At the Institute we try to avoid discussing religion, we understand that a person’s relationship with God is their own. Since Donald Trump became the Republican Party, it is rare to see one of their political ads that do not mention religion or God.
This overt politicizing of religion logically leads one to believe that those religious beliefs will be the basis of their public policy choices. It is at this point that those beliefs become part of the public discourse.
This year has seen record heat across the country. Death Valley has seen its highest temperature of 130 degrees. In California, record drought and heat have combined with dry lightning to burn a vast area of the state. Severe drought and above normal temperatures have fueled wildfires in Colorado.
The Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico have abnormally warm surface temperatures. A record three hurricanes hit the U.S. before Sept. 1. The Greenland ice shelf is melting at a rate where it cannot be replaced by annual snowfall. A warming planet has led to a yearly increase in natural disasters and the cost thereof.
Two years ago, we put forth an essay showing how science proves society’s use of fossil fuels warms the planet, from the heat produced to the emissions created. It is similar to being in a house and lighting a candle every day. At the same time, insulation is added to help keep the heat in the house. Eventually the house will reach the temperature of the burning candles.
Since taking office, President Trump and the Republican Party have embraced coal and fossil fuel usage, two energy sources that are known causes of the planet’s warming. Energy efficiency standards have been decreased, pollution controls have been eased, and regulations on fracking have been overturned. Drilling rights on millions of acres of public lands have been auctioned off.
The Arctic National Wildlife Life Refuge has been opened to oil companies. Meanwhile, President Trump has sought deep cuts to renewable energy programs overseen by the Department of Energy.
At a recent campaign stop, President Trump, while railing against his opponents said, "They are against our kind of energy." He was talking to his base, the Evangelicals and was referring to the use of coal and fossil fuels. Knowing the effect on the planet of using these energy sources, embracing and advocating greater usage of them seems suicidal.
Many of the world’s religions have apocalyptic prophesies. Christianity is unique in that it has the concept of the Rapture. The Rapture, as taught by the modern Church, is an event that takes place when the Earth becomes literally, a living Hell. At that point, Christ will return and take his followers to Heaven, leaving the rest of God’s creatures to endure the agony of what the planet has become.
Some will say tying President Trump’s energy policies to that religious belief is a stretch. Remember when the president of the United States had the streets cleared so he could stand in front of a church with a Bible held in his upraised hand? He looked as if he were awaiting a sign from God.
There are people in the Christian Religion that believe Donald Trump was put on Earth for the "End Times." We do not consider it unreasonable to think he would try to bring about his followers long-awaited belief.
History is full of examples of ideology guiding public policy to a disastrous end.
Clarence Hinchy is Senior Fellow at the Hinchy Institute for Public Policy. He can be reached at email@example.com.