The Norman Transcript

Opinion

March 3, 2013

City council taking important steps forward on water conservation policy

(Continued)

NORMAN —

To be sure, there’s more to it. These dissenters are prominent, outspoken members of a local religious organization. Their positions have allowed them to steer their church’s own real estate projects (including a Planned Unit Development) through the city planning process.

Reading through the “positive papers” available at the Harvest Church website, their approach to policy making becomes a bit clearer. Armed with a unique take on scripture, it seems any government action to curb environmental damage caused by humans is seen as illegitimate. Online documents associate environmentalism with “nature worship” and sinfulness. If human industry destroys our habitats, no matter what. Such consequent “end-of-days” tribulations are perfectly consistent with the horrors described by biblical prophecy. The language of “property rights” is equally important to this crowd. Stretching the metaphor a bit, God-as-landlord and executor of the estate supervises his tenants, meting out harsh penalties for property vandals. So, pray up or shut up. That’s their answer.

Whether phrased in secular appeals to “freedom,” for rapture-ready religious lingo, or both, the off-beat rhetoric and badly executed bluffs invariably advocate for non-action.

Even the most dedicated of believers, even the most fervent advocates of individual liberty, will understand that and in this crisis situation, non-action is not a tenable position.

Regardless of one’s religion or ideology, we’re all responsible for safeguarding the land and water from pollution and wasteful overuse. Whether we act on that responsibility is another matter. Some of us will comply with voluntary conservation and phosphate ordinances. Some will not. Some will even deny that government has the authority to act. As long as that’s the case, stricter regulations will be necessary to limit abuse and manage access to our collectively held resources.

We should be extremely wary of any politician or religious spokesperson who wants us to believe otherwise.

Casey Holcomb

Norman

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