Oregon State University Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Professor Susan Shawclaims that the denial of climate change by “White Christians” is a contributing factor to the wildfires now ravaging California, Oregon, and Washington State.
The professor claims that “the intensity and scope of these fires are a result of climate change.” She then attributes the blame for the fires’ potency on “white Christians” given that, as she claims, “many Christians, especially white Christians, have embraced denial of climate science.”
“The West is burning while most white Christians turn away from the root causes of the devastation,” writes Shaw, before adding that “White evangelicals continue to support Donald Trump overwhelmingly, even though the Trump administration has tried to roll back more than 100 environmental protection regulations.”
When Campus Reform asked Shaw about the language she used, she responded by saying, “I don’t think that language is necessarily racially divisive or charged. It’s descriptive, and it’s the language the research I cited uses to look at climate science beliefs across Christians.”
Shaw makes several assertions about White Christians including “many white Christians believe God won’t let climate change destroy the earth,” and “the White church is mostly complicit with the intersecting systems of racism and global capitalism that underlie climate change.”
She adds that “the system of white supremacy itself will have to be dismantled, if we have any hope of averting irreversible climate disaster.”
When asked why she chose to focus on White Christians, Shaw told Campus Reform that “the research shows that among Christians, Whites significantly more than Blacks or Latinos deny, minimize, or ignore climate science,” adding “that race and social class, more than theological beliefs, contributes to White Christians’ denial of climate science.”
Shaw is also very critical of President Donald Trump and the Christian Church, stating that “the disturbing link between White evangelical support for Trump and disregard for climate change that disproportionately affects poor people of color around the world should probably not be all that surprising.” Shaw then quotes Anthea Butler, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, as saying “Modern evangelicals’ support for this president cannot be separated from the history of evangelicals’ participation in and support for racist structures in America.”
Shaw also claims that “the White church is invested in white supremacy,” “White Christians will have to change,” and that “the issue is” one of “whiteness.”
Shaw, largely attributing the intensity of the recent wildfires in Western states to the climate change denial of “white Christians,” noticeably fails to recognize any other contributing or primary causes to the severity of the fires. Forest management, brought about in part by increasingly stringent environmental regulations, is often cited as a contributing factor to California’s fire crisis.
Read the rest at: FAUCI