I write this after the release of the Papal encyclical on the environment but before Pope Francis’s September visit which is to include addresses to the U.S. Congress and the United Nations. We at Liberty, and all who value the resources our Creator has given us, applaud the document and that part of it which represents a “non-partisan” respect for the environment. However, I note the injection of a holy day into the discussion.
Here the Pope becomes partisan, as the text itself acknowledges: God’s people in the Old Testament were indeed commanded to honor the seventh day as a memorial of creation, and by inference as an act of respect for the created world itself. However the Pope’s encyclical goes a step further in transferring this ancient holy day to Sunday worship—a self-proclaimed memorial of the resurrection, but a change without any Biblical license whatsoever. This of course goes to the issue of the Protestant Reformation and whether authority is found in Scripture alone or in the dictates of a religious entity that has assumed superior authority. All this of course would be merely theological narrative and not a religious liberty concern, were it not for the manner in which this document is being put before the world—on a political stage and with the political authority of the Vatican mini-state.
In addressing the issue of global warming and the environment in general this pope and his predecessors present a package deal, and then in the document Caritas in Veritas call for a global authority with “the power to act and to enforce.” With a religious viewpoint at play such a dynamic will likely result in instant persecution for someone and provide an instant political establishment of a particular religious assumption.
Author: Lincoln E. Steed
Lincoln E. Steed is the editor of Liberty magazine, a 200,000 circulation religious liberty journal which is distributed to political leaders, judiciary, lawyers and other thought leaders in North America. He is additionally the host of the weekly 3ABN television show "The Liberty Insider," and the radio program "Lifequest Liberty."