July 9th, 2012

thoughtful

What the bishops said

I noticed a couple of people linking to this article in the Telegraph, with the headline "Floods are judgment on society, say bishops".

In fact the headline is rather misleading (or at least the plural noun at the end is). Most of the article is a quote from a leading evangelical bishop, who, amazingly for an evangelical, sees God as directly intervening in everything. Dog bites man, folks.

The other two bishops actually took a very different view from that implied by the headline. One said, "we are now reaping what we have sown. If we live in a profligate way then there are going to be consequences." The other said, "Instead of living as if we owned the earth we need to recover a sense of being participants in a web of life with responsibilities to other life forms and to our children."

The implication of both bishops' statements is that the floods may well have been indirectly caused by human activity (though they are commendably cautious about specifying any direct link), and that in any case we should be careful about exploiting the environment.

I think that is a perfectly reasonable position, and it is instructive that the Telegraph chose to lump those statements together with the idea that the floods were caused by the debate about gay marriage. A cynic might suspect that the Telegraph wants its readers to mentally classify the concept of anthropogenic climate change in the same loony category as the idea of directly ordained meteorological divine vengeance.

Perhaps it is just that "Evangelical makes evangelical statements, two other bishops worry about climate change" isn't as good a headline, though it would have been more accurate.

I actually can't remember the last time I saw a story in the Telegraph that was worth reading. It is almost as bad as the Mail.

Edited to add: D'Oh! The article dates from 2007, as deborah_c and lonemagpie point out in comments. Remind me not to bother responding to any future link to any article in the Telegraph.
politics

Links I found interesting for 09-07-2012