April 24, 2014

Green Patriarch: “… absolute limits to our survival are being reached”

green-patriarch

His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew lost no time ringing the alarmist bell as he officially opened the symposium, “Restoring Balance: The Great Mississippi River” today.

He said that, “we have reached a defining moment in our history … the point where absolute limits to our survival are being reached … instead of living on income, or the available surplus of the earth, we are consuming environmental capital and destroying its resources as if there is no tomorrow.” (Full text below.)

Really? No one disputes that we have a responsibility towards the environment and the EP has garnered justifiable praise for leadership in environmental stewardship. Yet His All Holiness increasingly approaches environmental care using the playbook of Progressive environmental activism. The alarmist tone is one example. So are the ostensible “facts” justifying the alarm:

  • We have lost half of the great forests of the world to the demand for timber and for conversion to agriculture, without thinking that these giant wet sponges are responsible for the delivery of much of the fresh water.
  • Irrigation for agriculture takes 70% of global demand for water, and – almost unimaginably – some of the world’s greatest rivers are so depleted by the influence of humans that they no longer flow to the sea; and those that do, carry in their waters all the chemical fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and waste materials they have collected along their course.
  • Desertification is increasing on land at the same time that the fish stocks of the oceans are depleted by over exploitation; and those that remain are being poisoned by toxic materials dumped carelessly in their habitat. Instead of living on income, or the available surplus of the earth, we are consuming environmental capital and destroying its sources as if there is no tomorrow.

There is some accuracy to the statements, as far as they go. But do they justify the alarm? For example:

  • The total acreage in the U.S. devoted to wildlife areas and state and national parks has increased from eight million in 1920 to seventy-three million in 1974, and all the land used for urban areas, plus roadways still amounts to less than three percent of the land area of the United States. [See Richard Stroup and John Baden, Natural Resources: Bureaucratic Myth and Environmental Management (San Francisco: Pacific Institute, 1983); Charles Baird, Rent Control: The Perennial Folly (Washington D.C.: Cato Institute, 1980); and Bernard Frieden, The Environmental Protection Hustle (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1979).] Like climate change, many of the facts in evidence are in dispute.
  • While the overuse of water for irrigation is a problem (and one for which technological answers can be found), we can’t forget that the primary purpose for irrigating arable land is for the production of food. Irrigation has saved millions from famine, disease, and death. Is irrigation abused? Certainly. Are millions fed because of it? Absolutely.
  • “Desertification” describes the process by which land becomes increasingly drought-prone. Most experts describe desertification as a very complex process that is poorly understood. Some argue that desertification is actually a function of global cooling since much of earth’s available water remains locked in the ice caps. The Sahara, for example, was grasslands when the earth was warmer and had more water available for rain.

Alarmist environmental activism is blind to the economic and social dimensions of environment care. Alarmism, in other words, should have no place in our deliberations about the environment because it ignores the economic and social ramifications that environmental policy will have on real people.

Don’t discount the ramifications. Some are deadly. Take the DDT scare of the early 1960s for example. In 1962, Rachel Carlson published “Silent Spring” contending that DDT threatened human civilization. She too rang the alarmist bell and the activists duly took note. The result was that DDT was banned and millions (estimates range from 20 to 50 million) in the Third World died of malaria. Read more here.

The only viable ethic of environmental care recognizes the value of the human person a-priori, and discerns environmental stewardship from this starting point. A comprehensive ethic has yet to be developed and the Orthodox could offer an important contribution given our developed anthropology.

Unfortunately, the EP has thrown his mitre in with the alarmists. After the address, Senator Paul Sarbanes read a few words from Vice President Al Gore to add the final polish to the Patriarch’s presentation. Sarbanes has a very poor record in the defense of human life including a vote to overturn legislation that would ban partial-birth abortions. How can an environmental ethic that values human life be constructed when those who are selective in their defense of who lives and who dies are feted as representatives of Orthodox thinking?

And why does the EP align himself with Gore, the poster boy of environmental alarmism, and still expect that his words be received with care and deliberation by those who don’t accept Gore’s apocalyptic warnings?

Full text of the address below followed by a GOA press release.

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Opening Address of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Symposium The Great Mississippi River: Restoring Balance’ (New Orleans, 21 October 2009)

It is with great pleasure that we welcome you all to the official opening of Symposium VIII, entitled “The Great Mississippi River”.

This Symposium is in many ways both historical and unique. This river comprises a microcosm of our planet. In its waters, we observe many of the world’s ecological issues. We are humbled in its presence. We have come to listen to its story, to learn from its history.

Let us consider our own presence on this great river.

As the Mississippi links the prairies to the sea, we ourselves form the link between the past and the future. Science has developed a theory to explain the beginning of the Universe almost 14 billion years ago, the beginning of simple life forms some 4 billion years ago and the birth of human beings a mere 160,000 years ago.

Although the time we have been on the planet is insignificant in the context of the life of the planet itself, we have reached a defining moment in our story.

We have expanded our dominion over Nature to the point where absolute limits to our survival are being reached. We have lost half of the great forests of the world to the demand for timber and for conversion to agriculture, without thinking that these giant wet sponges are responsible for the delivery of much of the fresh water.

Irrigation for agriculture takes 70% of global demand for water, and – almost unimaginably – some of the world’s greatest rivers are so depleted by the influence of humans that they no longer flow to the sea; and those that do, carry in their waters all the chemical fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and waste materials they have collected along their course.

Desertification is increasing on land at the same time that the fish stocks of the oceans are depleted by over exploitation; and those that remain are being poisoned by toxic materials dumped carelessly in their habitat. Instead of living on income, or the available surplus of the earth, we are consuming environmental capital and destroying its sources as if there is no tomorrow.

The dilemmas we are faced with are the problems created by human beings.

Having struggled for centuries to escape from the tyranny of hunger, disease, and want, the technological advances of the last half century have created the illusion of us being in control of our destiny as never before. We have cracked the code of DNA, we can create life in test tubes, we can genetically modify crops, we can put men upon the moon – but we have lost our balance, externally and within. Wealth generated in the developed world has not put an end to suffering. Technological achievements were not able to contain the wrath of nature witnessed in this area only four years ago. The explosion of knowledge has not been accompanied by an increase in wisdom. Only wisdom could make us realize that the Creation is an interdependent, undivided whole, not an assemblage of isolated, unrelated parts that can be eliminated, replaced or modified as we see fit. Even the smallest human intervention, even the minutest change in the natural order brought about by human action can have – and does have – long term devastating effects on the planet.

In addition to seeking balance between ourselves and our environment, we need to find balance within ourselves, reassessing our values as well as what is valuable. Let us remember that whoever we are, we all have our part to play, our sacred responsibility to the future. And let us remember that our responsibility grows alongside our privileges; we are more accountable the higher we stand on the scale of leadership. Our successes or failures, personal and collective, determine the lives of billions. Our decisions, personal and collective, determine the future of the planet.

As we look at this great river and explore the challenges faced by local communities, let us search for solutions from the perspective of Faith, mindful that we are all in the same fragile boat of life – that we are living defining moments in history, and that we are living them together in Truth, in Love, in Hope and above all, in Responsibility.

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GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA
Press Release

October 22, 2009

ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW OFFICIALLY OPENS EIGHTH ENVIRONMENTAL SYMPOSIUM IN NEW ORLEANS

NEW ORLEANS – His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew officially opened today the Eighth Religion, Science and the Environment (RSE) Symposium, entitled “Restoring Balance: The Great Mississippi River,” which takes place here for the next five days under his high patronage and includes a large and diverse group of theologians, scientists, policymakers, environmentalists, representatives of business and NGOs, and media.

Roman Catholic Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans welcomed the Ecumenical Patriarch and read a cordial, prayerful and personal message from Pope Benedict XVI in which he conveyed his support and solidarity in the effort of caring and protecting the environment and “the safeguarding of God’s creation.”

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in his very significant opening address said that “we have reached a defining moment in our history…the point where absolute limits to our survival are being reached,” and we “instead of living on income, or the available surplus of the earth, we are consuming environmental capital and destroying its resources as if there is no tomorrow.” (See full text below)

Following the Patriarchal Address, retired US Senator Paul Sarbanes, who is a participant in the symposium read a message from former Vice President Al Gore, in which he expressed his esteem and respect for the Ecumenical Patriarch’s perseverance demonstrated by this Eighth Environmental Symposium. Al Gore was the first to address Patriarch Bartholomew as the “Green Patriarch” in 1997 when welcoming him to Washington D.C.

Finally, Archbishop Demetrios, as the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, offered an official welcome to the Ecumenical Patriarch both to the United States and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, which is an eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

“We are in this wounded city, New Orleans, and in an equally wounded River, the mighty Mississippi. And we are here to contribute, as much as it is possible, to the healing of both,” said Archbishop Demetrios and added that His All Holiness is “the Healer Patriarch who laboriously, incessantly, and deliberately serves in an extraordinary way the ecological healing process and tends to the wounds inflicted upon nature by human beings.”

Information on the Ecumenical Patriarch and his visit to the U.S. can also be found online at: www.goarch.org” or www.usvisit2009.org and on the Mississippi symposium at: www.rsesymposia.org.

Comments

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    John Couretas says:

    Regarding Sen. Sarbanes, read Andrew Estocin’s “Constantinople’s Moral Oversight” on the Touchstone Web site. Published in 1999. Clip:

    Paul Sarbanes is a US senator from Maryland. As an Orthodox churchman he has taken a highly visible role in the work of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) and served as a key public figure in gaining the Congressional Gold Medal for Patriarch Bartholomew. He is also a past recipient of the Order of St. Andrew’s Patriarch Athenagoras Award for his defense of human rights and is now honored by the Orthodox Church as an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    Why is this last point significant? From the official website of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, we learn the following information about the rank of Archon and what is expected of a man who holds that rank: “It is the sworn oath of the Archon to defend and promote the Greek Orthodox faith and tradition. His special concern and interest is to serve as a bulwark to protect and promote the Holy Patriarchate and its mission. . . . This honor, extended by the Church, carries with it grave responsibilities, deep commitments, and sincere dedication. Consequently, it is of utmost importance that this honor of obligation be bestowed upon individuals of proven Orthodox Christian character, who conform faithfully to the teachings of Christ, and the doctrines, canons, worship, discipline, and encyclicals of the Church.”

    This is what is expected of an Archon of the ecumenical patriarchate. But what do we have in Senator Sarbanes? The facts speak for themselves:

    • On May 20, 1997, and again on September 18, 1998, he was (along with Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, another Orthodox Christian) among the minority of senators who voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion.

    • On September 4, 1997, he lent his support to legislation permitting medical experiments on intentionally aborted children as “fetal tissue research.” (The slippery ethical slope created by such legislation leaves open the possibility, perhaps even the likelihood, that children will be conceived solely for the purpose of medical experimentation.)

    • His voting record (as published by Project Vote-Smart) has received a 100 percent approval rating from the pro-abortion organizations Planned Parenthood USA and Zero Population Growth.

    The Pastoral Problem

    There seems to be a larger problem here, however. From the perspective of proper moral direction, one may argue the case that Orthodox Christians in America who fall under the pastoral care of the Ecumenical Patriarch are not being very well shepherded right now, and perhaps the Patriarch’s lamentable greeting to Senator Sarbanes should be taken as only a more egregious symptom of a more serious illness. I suggest that it is time for Orthodox Christians in America to begin questioning the pastoral leadership of the Ecumenical Patriarchate with respect to its stewardship of Orthodox Christian Tradition in America. Put simply: the Ecumenical Patriarchate has severely neglected, and continues to neglect, pro-life and other pivotal social issues in its American ministry.

    This neglect is readily noticeable if one compares the relative silence of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America on pro-life issues with the active involvement of other Orthodox hierarchies in this country. Consider, for example, the important legal brief amicus curiae filed on February 21, 1989, on behalf of Orthodox Christians in America in the famous Webster case before the Supreme Court (printed in Touchstone, Spring 1992, pp. 15–20). This was arguably the strongest and clearest statement on the evil of abortion to come from Orthodox auspices in America.

    Yet Bishop (now Metropolitan) Maximos of Pittsburgh was the only Greek Orthodox bishop among the many signers of that document, in contrast to the unanimous signatures of the ranking hierarchs from the Russian (OCA, ROCOR), Antiochian, Serbian, Ukrainian, and Romanian jurisdictions. A full half of the Orthodox in America belong to the Greek Orthodox archdiocese, whose spiritual leaders were—with the exception of one bishop—completely silent on that solemn occasion.

    That was a decade ago. The situation is worse today, especially since the elevation of Patriarch Bartholomew to the see of Constantinople. The new patriarch, it seems, prefers the more popular and politically correct moral concerns, like environmental awareness. Only rarely does he speak out on issues such as abortion, euthanasia, and the role of the family in civil society. For this reason his voice is muted of the sorts of prophetic tones that aid in the formation of consciences.

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      Andrew says:

      John,

      Thank you for referencing my article. I am very proud of it. Although the article was written many years ago, it more relevant today than ever. I hope many of the folks here at AOI will read it and understand very clearly that the EP and GOA believe without reservation that one can support gross human rights violations while at the same time being celebrated by the Church as a leader.

      If this visit highlights anything it is that we are witnessing the wholesale seduction of one of the great institutions in the history of Christianity. This whole rebranding of the EP into the Green Patriarch is a tragedy of the first order.

      It was equally tragic that the EP could not reference Jesus Christ in his opening symposium remarks. Outside of casual phrases like “giving to thanks to Almighty God” and “blessing in the name of Christ” upon his arrival in the USA there seems to be no serious reference to the truth of Jesus Christ and the gift of faith. The Green agenda is clearly in control.

      One cannot help but feel like a spiritual orphan during this “Apostolic” visit. Between the Green Patriach and the omogenia before Orthodoxy mentality there seems to be little if any room for the Gospel that has shaped what is best in our culture.

      We are in the middle of a crisis of Spiritual Fatherhood in the most basic sense.

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    Isa Almisry says:

    “And why does the EP align himself with Gore, the poster boy of environmental alarmism…”

    …and the cap and trade tycoon (he is heavily invested. You didn’t think it was altruism, did you? I believe he has already made a 100 mil greenbacks.)

    Put not your trust in princes, in the sons of man, in whom there is no salvation….

    Lyons II, Florence, Tokyo, Copenhagen, New Orleans. Sigh, it seems we may see the end of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in a pathetic wimper.

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    John Panos says:

    The Patriarch is heaping alarmism on alarmism here.

    Hurry, hurry, hurry!

    Sound familiar, Americans? That’s how Washington spent billions of our dollars with little to no accountability this past year.

    This is not Apostolic. It is not pastoral. It is political. I think the EP sees the direction the world is going, and has hitched his wagon to the neo-socialist eco-nazis.

    It was later than you think a long time ago. We are in trouble.

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    Chrys says:

    Father, your response – written in the original post – was spot on. My only question for the EP echoes the one I had regarding the Twitter post: how can the arguments he is using lead to a calling for repentance and a turn to God? These arguments are driving a specific policy agenda, not a call to spiritual conversion and transformation. I sure hope I am missing something. I do not want to diminish the good he is trying to do (though I think the consequences he is recommending would do inestimable harm – especially to the world’s poor), I just keep wondering how much of this is rooted in the faith. That is, how does this build up the Church or promote the restoration of humanity to communion with God? I must be missing something. If not, is it fair to ask who is actually focused on pastoring the Church?

    If we get the leaders we deserve (and where do they come from but from among us?), it seems to me that we may see in this the judgment of God – and we have been found wanting.

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      Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

      Chrys, outside the Church the implicit danger is that the lending of Patriarchal authority to environmental leftists (Gore, Soros, etc.; the redistributionists; the neo-Malthusians; etc.) is that it confers a semblance of sanctity to the quasi-religious underpinnings that shape and direct their movement. This religious dimension is expressed through apocalyptic warnings, the portrayal of the earth as sacred space, the moral approbation of those who don’t share the message, utopian promises of a restored Eden, granting animals legal rights, and most troubling the implicit assumption that man is the enemy, rather than the steward of the creation.

      So yes, there is no call for repentance, except of course that which is implied within the framework of the environmental spirituality. Language is used too loosely here. Maybe the Patriarch is right that defiling creation is a sin, but seeing the assertion parlayed into support for the political agenda of far-left environmental activism without any further definition or clarification strikes me as irresponsible.

      Inside the Church the effort seems almost desperate. Most of the press releases intended for internal consumption stress the Patriarch’s proximity to power. I must have read five times that Al Gore gave His All Holiness the nick-name “The Green Patriarch.” So what? What significance does this hold apart from the fact that Al Gore was once Vice President?

      And why the new effort on “greening” the Churches? Yes, environmental care is important, and, I would argue, a concern that technologically advanced countries have the time, resources, even the luxury, to address. But the new found concern has that public relations feel to it, a coordinated call to action to highlight the person bringing the message.

      So what is missing? I think you put your finger on it — a call to true repentance which would find a cultural expression first in a turning away of our abuse of others and could also provide the necessary moral clarity to working out how we take care of the rest of God’s creation — including the natural world. This is the call the Patriarch could be making and one that would further, rather than diminish, his authority.

      Yes, we have been found wanting.

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        Fr. John says:

        Citing BARTHOLOMEW’s ‘alarmism’ and ‘leftism’ is a mere rhetorical sidestep away from the issue the whole Patriarchal visit is confronting. Further hot buttons are pressed through invoking the voting record of Sarbanes. Casting such a wide net, one is sure to catch many flounders as well as herring. Guilt by association does not a convincing argument make.

        I would like to see sincere appraisal of the issues the Patriarch addresses, something like a debate, but instead this reads like an obituary. Psychologizing BARTHOLOMEW is a poor substitute for making an attempt to hear his warning and discuss it rationally. Why is ‘repentance’as regards environmental abuse somehow impossible? Does this not speak of the hearer’s more than the speaker’s lack? In debate, we are enjoined to accept the speaker in good faith. I read BAD FAITH all over this topic.

        The canard of repentance over human concerns vs. those of the rest of creation is well-worn and unconvincing. Even the gesture toward scientific refutation of environmental cautions is dated by several decades. Maybe we ought to try listening and heeding His Holiness’ message, even if we don’t like what he is saying.

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          Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

          Fr. John, care to describe what the nuts and bolts of the Patriarchal message might be? I can’t see any distinction between, say, Al Gore’s prescriptions (the GOA press office invokes Gore continually, not me) for redress of environmental abuses and the Patriarch’s solutions.

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          Christopher says:

          Fr. John,

          In one sense it is too late to discuss his “warning” rationally (by which you mean blindly accepting the alarmist position) because he has thrown his lot in with radical proposals such as Copenhagen.

          In fact, I suggest what you are proposing is not “rational” in that you take the alarmist position as both true and any disagreement of it as “irrational”

          In fact sir, I read BAD FAITH all over your position, as you simply refuse to see disagreement of the alarmist position as rational. Your implication is that we are simple contrarians with unexamined psycho attachments (as in “even if we don’t like what he is saying”) as doing the very thing you accuse us of, “psychologizing”.

          I will welcome a rational discussion with you after you apologize for your false witness against us.

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          Chrys says:

          Father, claims of alarmism and leftism (not mine, but I am sympathetic) are not sidesteps but short-hand for characterizing the position being put forward and disputed. For that matter, the issues, assumptions and arguments have been addressed at length elsewhere. Likewise, there is no effort to “psychologize” anything; there is some guessing at possible motivations, but that expresses the general bewilderment given the arguments offered so far.

          The issue I have raise, at any rate, is that the argument presented in the excerpt above is NOT based on the faith but policy. Your characterization of this position as a “canard” – lie – of repentance of human concerns “versus” the rest of creation is unwarranted – unless you are referring to something I haven’t read in this thread. To the contrary, I believe most of the comments would support the idea that repentance regarding the abuse of the environment is entirely appropriate; it is of a piece with abusing ALL of God’s creation – including other human beings. It is the result of reducing the world (people included) to a commodity for “my” personal consumption. So, yes, I think the EP has a strong THEOLOGICAL argument to make – but that is NOT the argument he is making.

          That is the extent of my comment: the argument in the excerpt presented isn’t fundamentally theological (despite the occasional use of religious terms).

          As far as considered debate, I guess anyone has a right to put forward whatever position they wish. For my part, I don’t automatically look to the hierarchy for a careful assessment of the current environmental research. I don’t look to them for tax policy, resource management or notions about the prudent allocation of capital either. But that “hearing” is earned by some degree of expertise. Not that I wouldn’t consider it, but so far I have not heard anything that resembles the kind of considered arguments that would warrant consideration; what I have heard and read are pretty “well-worn” and unconvincing arguments that are intended to promote particular policies. In short, the arguments offered so far are neither theological nor scientific but political. As such, the responses you may be reacting to are entirely appropriate for a political debate.

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    paleocon says:

    The EP’s words are much less alarmist than some reactions to it here (“hitched his wagon to the neo-socialist eco-nazis”? Really?). As Fr. Johannes noted, the problems he lists are real and, to some extent at least, really are potential walls that we are going to be hitting in the near- to mid-future. Noting that fact is not alarmist. Reactions to it can be, but not simply acknowledging and taking seriously the reality on the ground. The EP lists several non-controversial facts. But he doesn’t make any policy recommendations to judge as either sound or alarmist. I’m left with more questions than answers.

    “The only viable ethic of environmental care recognizes the value of the human person a-priori, and discerns environmental stewardship from this starting point. This has not yet been developed and the Orthodox could offer an important contribution given our developed anthropology.”

    Agreed. A valid ethic of environmental care also recognizes, however, that we are part of Creation; the crown of Creation, yes, but not external to it. The gaia enviromentalists miss the boat here in viewing humanity as a parasite or curse upon the world. “Protecting the environment” to them means removing all human traces from and uses of it. They’re wrong (and pardon Father, but I believe you are too in citing the increase in “protected” areas as evidence that concern/alarm is not justified; making tracts of land ineligible for human use is (arguably) good, but doing so accepts the framing of the gaias and really doesn’t address the fundamental imbalances and unsustainabilities in our current usage of natural resources). Standing against the gaias, we have an ideology saddled by a commitment to unhampered consumption and a disordered conception of property rights. The ideology is strong on libertarian freedom but weak on notions of proper use and obligation to culture, community, and future generations, even seeing such notions as tyrannical (for example, “neo-socialist”).

    I’m probably being uncharitable to both frames of mind in the prior paragraph, but that’s a rough outline of the poles that define the debate here in the US. I think we can read between the lines of the EP’s address and conclude that, like Pope Benedict, he disapproves of the latter frame of mind. It doesn’t necessarily follow, though, that he shares in the former. In fact, the paragraph beginning, “Having struggled for centuries…” suggests quite the opposite. There’s a strong hint there of a proper Orthodox anthropology. Only a hint, unfortunately. We probably shouldn’t expect anything resembling a clear or robust statement coming out of a forum like this. Anyone aware of a better statement from the EP on these questions intended for an Orthodox audience?

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      Christopher says:

      “The ideology is strong on libertarian freedom but weak on notions of proper use and obligation to culture, community, and future generations, even seeing such notions as tyrannical (for example, “neo-socialist”).”

      As a traditional conservative I agree that much of the push back against massive re-ordering of property rights and societal structure is libertarian in instinct and argument. Still, one does not have to agree with the libertarian viewpoint to understand the left’s embrace of this re-ordering. Also as a traditional conservative will have to have a VERY good reason to limit freedom of property and economic exchange. Your sentence here seems to imply that conservativism has an affinity for grand centralized ordering of society. Perhaps I don’t understand what a “paleocon” is, but you seem to be twisting the conservatives understanding of duty to community and offspring of somehow embracing what is left-socialist central planning by allegedly benevolent elites. That IS tyranny.

      Also, you seem to buy into the story of a cumulative effect of various environmental degradations reaching a “limit”. This is simply not supported by the evidence and conservative would never grasp at such straws. Indeed, some scientist have even argued that human induced global warming (if true) is a moral good. In a planet 10 degrees or so warmer, massive amounts of land in central asia becomes arable and thus can support a much larger future human population. If a person is serious about rejecting the nihilistic “gaia” view from a traditional viewpoint, then one need not embrace a version of duty to community that accepts the formals alarmism and centrally planned “solutions”

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      Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

      Paleocon, I hope that your hope that sanity will prevail in the end is proven correct. However, I have not seen anything that distances Pat. Bartholomew from the ideas of radical environmentalists like Al Gore, George Soros, and others. And I use the term “radical” here descriptively, not polemically as their support of the Copenhagen Protocols makes clear.

      I would welcome some evidence that the distinctions that you assert (correctly, IMO) need to be drawn are being drawn. I just don’t see it. In fact, I see the opposite as the EP’s urging that the Protocols be adopted also makes clear.

      Your are right, Pope Benedict sees the larger picture. I am not so sure our Patriarch does.

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        paleocon says:

        It’s not so much a hope I have as it’s an open question. I want to hear from the man himself. The tone and giddiness of the PR work of the US Greek church is embarrassing. And the EP’s need for sympathy and support from Europe to stall the Turks in annihilating the last remnant of his community in Constantinople (and his throne) certainly makes the motives behind his position questionable. But I don’t know if these things are smoke or fog.

        Regarding the company he is keeping, I do have to ask: Giving the EP the benefit of the doubt, and assuming his motivations in this campaign are born from and framed by the Orthodox mind, who would his conversation partners be if not these people if his intent is to affect change? What alternative plan of action (other than doing nothing) is at the world table other than the Kyoto/Copenhagen regime?

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      George Michalopulos says:

      “Hitched his wagon to the ‘neo-socialist eco-nazis’? Really?” Yes, really. Case in point: Ingrid Newkirk, the President of Peta once wrote a letter to Yassir Arafat condemning him for using a mule in a suicide bombing against Israeli civilians. His crime in her eyes? The death of the mule. Another case in point: Soros is a well-known socialist who believes in dismantling nations and excessive taxation for the express purpose of redistribution of wealth.

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        Jonathan says:

        I’m sorry, but PETA is not an environmental organization in any way, and they have nothing to do with what Patriarch Bartholomew was talking about. They are an animal rights organization. They have absolutely zero to do with the environmental movement. You have resorted to name-calling and false guilt-by-association rather than making an argument.

        As for Soros, I find it very hard to believe that a multi-billionaire who has been devoted to promoting democracy in post-Soviet states is any sort of “socialist”. He was a major supporter of Poland’s Solidarity movement, Georgia’s Rose Revolution, Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia, and Andrie Sakharov’s work in the USSR. And he’s donated $6 billion of his own money. You are once again using name-calling to taint someone who has done a huge amount of significant charitable and pro-democracy work.

        If this is the best support you have for calling people “neo-socialist eco-nazis”, then I feel you should withdraw the accusation.

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    cynthia curran says:

    Maybe, they think that conservative thought is similar to 19th century polticians like Bismark and Disreali who both created the modern welfare state in order to prevent the socalists or in the case of England the unions to get power. What most of everyone here is that the globial warming group is support by people that are very liberal in their theology or atheists or agnostic. Granted, those people can be right sometimes but I think they are interested in creating a utopia on Earth mainly without God. A new secular movement that replaces 19th century communist theory to lead to a secular utopia.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Paleocon, regarding your assertion that the EP perhaps more or less agrees with Pope (reading between the lines and all that), may I suggest that he uses a more direct way of talking. As Christians we are at a dangerous crossroads in civilization and moral clarity is called for. Yes, we should be prudent and pick our battles wisely, but we cannot ignore the precepts of our faith which are plain. We’re talking first principles here, not arcane theologemouna that are open to interpretation.

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      paleocon says:

      I’m not sure to what extent he agrees with B-XVI’s overall perspective. Wish I did. From this statement, though, it seems clear that he agrees with him in rejecting Western materialism and individualistic ideology. But, yes, I agree that he needs to be more clear and direct (and asked if anyone knew of any such writings). If there are none, it’s certainly the EP’s responsibility to step up to the plate and make his case to Orthodox people in an Orthodox context (and then bring the same to bear on the wider conversation). At the very least, he’s harming his own efforts by leaving himself open to projection and wild speculation about his thought and motives. At worst, he’s not meeting his responsibilities to his own people.

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        Christopher says:

        IMO, you see more ambiguity than there is. To support a radical societal re-org like Copenhagen and the alarmist position is a rather clear statement about either 1) Your commitment to certain materialist ideas about human relationships, economic life, and history or 2) and/or be really confused/ignorant about about Christian anthropology and human freedom.

        It is not “projection” or “wild speculation”…

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          paleocon says:

          I just don’t share the assumptions and contrived either/or’s that allow you to so unambiguously fill in the blanks in the EP’s statements and actions. Didn’t we just go through this with ABp Puhalo?

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            Christopher says:

            I suppose if I was “filling in the blanks” I would be assuming support for Copenhagen (and the previous versions). I am not assuming this – his support is explicit and unambiguous His support for the “alarmist” position also appears to be unambiguous These positions are not single third party reports (in the case of ABp Puhalo in error in a particular) but multiple statements and political positions “from the horses mouth” so to speak. None of this is “contrived”

            I am curious, where do you find ambiguity in explicit support? Or do you rather assent to the argument that the planet is a zero-sum game, that “western materialism” is using too much too fast, and that the solution for this is centrally planned re-org of economic society? I ask this because on the one hand you appear to be looking for a “middle way” that on the one hand accepts the presumptions of the alarmist position, and even the solutions, but is somehow justified on a traditional/Christian understanding of anthropology.

            I would like to see such an argument made explicit. While the Christian tradition of “stewardship” is used by the EP (and apparently yourself), when it comes to praxis the assumptions behind and the solutions to the stated problem are simply accepted. Thus, the EP simply pastes over rather abstract assertions of Christian stewardship unto the alarmist position.

            Now, if the alarmist position itself was based on traditional/Christian understanding of creation, anthropology, and praxis concerning economic and political life then that might work. Since however the alarmist position begins and ends in the very “western materialism” that the EP justly (well, some of the time) decry, it is a walking/talking contradiction on so many levels it’s hard to know where to begin.

            So far, all you have done (correct me if I am wrong) is simply assert that it is not a contradiction. Perhaps if you stated an argument as to how the alarmist position is relevant to a Christian understanding of duty to our children, etc. that would help. It has been well documented that even internally to “western materialism” the alarmist position is not wholly accepted. The “father” of modern climate modeling for example has come out against it, saying the agenda is being pushed by a governmental grant system that rewards alarmist thinking. He says the models themselves fail utterly to predict the climate in the short term (matter of days), let alone years out (he is retired now and can say these things).

            In other words even on it’s own terms, the moral presupposed in the materialist position (which can be stated rather simply: change = bad) is not accepted by those with some distance to the situation who would otherwise be inclined to accept it.

            As someone with children and who does not want my children to be struggling in a depleted/poisoned world, I too am concerned about “western materialism”. However, the alarmist position is a product of that very philosophy and is not even internally coherent. I just don’t see how you can paste some Christian stewardship on it (no matter how sincere) and come up with a real praxis. Thus I would love to see an argument that deals with these inconsistencies…

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            paleocon says:

            That the EP supports the Copenhagen regime, specifically, and, regarding our environmental challenges generally, speaks against doing nothing (apparently what you mean by “alarmist,” given your varying usage of the term?) is not in question. Why he does so very much is, though. I don’t claim to know why. You assert that it’s clearly because he’s either a committed Materialist or is ignorant of or confused about the mind of the Church. One of us is reasoning backward from presuppositions to make a judgment (I oppose Copenhagen and judge it to be X; the EP supports Copenhagen; therefore, the EP is X). I’m pretty sure it’s not me who is engaging in such faulty logic, on this “blank” at least.

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            Christopher says:

            You are correct – I am reasoning from his open support for Copenhagen and the alarmist position. Again, this is not “backwards” or “faulty” as he clearly supports the assumptions of the alarmist position. He himself states why he supports it in that he believes in the essentials:

            1) Mankind, mostly due to a “western materialism” and “individualism” ethic imprudently pollutes the commons – to the point that it poisons ourselves and future generations.

            2) Perhaps more ominously, mankind is using up what are termed “resources” too fast. “Non-renewable” resource use should be drastically cut back no matter what the pain to present generations and economies (who have been living beyond their means anyway).

            3) The above adds up to a real and present danger to the very survival of man. To quote the EP, “we have reached a defining moment in our history … the point where absolute limits to our survival are being reached.”

            None of this is “true” in any sense worth acting upon. Certainly not scientifically (dissent is well documented as well as the abysmal history of accurately predicting these crises) and not even on a prudential level. It also ignores the social and moral level accept on the most basic level – and then only to condemn and exhort to get in line.

            In any case a real and prudential view of Christian stewardship certainly would not begin with or support such an alarmist position that has its basis presuppositions about Creation and morals we simply can not accept.

            It is an error for him to commit to one side of a what essentially is a secular political debate. It is ignorance at best. I suppose you’re right, we should give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he is not a committed materialist. Confusion (which unfortunately is not neutral in it’s moral consequences) is the best you can say.

            In any case, if you (or anyone else) hears of a deeper justification or critical reflection coming from the EP be sure to let us know!

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    Andrew says:

    Vote in the Following Poll! The folks over at http://www.thenationalherald.com are asking the following question on the front page of their website.

    Is the Ecumenical Patriarch successful in his efforts to present the Greek Orthodox Church to the World?

    I encourage all readers here to let their voice be heard.

  9. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Greg says:

    Interesting…

    ZENIT is reporting on some of what the EP is doing in the US:

    Patriarch Laments Lack of Wisdom in Caring for Creation

  10. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Isa Almisry says:

    Probably taking pity on his press, or lack thereof.

  11. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    cynthia curran says:

    My comment, the old soviet system was a collectivist system and did a lot of pollution damage. Why is it in the minds of some orthodox leaders the west is always at fault. Granted, the old Soviet System was cause by the theory of German Karl Marx but the west is not always to blame for Eastern Autocracy.

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      Christopher says:

      My reading of Justin Popovich (to name one example) is that many Orthodox thinkers DO blame “the west” for the communist ‘dark age’ in their own countries. They seem to be saying that a sort of foreign disease took hold. Anyone else see this?

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        Theodoros says:

        I believe there is some truth to this. The West has in fact
        imported any number of evils toward the Orthodox East beginning
        with the Crusades which ravaged Byzantine power politically
        (the Fourth Crusade)and economically (read Byzantium and Venice
        by the late Professor Donald Nicol).

        Whatever political turmoil in the Orthodox East under the Ottomans
        as well as in Russia under the Romanovs, Orthodox peoples did not
        question Christianity.

        The West from a political standpoint over many centuries evolved
        from the fanaticism of the Crusades which committed genocide against
        Muslims and Jews in Jerusalem and later against Greek Orthodox in
        Constantinople and Greece, to various atheistic and anti-religious
        philosophies.

        The nineteenth century saw not only the rise of revolutionary ideas
        such as Marxism in Western Europe, but the attempt to legitimize
        racial ideas under the guise of science with the advent of Social
        Darwinism which led to Nazism and the Holocaust.

        This is not to imply the West is evil, far from it. Western
        Democracy is a very good thing but there have been very unpleasant
        ideas emanating from the West and one of them was Communism which
        was an import to Russia.

        In addition, western imperialism led to the destruction of
        Christianity in Asia Minor. The Turkish genocide against Armenians,
        Assyrians, and Asia Minor Greeks as a result of both the indifference
        and the economic interests of American, British, French, and Italian
        has been well documented historically by objective scholars and
        eyewitnesses who were in Smyrna and Constantinople in 1922.

        These include American sources such as Consul General George Horton,
        physician/writer Herbert Adam Gibbons, and American relief activist
        Edward Hale Bierstadt.

        And then is the Genocide of the Serbs during the Second World War
        under the Ustashe regime of Ante Pavelic which collaboated with
        the Nazis. Eight hundred thousand Serbs were slaughtered with many
        Croatian Catholic priests presiding over the “baptism” of Serbs.

        During the 1990′s the Serb viewpoint was entirely ignored by the
        American and European media outlets even though entire Serbian
        populations as in Krajina in 1995 were the victims of mass ethnic
        cleansing campaigns aided and abetted by NATO.

        Then there is of course NATO’s expansion eastward toward the Russian
        border which has angered both Church and State in Russia. The late
        Patriarch Alexy was an outspoken opponent of western policies toward
        Russia.

        And in Greece, it is western funded think tanks (ironically the type
        that Patriarch Bartholomew is meeting with) who have been attempting
        to influence Greeks to secularize their country.

        While Western Europe is abandoning Christianity, the East is
        reembracing Christianity while Greece in particular is resisting
        pressure from the Europeans to conform by legalizing gay marriages,
        altering the status of Mount Athos (which Western Europeans claim
        discriminates against women) and removing Christianity from schools
        and the Cross from their flag.

        Theodoros

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    Charles Bourbon says:

    The Orthodox Church has been forsaken at the altar of leftist “progressive” politics

    http://www.americanprogress.org/events/2009/11/EcumenicalPatriarch.html

    1. Why in the world is the George Soros-funded, extreme left-wing, abortion-supporting Center for American Progress co-hosting an address by the Orthodox Patriarch?

    2. How can this “changeless faith” be a “revolutionary faith …dedicated to change?”

    3. Who wrote this un-Orthodox drivel?

    4. Who organized this un-Orthodox event?

    A Changeless Faith for a Changing World
    A Lecture by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I

    November 3, 2009, 11:00am – 12:15pm

    His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the ecumenical patriarch of Orthodox Christianity, will discuss the nature of progress at a lecture co-sponsored by the Center for American Progress and Georgetown University in Gaston Hall at Georgetown.

    In His All Holiness’s words, true progress is a “balance between preserving the essence of a certain way of life and changing things that are not essential.”

    Orthodox Christianity is a revolutionary faith and is dedicated to change. And even though the faith has never taken up the banner of progressivism per se, it has taken up many causes over the centuries that are progressive by definition.

    His All Holiness will address three of these causes at his lecture: nonviolence, philanthropy (specifically in the form of health care), and environmentalism.

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      Charles,

      Your assessment sounds just about right. The EP has fully embraced the leftist environmental agenda and is squandering his moral authority on organizations and individuals who have a know agenda and biased view of America and science.

      All alarmist predictions and the “sky is falling” warnings are based on speculative computer models that are not confirmed by the observable data. Hence the lack of any warming since 1998 despite the dramatic rise in CO2 levels (still only 0.037% of the atmosphere, a miniscule trace gas). Anyone with a basic understanding of science and logic would conclude that human-caused CO2 (nay, all CO2, 370 parts per million of our atmosphere) DOES NOT and CANNOT CAUSE the warming!

      Dare we say, that Patriarch Bartholomew has embraced the Global Warming (ahem I mean Climate Change, notice the subtle change in their wording?) Cultist ideas and ideals who push their agenda despite the missing CAUSATIONAL element. If anyone should be blamed for the warming (which stopped in 1998) it is most likely our SUN (confirmed by Russian and European scientists via ice-core samples) that puts out 386 billion billion megaWatts every second, equivalent to 100 billion Hydrogen bombs going off every second! Compare that with any “heat trapping” of a colorless trace gas making up 0.037% of our atmosphere! It’s simply ridiculous to claim that human-caused CO2 has any influence on the average earth temperature.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Christopher, I blame as much the Ottoman/Phanariote subjugation of the EP and the Romanov-inspired suppression of the ROC by Peter the Great. The Western influence (especially the cheesy/treacly iconography) came after the Church started getting more liberated in the 19th century

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    cynthia curran says:

    What about Putin. I doubt that he is a great supporter of Political freedoms and I do think that the West has a good reason to be on guard with Russia. Also, the East is known for many Tyrants like the Mongols,the Turks came from the East, and China has been a great power for centuries without much political freedom. As for the fourth crusade, what about the emperor Justinian’s reconquest of Italy that took place about 700 year earlier. Granted, I doubt the man intended to do the damage that was done but it happen. Rome had 14 Aquaducts but the war destroy all 14 of them. Yes, the Goths did that but if Justinian didn’t try the reconquest it might not have happen. Rome from the war lost her senate and moved toward being control by the Pope more after the war. Only three years after his death, the Lombards took a 1/3 of Italy. I know this makes some of the people here mad but a few Byzantine emperors did some damage to the West too.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Theodoros, there is much merit to what you’re saying. I too blame the Western powers for much of the debacles of the 20th centuriy vis-a-vis the indigenous Christian populations of the Levant. However, we colluded in our own diminution by retreating comfortably into our ghettoes. We forgot what it meant to be the Church, coming very close to “losing our first love” which is proclaiming the Gospel. That may be why we’re having such a hard time in America being the Church. We are still living in our ethnic ghettoes, often in luxurious ones when in reality we are probably headed back to the catacombs. What then will those of us who are comfortable do?

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      Theodoros says:

      It is a mistake to confuse the Greek Orthodox populations that were
      held in a captive state under Turkish rule with the modern Greek
      American community. The Greeks under Ottoman rule produced no shortage
      of martyrs who died for the faith both for refusing to convert to Islam,
      and for attempting to preach to the Turks.

      Hagios Cosmas Aitalos was executed in 1779 for attempting to preach to
      the Muslims.

      Some years ago, I went to Constantinople and saw the difficulties that
      the Greeks who still live there are enduring. They are trying to
      maintain their Churches and shrines under very difficult conditions.

      There are two priests I have read about at Halki who maintain the
      famous library and are responsible for the upkeep of the school. It is
      a difficult thing to be a Christian in Turkey today as it ever was.

      The genocide of the Turks between the periods of 1913 and 1922 was
      both racial and religious in motivation. Any Greek or Armenian who
      converted to Islam would save their lives. Most of the Christians
      flat out refused and paid the ultimate price for it.

      Getting back to the original point, there have been political trends in
      the west that have been destructive for the Christian East. A case in
      point is the so called “Christian Zionism” which has contributed to
      the ravaging of the native Palestinian Christian populations (Orthodox
      and Catholic). In addition, the war on Iraq has decimated the Christians
      of Iraq who at least were tolerated under Saddam Hussein.

      Most of them today have taken refuge in Syria which despite being an
      authoritarian regime tolerates Christianity. If the regime in Syria
      is uprooted by Washington, the Patriarchate of Antioch will lose its
      flock the way Constantinople did.

      The Phanar has many wrongs with it at the present time, but by its
      very presence in a hostile Islamo-racist Turkey it does to a certain
      extent bear witness to Christ. The Turks hate him above all for being
      an infidel.

      Theodoros

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        Christopher says:

        Getting back to the original point, there have been political trends in
        the west that have been destructive for the Christian East. A case in
        point is the so called “Christian Zionism” which has contributed to
        the ravaging of the native Palestinian Christian populations (Orthodox
        and Catholic).

        Can you point me to a site I can read about this? First I have heard about it.

        In addition, the war on Iraq has decimated the Christians
        of Iraq who at least were tolerated under Saddam Hussein.

        The neo-cultic dictatorship of Saddam was a glitch on an otherwise resurgent Wahhabism. Same in Syria. These things only last as long as the “great leader” does. Are you seriously suggesting that the west should have then supported Saddam? The Christians in Iraq were living on borrowed time, just as the Christians in Syria/Lebanon are today (as well as the few that are left in Palestine). It is silly to blame “the west” for the 1300 year history of Islam.

        Christians in the middle east fought the good fight and have lost (Big Time! as my nephew would say). They need to immigrate or their choice will be stark: Convert or die.

        You bring up some good points but I don’t see how you can point to the west as the issue in this. You are correct, sooner or later the Bathist regime will fall in Syria and the Antioch will be another anachronism just like Constantinople. Egypt after that…

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          George Michalopulos says:

          Christopher, you bring up a good point. The decimation of the indigenous Christian populations began hundreds of years ago. Bat Y’eor wrote a good book on the subject (name escapes me at present). In her estimation, the Levantine and African Christians have undergone a “1400 year-long holocaust,” that began with the Muslim conquests. Personally, I think things are way more complicated than that, but one can see that the trajectory of Christian civilization in the land of its birth has been on the down-side going back several centuries ago.

          Those who think that Saddam Hussein, the Shah of Iran, Hafez al-Assad, and other secularists were “protectors” of the local Christian communities are correct in the abstract. In reality, these men were merely temporary speed-bumps on the road to a radicalized and totalitarian Waha’abi Islam. I suppose you could throw Kemal Ataturk into this mix as well.

          There is a more subtle point however that eludes many of their apologists, and that is: what does it mean that Christians can only survive in their native lands because of the willingness of these tyrants to tamp down native Arab/Islamic terror against the subject peoples?

          The theological implication of this is that the acceptance of dhimmi status implicitly means that there is no need to preach the Gospel. (That’s why almost all Orthodox jurisdictions don’t preach it here I imagine.) Politically its a disaster in this way: when the downtrodden Arab-Muslims masses revolts and overthrows these secularist tyrants, then there is hell to pay and they take it out of the Arab Christians (and Nestorians, Armenians, as well as Jews, Yazidis, Zoroastrians and other minorities) because these minorities had for so long been “favored” by the secularist tyrants.

          Let’s not forget, the minorities (especially the Arab Christians) tend to have a higher standard of living in comparison to their Islamic brethren. You see this not only in Lebanon, but on the West Bank, Egypt, Turkey (in the old days), etc. Anyway, the upshot is that with the liberation of the Islamic masses and their taking over of the levers of government, life for the Christians becomes unbearable little by little. The only thing left for these poor people to do is immigrate. And this has accelerated since the beginning of the 20th century.

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          Theodoros says:

          To begin with, the “Christian Zionists” with their obsession with
          the prophecies of Revelation and the Old Testament have been
          providing a variety of political and financial support to hard
          line Israeli religious groups. The history of modern Israel
          in 1948 and 1967 resulted in the evacuation of Palestinian as
          well as Israeli Christians from their villages and homes.

          To begin with, read William Dalyrimple’s “From the Holy
          Mountain” which is a travel book of virtually all the Christian
          populations of the Middle East. Until recently, the Arab towns
          of Nazareth and Bethlehem were populated by Arab Orthodox
          Christians.

          The Israeli settlers movement has been looking to displace Arab
          Christians as well as Muslims from their native lands. The
          Christians have been hit hard by the wars in the region and
          extremists on both sides.

          As for Saddam, the west had already supported him in the Iran-
          Iraq war. The fact remains that for Eastern Christians freedom
          of worship trumps political freedom. Read paleoconservative
          publications like the American Conservative and Chronicles which
          frequently publish articles about the difficulties of Christians
          in Iraq. When Saddam went down, the most extreme Islamic elements
          emerged to target the Christians.

          Eastern Christiany (Orthodox, Assyrian, Copt etc) have never been
          a priority of Western leaders. This goes in the Balkans as well
          where they helped Islam in its effort to detach Kosovo from Serbia.

          As for Saddam again, yes he was a monstrous figure but so are all
          the regimes in that entire region. At least the Christians could
          have had freedom of worship.

          Theodoros

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            Christopher says:

            I think you and George are saying the same thing: The middle eastern Christians have accepted dhimmi status long ago. The problem with this is that it leads to only one possible outcome – eventual conversion or death.

            A temporary “blip” on this trajectory due to suppression of Islam by a “secular” dictatorship is , well temporary. Such is what happens when put aside your Christian freedom in politics.

            Again, the core issues here have nothing to do with “the west”. Even on the edges neither a “Christian” west nor a secular one would support dhimmi status from the outside – it goes against the core of both kinds of “the west”. Can you see a modern secular west embracing a robust imperialism and going in a protecting all or some of the remnant of the middle eastern Christians? Will never happen – and frankly nor should it. The west simply does not have the moral basis to do this. Perhaps when the west was “Christendom” an argument could be made – but then their small efforts turned out to be a disaster as they were really political power plays manipulating Christianity for its own purposes (i.e. the Crusades).

  16. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    George Michalopulos says:

    Theodoros, the witness of the many neo-martyrs during the Ottoman occupation are a sterling witness to Christianity. My critique was not against them, but against the “leaders” who have led the majority (ever-dwindling) into accepting their dhimmi status.

    You hit upon a more salient point: the minorities of the Levant can be excused up to a point. What is our excuse here in a free country? We who go to heterodox (festivals, bake sales, etc.) to raise money to support our churches? We will be judged much more harshly for clinging to the ghetto mentality when it is not warranted.

    As far as the EP, yes, it does exist as a diocese in a harsh land. If he can’t evangelize the natives (Turks) then he should refuse to carry water for that government. End of story. In addition, he should refuse all honors based on faded glory as it is based on a deceit. This is no Christian witness pure and simple. If he is not going to outreach, then he should live as his people do –as a victim, and let the world see the dire straights that Christians live in the Islamic world. An “Apostolic journey” to far-Left venues where there is going to be NO mention of the Gospel is a not a Christian witness by any stretch of the imagination. Moroever, by perpetuating the deceit that he is a bishop of a consequential and vibrant diocese –when it in reality his people are suffering–is a betrayal of these same people. It’s no different than President Obama chartering Air Force One to take his wife on a “date” to Broadway while people are being thrown out of their homes and losing their jobs.

  17. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Andrew says:

    PATRIARCHAL VIDEO GAME?

    Just when you think the re-branding of the EP to Green Patriarch could not get anyworse. The GOA is Proud to Present:

    ENVIROMENTAL BALANCE: The Video Game Dedicated to the Green Patriarch.

    http://www.patriarchate.org/multimedia/environmental-balance

    Build Your Own World!

    I have poking around this for a little while but I still cannot find the button to insert the Patriarchal Gulfstream Jet nor can I find the “Fidel Castro the Environmentalist” figure to play with.

    I am speechless….utterly speechless!!!!

    • Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top

      Andrew,

      It gets worse, much worse! I tried the game and when I added the “Land and Sea: Canyons” option to my world look at the messages that came up:

      Think about it.
      Do you like to take trips? This verse talks about taking a trip to the mountains to get closer to God. Most people today think about going on a trip in a car or a plane. But cars and planes are high-impact.

      But if you are the EP then you are apparently EXEMPT, and can use an enormous Gulfstream private jet to go anywhere around the world. Never mind what you tell others!

      High-Impact
      We should try to have just a little effect on the earth–that’s being low-impact.

      Apparently, if you’re the EP and his support crew you can be as High-Impact as you like, after all they don’t have to practice what they preach!

      You can help!
      Next time you need to go somewhere, maybe you can walk! Of course, be sure to ask permission and take a safe route. You’ll have time to think, and get some exercise. Plus, you’ll be making a smaller impact on the earth.

      Maybe it’s time to the EP and his entire entourage to take a long walk and think about their HYPOCRISY and lack of INTEGRITY in regards to asking others to do what they themselves don’t practice and embracing the radical leftist environmental agenda that makes an idol out of nature and sacrifices precious human life on the altar of junk science.

  18. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    cynthia curran says:

    There are westerners that supported the Greeks in the 19th Century. Lord Byron come to mine in his later years he became a Roman Catholic. As for Christian Zionist, well in the 19th century William Wiberforce, gave aid to both Greeks and Turks during the war of independence that suffered during he war. Westerners were not always anti-Greek.

  19. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Theodoros says:

    To Christopher,

    What I am saying is this. Freedom of worship is the most important right
    that a Christian can have. I will say that I value freedom of religion
    more so than political freedom, or the right to vote. Given the choice,
    I will put my faith above everything.

    The Christians in the east have attempted to survive as best they can
    under very difficult circumstances. They value the ability to be able
    to partake the sacraments in Church, to baptize etc.. and worship.

    The Christians who live under Islamic regimes and war as the Palestinians
    do are attempting to preserve their faith in their homelands as long as it
    is possible. Chances are, their situation will inevitably become worse
    with the changing of certain regimes.

    But why is it wrong to attempt to survive where conditions permit? The
    Palestinian Authority and the regime in Syria are secular Nationalistic
    regimes, not Islamic ones. On that basis the Christians have been
    accepted as fellow Arabs, and are therefore tolerated.

    If western politicians cannot help them, it is understandable. But at least
    they should not be making the situation worse for them, either.

    And it is a noble effort to preserve Christianity in the holy land and
    the lands of its birth. And why should Eastern Christians not actively
    work for the betterment of the Christians in the East?

    The Serbian Church has established a lobby for the Serbs in Kosovo, as
    the Order of Saint Andrew lobbies for the Phanar.

    Why is it right for the US to pour money into supporting Israeli settlements
    and supporting Turkey, etc.. without accepting responsibility for
    Christian populations who are being affected by those policies?

    Theodoros

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      Christopher says:

      I suppose it depends on how you define “freedom of worship”. The problem of putting freedom of worship above everything else is that our Lord called us to evangelize. At least in dhimmi form, and the communist one, ‘freedom of worship’ is not really freedom at all because Christianity becomes an internalized thing and is too limited to be what Christianity is. I my opinion the results speak for themselves.

      I too wish the secular nationalist governments of the west would take into account these Christians in their political calculations, but it just is not going to happen. Other things will always be prioritized higher, not the least of which is the secular wests tendency to appease (which is what the money to Egypt, Turkey, etc. is about). The west on some level recognizes the threat that Islam is, but will continue to treat it as either a “rational actor” that can be negotiated with, or in a machiavellian manner – either way the remnant of Christians do not make rise to the level of even a variable…

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    cynthia curran says:

    Alas, I think too much like a westerner. As for Isreal, well the Jews have done things wrong but I doubt that the moslems would do better. And I think the christians have a bad deal which side rules. Also, there is a christian left that takes the opposite view, the Palestinians are always right while th Jews are wrong. Christian right and left is both wrong here. I’m not going to talk about this matter anymore since I have a more western thinking that believes that both west and east have cause more for thousands of years. Remember Germany was ally with Imperial Japan, an Eastern Country not western even if they adopted some thngs from the west.

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    cynthia curran says:

    that both west and east are guilty.

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    Chrys says:

    Interesting article in yesterday’s WSJ (Freaked Out Over SuperFreakonomics) discusses a recently published book that looks closely at the issues and the movement behind the Green agenda. They analyze the underlying concerns, potential solutions and a movement that is driven by a potent combination of economic incentives, the herd mentality, appeals to fear and the elements of an alternative religion. (I know – you’re shocked, shocked! – to discover this is going on.) Thankfully, our leadership has already examined these issues very carefully from the firm foundation of the faith of the apostles and provided the much needed theological balance and corrective to the mania of the moment. Or not.

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