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Wed Apr 24, 2019, 08:13 PM

Welp, Looks Like Neither God Nor His Followers Will Be Saving Us From Climate Disintegration

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A less-than-immaculate conception of global warming is likewise evident in more recent polls of US Catholics. Overall, there was an increase in those who said that the Earth is warming due to human activity, from 47% in 2015 to 56% in 2017, according to the Pew Research Center. “However, while these data are pre- and post-encyclical, we don’t have any data showing that the Pope’s encyclical is the reason for the change,” Pew’s Anna Schiller told BuzzFeed News by email.

What’s more, the way Catholics responded to that question depended highly on their politics. The share of Catholic Democrats (or leaning that way) who said the Earth is warming due to human activity has increased from 63% in 2015 to 80% in 2017, according to Pew. But the change among Catholic Republicans (or leaners) was not significant, from 26% in 2015 and 22% in 2017). People’s politics pulled more weight than the Pope. The divide looks even more stark when you separate Latino Catholics from the rest, with immigrants more likely than non-immigrants to accept that climate change is a problem, Zaleha said. “Basically everyone south of the border accepts the huge weight of evidence for climate change, like the rest of the world except for the US, so they come here with those attitudes.”

To give the Pope his due, US Catholics are more likely (74%) than white evangelical Protestants (52%) to say the Earth is getting warmer (about which there is zero doubt; this is like polling whether the planet circles the sun). And some religion scholars say that although the hierarchy of the US and Canadian church is conservative and hasn't embraced the encyclical, Catholic schools and hospitals have.

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Evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics have largely signed on to voting for the Republican party because of its anti-abortion stance (and opposition to same-sex marriage), said Bron Taylor, a University of Florida scholar of religion and the environment. Bucking that to vote for political leaders who would address climate change is a tough ask. Some see Republican politicians such as former congressman Bob Inglis of South Carolina, who lost his seat after he said he wanted to curb global warming, as a warning to others in his party. Moreover, Taylor said, the outlook of most religions, Eastern and Western alike, is overwhelmingly predisposed to put the environment second to human interests. “The Earth is, at best, a way station to something better, or an encumbrance to be put aside, in many religions,” he said. “The Pope did his best to put his arguments in the spiritual terms of his church, but fundamentally, these are organizations devoted to putting people first.”

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https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/danvergano/pope-didnt-fix-climate-change

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