Among the immediate causes of the sixteenth-century split in Western Christianity was the sale of indulgences. The theological crudity of this abuse was encapsulated in the venality of Dominican friar Johannes Tetzel, whose activities in Wittenberg riled Martin Luther. Tetzel allegedly preached “Sobald das Geld in Kasten klingt, die Seele aus dem Fegefeuer springt.” (“As soon as the coin in the box clinks, the soul out of purgatory springs.”)
That slogan came to mind as I was reading Jay Nordlinger’s account of the most recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Nordlinger quotes an e-mail notice circulated to all attendees:
Climate Change is at the centre of our discussions, and you can act now. Please consider compensating your greenhouse gas emissions related to participating in the Annual Meeting in Davos.
This is possible with 1 click at any kiosk or at the Davos Climate Alliance desk.
That is to say, for the sin of contributing to climate change by jetting to Davos, one can atone by contributing to the Davos Climate Alliance—”an initiative of the World Economic Forum to promote sound measures and best practice aimed at mitigating carbon related risks.”
Lest anyone doubted that environmentalism is, for some, a religion (of a pre-Reformation variety, no less).
[Ed. Note: See also “Guilt Free Ecology.”]