Headline: It’s a Sin to Fly, Says Church
Actually, "It’s a Sin to Fly, Screams Headline" would be more appropriate. Here’s what the Church (or rather, the Bishop of London) actually says:
“Making selfish choices such as flying on holiday or buying a large car are a symptom of sin. Sin is not just a restricted list of moral mistakes. It is living a life turned in on itself where people ignore the consequences of their actions.”
I think there’s merit to this. How far removed really from "loving thy neighbor" is making the decision to walk or bike to the corner store instead of jumping into your car? From an energy and pollution standpoint, perhaps not too far. As Archbishop Williams puts it in the article, we "make moral choices" on all sorts of things (money, sex, time) all the time.
He’s not saying don’t fly. He’s admonishing folks to consider the impacts and act accordingly. An admonishment easily taken out of context.
Dr Chartres’ comments seem to have elicited confusion and outrage in some sections of the media and in parts of the transport industry. This morning the Daily Mail newspaper accused the Church of England of turning the Gospel into “a party political broadcast for the Greens” and said that it should focus instead on its shrinking pews – adding that these would not be filled by reminding people of environmental concerns.
Based on the success other pastors are having, I think they’re dead wrong on that last point. Anyway, I think the liberal/secular media folks are fundamentally upset about one thing:
And those in liberal and secular circles don’t like it one bit, despite this being something Greens have been preaching in the media for decades. They hate polluters! But they hate being coopted even more. Or even worse, having any behavior described as (gasp!) SINFUL.
‘Hey, pal – don’t push your religion on me!’ he said as he tossed his aluminum can into the recycling bin…
Shrug, says me. It’s fair to say that the organized church has suffered chronically from legalism, and folks have to right to be wary of that. But watching the Greens wriggle around on this one is so entertaining, it’s almost sinful. [Hat tip]