“Save the Trees & Kill the Children” – what?

Heard a song on the Christian station the other day — I usually listen to the old folks Protestant Christian station with the old hymnal songs, but they had some talking going on, so I switched to the Christian rock & roll station.  I was dumbfounded by the lyrics — “philosophies that save the trees and kill the children.”  How wrong-headed and wrong-spirited can a Christian radio station get?  It wasn’t Catholic, so that might explain it in part.

I tracked it down to the song, “While You were Sleeping,” with the lyrics speaking about the Bethlehem birth, then the Jerusalem crucifixion, and then the verse:

United States of America
Looks like another silent night
As we’re sung to sleep by philosophies
That save the trees and kill the children

Hear it on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rqhG2yT-58

That old environmentalism=baby-killer saw rears its ugly head again.  As if somehow saving trees leads one to run out and kill children.  And what does this guy have against trees; does he want us to chop down all trees in order to save the children.  How does that save them?  Esp if we’re so busy chopping down all the trees, we just won’t have time to save the children.  Not to mention a total lack of any understanding whatsoever of ecological realities and how God has made it so that the ecosystem provides viability and sustenance for us.  Or, does he think God should send manna from the sky, and we should chuck the rest of God’s (to him, horrible) creation.  Sounds a bit like arrogant presumption, you know, to which the devil temped Jesus out on the desert.

And why can’t we save the trees AND save the children?  What’s so wrong with that?

Another issue, is that WE ARE NOT SAVING THE TREES!! — not by a long shot.  We are destroying them by the groves.  To the detriment of the children of future generations.

But the next verse sort of clarifies his view:

And while we’re lying in the dark
There’s a shout heard ‘cross the eastern sky
For the Bridegroom has returned
And has carried His bride away in the night.

If the world is ending tonight, why worry about saving the trees and the birds and the bees.  Just be sure to destroy as much as possible of all life on earth (except the children, of course)  before God gets a chance to do so thru His natural laws that will destroy life on earth in about a billion years when the sun gets way too hot on its path to self-destruction … assuming a comet doesn’t strike and do it sooner.

I feel insulted, socially constructed as a baby-killer, just because I’m an environmentalist.  If we weren’t jumping headlong into destroying the environment through many means, including over-logging and global warming, I wouldn’t have been so upset with this song.  But since we are, then we need everyone (as JPII instructed us in 1990) — including the songwriter here and that rock & roll Christian radio station, with its less than inspirational music, and its audience — to join forces in SAVING THE TREES (and other life forms on Earth) in order to help SAVE THE CHILDREN.


26 Responses to ““Save the Trees & Kill the Children” – what?”

  1. Ben Garrison Says:

    I honestly think you are misinterpreting the song. Mark Hall (the singer from the band Casting Crowns) is not calling every environmentalist a baby killer, far from it. He uses that as an ironic metaphor for modern American thinking (it’s a song lyric, so it has to concise). And as a metaphor for that, and that only, it is accurate with many things about American society that is kind of messed up. Think about it, a country where the common public puts more stock in saving trees than for abolishing abortion? Maybe on average people in the US find the actual act of abortion reprehensible (I don’t know) and wouldn’t do it, the fact that abortion is allowed to continue to be illegal because there is a debate about ‘whether or not a fetus is a person with rights’ is ludicrous. Especially when there is so much public clamor, on average, to find ways to protect trees. If you could save one child, or one tree which is worth more? Saving a tree just isn’t as controversial as saving a child, therefore politics is allowed to define justice, not morality.

    You decide…and don’t tell me it’s easier to save the tree so it should be done first. Yes, environmentalism is important, and I do not advocate the destruction of the earth through negligence. But to me the continued killing of unborn children just because they might be inconvenient is an extreme casting off of responsibility by modern Americans. We have the resources to provide for these children. I apologize if I come off as sexist, or whatnot, but a child’s right to exist is in my opinion more important than a woman’s right to cancel her pregnancy under most circumstances (I won’t delve into rape, incest, health of mother right now as I do not see it as relevant to the core argument). Think about it: if an expecting mother is murdered, her killer could be charged with /two/ counts of murder if that child is wanted. If not, the mother who aborts her child is exercising he rights.

    I don’t know how you personally feel about abortion, and I am not trying to attack your views on it. However, Mark Hall is not branding you as a baby killer just because he points out a sickening irony in modern America. He is not calling liberals, or environmentalists, or any other group baby killers, he is simply pointing out a travesty.

    I personally am all for environmental protection. I recycle, I try to minimize my ‘carbon footprint’, and all that. I plant trees around my house. I follow regulations. I do not, as you suggest the song advocates, sit around like many evangelicals and trash the planet waiting for the rapture. I don’t know when Christ will come, till then, I seek to take care of this planet as well.

    • lynnvinc Says:

      That’s really wonderful that you are an environmentalist & like me you are also against abortion. I think my opposition to abortion developed very early (well before abortion became legal), along with my environmentalism.

      A true anti-abortionist will also be an environmentalist, since environmental problems kill people, including fetuses. Though I do know some environmentalists are in favor of abortion, but to me that doesn’t make any sense, unless they are anti-human (in which case they would have long ago committed suicide). Who are we saving the earth for, if not for the children?

      However, I do have to disagree that we are saving the trees or doing the EC (environmentally correct) things. We most certainly are not. And there are far far fewer environmentalists (in both word and deed) than that song suggests. If Americans as a nation were environmentalists, then we would have reduced our greenhouse gases (and other pollution) drastically and cost-effectively over the past 20 years (saving money to boot, and avoiding the economic collapse), but instead we’ve increased our emissions by 20% through profligacy and utter disregard for life on planet earth. I’ve never since childhood been under the illusion that we are a Christian country, but rather one based on genocide and killing — abortions, Native Americans, and many people through our environmental harms and disregard for human lives.

      In a town near mine one year all births were still births because of the toxic plants in that community — Agent Orange and other toxics. Other years, plenty of congenital deformities. We are a child & people hating nation. The proof is in our actions, inactions, and their outcomes. So the song should have instead said, “Philosophies of kill the trees and kill the children.” That would have been a more accurate statement.

  2. Ben Garrison Says:

    To me personally, abortion is worse in and of itself than environmental destruction. I will not argue that this is a logical view, because I totally understand the irony of it in relation to your Agent Orange anecdote, and can see the point that this is abortion as well. The distinction for me, however, is that this wasn’t intentional abortion. Manslaughter versus first degree murder, you might say. The intentional killing of babies for the sole reason that 1) you’re casting off responsibility or 2) that society has failed to provide you an alternative, to me, is more evil than failing to be a good environmental steward.

    So I guess, again this is just me, the point is that if society could only tackle ONE of these issues at a time, I would prefer to see abortion taken care of first. That said, America has the resources to do both at the same time. So I guess, Lynn, to me the song still makes a valid point. I find it ironic that a tree is so often made to be more important than a child. The tree can’t save itself, neither can the child. But, the tree is life giving, makes oxygen, etc, while the child causes an inconvenience. We’re in a throw away society, and the tree is pretty! Save it instead! I know you don’t share this view point, but so many Americans genuinely do, and that is to whom the song speaks.

    This is a little moot, anyway, since in God’s eyes sin is sin. Making one worse than the other is a human construct. To me, though, that unborn child cannot defend his or her self. Adults can make choices about the environment. That kid can’t decide to protect himself/herself.

    Now to anyone who might be reading this, I do not condone messages of hatred against anyone who has had an abortion, or is pro-choice, or whatever else you call yourself. I’m not going to accomplish anything by spreading hatred. I prefer constructive solutions that 1) show God’s love, and 2) provide a way out of the predicament that led to the choice of an abortion in the first place.

  3. lynnvinc Says:

    Of course, intentional murder — such as medical/surgical abortion or killing a clerk in a store robbery — is much worse than killing fetuses through our excessive driving or coal-based electricity use. Most people don’t even know that local pollution from car driving and coal burning for electricity, among many other pollutants can cause miscarriages, as well as birth defects.

    And the guilty ones for those toxic deaths in that town are the companies that located their facilities in residential neighborhoods, didn’t inform workers of the dangers, and didn’t even bother to put up fences, with the result that children used to play in the effluents. So we people who benefitted from those pesticides and other products produced there, & had no knowledge those products entailed grave harms in their manufacture, are not guilty or even culpable of sin in this. But those manufactures sure are.

    So I would greatly admonish people not to have abortions, not to hold up gas stations and kill the attendants, and also not to do environmentally harmful things under our control that kill people. Refraining from any one of these things, does not in any way make the others right. All of them can land a person in hell.

    And I’d suggest we have some responsibility to look into the harms entailed in the products we buy, but that would be an enormous task, beyond the time limits and talents of most of us. We could, however, out of the goodness of our hearts look into it a bit and strive to buy products that entailed least harm to others. It’s good to reduce our support of evil others, and to inform others about these issues.

    I’ve worked hard in the past in anti-abortion activities, and also in environmental activities, but these days unfortunately I don’t have much time for any of these.

    I do, however, in my own life refrain from abortion (I’ve never had one & would even sacrifice my own life, for the sake of the child), and strive to reduce my environmental killing of people, as well. One thing does not preclude the other.

    I had a friend who had a miscarriage. She asked me in the context of discussing environmental harms if her miscarriage might have happened because she was out spraying the yard all summer with pesticides. I told her that certainly could have been the cause. And she was a person who had 6 children (one late in life) and never practiced artificial birth control, such a devout Catholic. She was saddened to think she may have caused or contributed to that miscarriage.

    There are so many environmental problems and issues (don’t get me started on the health harms from plastics) that people don’t even know about. I’m learning more every day — about how I am harming myself and others thru environmental harms. And if we tip the earth system into runaway warming — which we are pretty much on track to do — that could possible mean death to a large chunk of humanity, if not all life on plant earth (which some scientists say is possible). It’s like our small contributions added together can trigger vast devastation.

    Our contributions to that would still not be as evil as us having an abortion or killing a gas station attendant, but it is nevertheless very evil.

    • Hannah Rodgers Says:

      Let your friend know that there is nothing on earth that could have prevented that miscarriage. Her pregnancy as well as the length of the term was God’s will and his alone. The life of the child is in God’s hands. And most pesticides today would not be released if there was any suspicion on their effect on expecting mothers. She does not need blame, she needs encouragement to carry on her life knowing that her trust in God will keep her on the right path.

      • lynnvinc Says:

        Although God is all in all, I would not suggest tempting the Lord, Our God by drinking poison. I know some religions do things like that, like the Holiness Church snake handlers in the Appalacian Mts.

        Pesticides are KNOWN to cause birth defects and miscarriages, and even if one doesn’t believe the scientists on this, it is really unfair to subject another person — the child in the womb — to something dangerous, just because one doesn’t believe the doctor or the scientist. It is always better to be careful with life, not reckless, especially the life of others.

  4. Hannah Rodgers Says:

    I find quite alarming the stand that is taken on the lyrics of this song. It means nothing offensive toward those who do keep a “clean carbon footprint”. It is instead pointing out our ignorance toward our fellow human beings on this earth. After a mission trip to a third world country, I came back appalled to a standard of America that I had never noticed before: each day they taught at school the “harmful effects of the environment”, the typing programs were all about creating your own success, and science taught evolution, the very thing that I as a Christian must stand against. It was the first time that I saw the “American Dream” in a different way. We have everything we need, and many things we don’t. So much so that we have been blinded by our own belongings and fail to see those who do not have.
    I am not opposing those who value the environment; I think that natural beauty is on of the most important. But more important than that is the beauty of every living thing. And therefore, I feel that our priority must always be the fellow human beings that God so graced us with. This has nothing to do with being Catholic, as you are, or being Protestant, as I am. This is about the care that we, as Christians, are supposed to show to the flocks who have not yet been herded. You can have a duty to your world and a duty to it’s people. But your heart must be in the right place.

    • lynnvinc Says:

      It seems the whole thing is based on a misunderstanding — like talking past each other.

      The environment is has been socially constructed as the polar bears or rainforests or some pretty mountain scene, when in fact the environment is foundational to all life (it is God’s material provision for our existence on Earth). It is the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the chemicals that permeate our skin, the materials with which we build and make our products. So if these are harmed or polluted or irreversibly diminished, it means harm and death to people. If these are maintained and kept clean and non-toxic, it means life.

      I know the lyrics said “save the trees,” but what I read from that was “environmentalism.” But in my books anyone who is not an environmentalist is fundamentally pro-death. They are just more sneaky about killing people, instead of blatantly with a knife or abortionist’s scalpel. It is impossible to be a Christian or any person concerned about the life and welfare of others, without being an environmentalist.

      Otherwise, it’s like saying, “Okay, I’m just going to poison the air you breathe. It’s not you, it’s outside of you, so it’s not harming you (and it’s your problem if you happen breathe it in), so I’m doing nothing wrong because I’m not poisoning you directly.” That doesn’t compute in my books.

      • Ben Garrison Says:

        You are correct that there is a stereotype about “environmentalism” being the polar bear, rainforest, and Greenpeace movement kind of motif. As such, that is what many people think of when they think of the word, including me. It’s a social convention that I use that word to refer to people that are very active in environmental issues. For me, this means people who care far more about this than any other issue and are very vocal, PETA, Greenpeace, people who want to blow up dams in Washington, Steve Irwin, etc. Before you go poo-pooing me, I liked Steve Irwin, but you can’t deny that he was an environmentalist. Not on the same level as destroying property or killing people over it, but he was.

        Anyway, this is why I don’t want to be called an environmentalist. It does, whether you like it or not, carry certain connotations. Who I am is someone like Teddy Roosevelt who is a wise-use advocate. God put the land here for us to use wisely. If something is seen not to work or be polluting, you should clean it up. If there is a problem, fix it, etc. This is like a local rancher who is protesting noxious invasive weeds on his land or an off-roading organization who organizes clean-up events and trail beautification projects and joins the Blue-Ribbon Coalition. To me this is real environmentalism, not what to me is nihilistic nonsense (Greenpeace) that seeks to destroy modern society for the sake of Happy Feet.

        “The environment is has been socially constructed as the polar bears or rainforests or some pretty mountain scene, when in fact the environment is foundational to all life (it is God’s material provision for our existence on Earth). It is the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the chemicals that permeate our skin, the materials with which we build and make our products. So if these are harmed or polluted or irreversibly diminished, it means harm and death to people. If these are maintained and kept clean and non-toxic, it means life.”

        Anyway, I just feel that I need to point out that if you are going to interpret “save the trees” from the song as picking on environmentalists, and then getting offended because you consider yourself an environmentalist, even though up there in your quote it seems like you have a different definition for yourself as an environmentalist, that you are missing something. Let’s assume that Mark Hall intended to insult environmentalists. As it is in Pop-culture, it is safe to assume that he means the normal rainforest type of environmentalist. Yet it seems you do not hold with this definition. Why would you include yourself in the group that Mark Hall was trying to make fun of if you don’t hold with that version of environmentalism? I think that environmentalism just needs to be part of human thought that we consider when we produce things for our use and for our use of the world. You also seem to hold to this holistic view. What then is wrong with the song?

        Do not the lyrics simply point to an egregious contradiction in our society? Who are we as human creatures when, and at the moment this is true, that secular thought thinks it more important to save a polar bear than to protect our children? That is the only point of the lyrics, they do not seek to attack a particular group of people. I would only hope that you can see Mark Hall’s point here and stop being so offended just because you feel you are being attacked.

  5. Austin Says:

    you are really misinterpreting a great song. The song as a whole focuses on how the world has been “sleeping” through these MAJOR events and how we show no reverence and no fear of God. In the last verse, it talks about the US as a whole, how we make a bigger deal about saving the trees and the environment when everyday there are women who go and have their unborn children killed. Think about it- what’s more important? A tree or a child? Just a thought. America is so off track it’s sickening.

    Honestly your overlooking the main point of this song. We all need to cut out the laziness and go on missions trips, spread the good news, etc. God IS coming back and too many people are going to be are going to “sleep” right through it, and its our job to change that.

    • lynnvinc Says:

      I think if we want to reach people to get them to end abortion, then it is good if we ourselves are striving to reduce our own harms to children and others, such as by reducing our own environmental harms. Otherwise people will just think we are hypocrites and not take us seriously (like people who point at others’ sins, but do nothing to end their own sinfullness).

      It seems to me the anti-environmentalists and non-environmentalists are also heavily sleeping through very serious environmental harms. And the global warming denialists are even drugging people with their evil sleeping pills.

      Let us all work to reduce harm to people. We don’t need songs that create a false dichotomy, or falsely construct the environment as solely about wild places (forests) and species (polar bears, etc), failing to realize it is also the air we breath, the water we drink, the food we eat, the chemicals that permeate through our skin, the materials with which we build our homes and make our products, the climate in which we have been surviving and thriving. Destroying and polluting these is just another way to kill and abort people. Both killing through environmental harms and through abortions are out of the thinking and awareness of most people. We (environmentalists and anti-abortionists) don’t need to fight with each other, but join together and work to save lives and halt the killing both through abortions and through environmental harms.

      The song creates unnecessary antagonisms, rather than effectively working to promote life. Plus, it seems that it almost wished for us to destroy the earth and cause the End Times. But if we do so, we may not be “raptured up,” but “ruptured down” to a place a lot hotter than a globally warmed world, and for all of eternity.

      Let us work together to save lives and save souls. These are all serious issues. I imagine having a medical abortion is a more serious sin, but many who are not having abortions are also killing people through environmental harms, and surely that is also some kind of sin.

  6. Lynn Reeves Says:

    I like the song and it needs to understood…because America while you were sleeping we have wiped out a whole generation of people and there will not be anyone left to tend the trees as this rate…

    • lynnvinc Says:

      I agree, but it is not only by abortion that we are killing people, but also thru environmental harms — esp global warming, which could annihilate all life on earth if we persist in our profligate, destructive lifestyle. “Trees” in the song is a codeword for environmental issues — and also points to a misconstruction of environmental issues as only about “nature,” not people, as if people did not need healthy air, water, food, and other materials to survive and thrive.

      We are truly sleeping through the greatest human-caused destruction of human (and other life) ever. There is no need to pit humans against non-human creation, which the song does; it will only bring total destruction on all, and make anti-abortionists seem hypocritical.

      It is truly lamentable that there are environmentalists who favor abortion (as the song implies) — just as there are anti-environmentalists and all sorts of people who favor abortion. I can at least appeal to my fellow environmentalists, all of whom I personally know are saving the environment FOR the children to save the children. I tell them it makes no sense to kill children in order to save children, and my message gets thru to them a lot better than me trying to convince anti-enviromentalist (climate change denialist), anti-abortionists. Their ears seem to be closed, refusing to believe we are in process right now of killing off future generations and esp the poorest of the poor around the world thru our personal contributions to env harms, thru our profligate, inefficient, non-conservative lifestyle.

      Only when people take personal responsibility and face up to the mirror, and look for ways in which they are killing the children (including thru environmental harms) and ways in which they can reduce that, will there be some progress made in saving lives. And our anti-abortion message will ring a lot truer and less hypocritical.

  7. Dara Says:

    I just attended a Christmas on Broadway concert featuring Casting Crowns last night. The music was mesmerizing and the spirit joyful and warm….but then these lyrics totally disappointed me and took me out of the mood – so I had to look them up today! I was baffled as well by the false choice between saving trees and children (?!) Love for all of God’s creation fits together – in no way do we have to oppose one element of creation to support another. My awe and love for the environment, trees and animals only enhances my love for humans – all of us masterpieces in unity together. Our hearts are designed to expand and expand…we do not have to choose one over another.

  8. David Says:

    Dara and lynnvinc. I am in awe and confused as I read your reactions to this song. You claim to be Christians and Catholics, yet you struggle with the fundamental problem that this song so poignantly points out….America has become so focused on saving the environment that we have lost sight of the atrocious slaughtering of unborn children that is happening in this country today! Let me ask the question point blank to make it clear…do you support abortion? If not, you should have no trouble with the lyrics of this song! The song is merely pointing out that (America as a whole) care more about saving trees than we do about saving innocent unborn children. How can you, as a Catholic or Protestant – a believer in Christ – argue against this??? It is sad and puzzling to read your rhetoric about this song. The point of the song is “what has happened to us as a nation that we would be concerned more with trees, than we are about the sanctity of human life?” I am sad and disgusted to the answer an everyday American might give as an answer! We are lost and need to find our way back to God’s teaching!
    In prayer, “God we pray that you might open our eyes and our hearts to Your will! Let us, as a nation and as a people so blessed by following in your way, care about what you care about! You are the King and may your JUDGEMENT on this nation be merciful! Amen!”

    • lynnvinc Says:

      The problem I think is perception. In my experience the US is NOT focused much on environmental problems — and there are plenty & people are dying from them. I’d say that maybe only about 5% to 10% of the population is really into working to halt environmental problems, when due to the nature of the problems it requires all of us to do our part — the gov really cannot do very much, but it is only doing a slight fraction of what it could be doing.

      It is wrong to kill — either thru abortion or thru contributing to environmental harms.

  9. Treesok Babiesprecious Says:

    This is a great song. The author of the song was conveying the emphasis on environmental concerns while the U.S. tally is over 50 million abortions…..and nobody seems to care.

  10. Stephen Says:

    Here is a short article that pretty much illistrates exactly what the song us talking about. Jusy have a quick read, but to sum up in short: A)Man in Hobart fined $3000 fir protesting abortion near an abortion clenic.
    B) Charges dropped against a second man for protesting logging.
    Conclusion: massive legal and political double standard. (Save the trees and kill the children)

  11. lynnvinc Says:

    Despite various efforts, justice in the US is not even and there are excesses of punitivity and leniency on all sides. I know plenty of cases of peaceful environmental protestors who have been heavily fined and/or put in prison for trying to save lives (human and others of God’s creatures) by campaigning to halt or prevent environmental destruction. However I wouldn’t want them writing songs denigrating the anti-environmentalist stance of “save the children but kill the trees.” We can save both and saving the environment (healthy water, air, food, climate to produce food; reducing toxins) ultimately saves the children and all of us. Saving the environment is not an option if one truly values life.

  12. Makayla Says:

    Umm I believe the lyrics mean that we worry so much about saving the trees and other environmental issues and we take very little time to voice issues like abortion. Basically in our country saving the environment has become more imortant than human lives. He is not saying that environmentalist are personally murdering children.

  13. Makayla Says:

    And over all the song is not really about abortion or environmental issues. It’s about proclaiming to be Christian’s but just sleeping through the things that are happening and not taking a stand for Christ. The song is telling us that the end draws near therefore as Christians we need to be more concerned with living for Christ and helping others find Christ. I do love this land we live in and try to protect it but if I have to choose I would much rather tell someone about Gods love and the Salvation Plan than I would recycling.

    • lynnvinc Says:

      Since we are contributing to the death and harm to people, I would think it important to do what we can to reduce that. We are also told “Thou shalt not kill.” That’s the main reason I do environmental things, to reduce my harm and killing of people. Best to keep our noses clean, just in case The End or our own personal end is near. Wouldn’t want to end up going down instead of up. 🙂

  14. Ben Jansen Says:

    So the lyrics were calling out and more or less throwing shade at the current state of of America where we have strong environmentalist fealings believing that’s all life in the world is sacred and yet we’re still pro abortion

    • lynnvinc Says:

      I think we have amazingly weak environmental feelings and very strong pro-death feelings — both for aborting children thru medical means and thru environmental pollution and harms. We seem to just hate children, and that’s why we are so anti-environmental (or not caring about environmental harms that will play out in the future)…. and are so pro-abortion.

      Anyone who claims to be anti-abortion and at the same time doesn’t care about environmental harms (which as we know kill people, including the unborn) is a fake or sadly lacking in knowledge and understanding. However, I can understand (and detest) the selfishness of those who are concerned about the environmental for their own children’s sake, but are okay with abortion of other people’s children, so their own children may have it better. That’s wrong, as you point out.

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