopagan-panthiest-anti-humanism 🙂

    I would like to also focus on the rest of God’s creation, as St. Francis did, in additions to humans, but that would probably turn off the anti-environmentalist Catholics, who already accuse me of being more concerned about baby rabbits (or some other animals) than humans, and accuse me of Gaia-worshipping. So I stick only to one endangered species — us.

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