Is Satan Green?
By Thomas D. Rowley*
In the three years since PBS’ Bill Moyers asked “Is God Green?” the answer from American Christendom has become a resounding “yes!” Proclaimed by everything from eco-friendly Palm Sunday fronds to the soy-based, Kermit-hued ink in the Green Bible, God’s color has been decided.
But what about Satan’s?
I know. I know. Talk of the devil these days is déclassé. Too fire-and-brimstone for our post-everything mindset. Plus, everyone knows he’s red with horns, tail and a pitchfork. Right? But what if C.S. Lewis were still uncovering missives from that diabolical Undersecretary of Temptation, Screwtape to his nephew and Junior Tempter, Wormwood? What might that reveal about Hell’s slant on the environment? With apologies to Lewis, perhaps something like this…
My Dear Nephew:
I see a certain despondence in your last correspondence. The long-delayed awakening of Christians to the Enemy’s directive to steward the Earth has gotten you down. Particularly, the awakening of that pesky group called evangelical Christians--a label that writers of the New Testament might well have thought redundant! Do not let it. As with all surges of that army, this, too, can be redirected. Confusion is the order of the day, dear Wormwood. Confusion!
To begin with, keep striking the chords that have proven so successful for us already. Keep your patients focused on the politics of it all--feeding the notion that the Enemy simply could not mean them to side with those they growlingly call “tree-hugging liberals.”
At the same time, nag them with doubts about science; keep them asking, albeit subconsciously, how something associated with abortion and evolution (thanks to your good works, Nephew) could ever be trusted?
Play, too, the note that says “it will all burn anyway, and the sooner the better.” Ah, there’s nothing finer than bad theology mixed with hopelessness for turning them aside.
Finally, addle their puny brains with false dichotomies: Surely, they cannot evangelize and care for the poor, for example, while also stewarding nature! Needless to say, you must keep hidden from them the indisputable facts that nature sings so disgustingly of the Enemy who created it and that upon nature the poor of the world so heavily depend.
As always, keep them from thinking deeply on any of these matters. There lies our undoing! Instead, fill their minds with the busyness of life—the grocery list, the children’s piano lesson or the church committee meeting. Should you detect a serious thought forming, however, simply give a nudge that now is the perfect time to text message, email or turn on some enlightening talk radio. Oh, how I love that last one! What victories it has given us!
Should these attempts fail to keep them off balance and ignoring the Enemy’s directive, we, too, can become green—at least our own shade of it. Here, I, of course, mean money, that ancient yet infallible tempter. How they love their money! Forgetting as they so laughably do that it is not theirs and that the Enemy has warned them again and again about what He ridiculously refers to as idolatry. I’ve also learned of a new shade of green developed by our labs: that of the perfect green lawn. How delightful! The illusion of health and beauty fostered by poison, copious amounts of precious water, and the weekly toiling behind a deafening, fume-belching machine! Brilliant! Simply, brilliant!
Above all--and I really shouldn’t have to warn you of this--keep them from opening that dastardly book the Enemy gave them! Rare indeed is the patient who can be retrieved once he has devoted himself to study there.
Finally, make sure to keep our correspondence secret. Human ignorance of our plans is one of our very best weapons. Nevertheless, should this letter leak to the press, I am confident that misunderstanding and emotion (never forget the power of emotion) will cause such a disturbance that you and I will be dismissed as the depraved imaginings of some witless human writer.
As always, your affectionate (and green if need be) uncle
*Rowley is Executive Director of A Rocha USA, a nonprofit conservation organization mobilizing Christians to steward the Earth. For more information, please see www.arocha-usa.org.