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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dumb Question

I'm sure you've heard the following quotation, or something similar: "The only dumb question is the one that isn't asked."

Not so. There's proof over at US Catholic.

From their "Glad You Asked" department:
Gas-guzzlers aren't generally chic in Catholic circles. These days many of us are wondering whether we can drive one with a clear conscience. But is it a sin?
Here's their answer. I'm not going to publish the response, because it's even dumber than the question.

Well, OK, but just a snippet.

The official teachings of the church don't directly address SUVs. Pope Benedict, who has earned the reputation as the "green pope," called ecological devastation a "moral crisis" in his message for the 2010 World Day of Peace, "If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation." But he did not address the driving of gas-guzzlers directly. When the Vatican's newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, published an updated list of seven mortal sins in 2008, "polluting the environment" was included, but not a direct indictment of SUVs.

We have a language of sin that church leadership has not yet officially applied to the environment, let alone SUVs. But while we don't consider SUVs inherently sinful, the church also doesn't condone gas-guzzlers.

Driving an SUV isn't exactly a sin, but it is not a choice that is encouraged because the amount of fuel these vehicles use and the pollution they emit contributes to the exploitation of the global environment.

Driving an SUV can in fact impede our saying "yes" to God and to the gifts of creation because by doing so, when other options are available, we participate in harming of creation through the insatiable collection and burning of fossil fuels.

Frankly, I don't believe the Church cares one way or another what type of vehicle we drive, as long as a) it was acquired it legally; b) we don't use it to harm others, and c) we don't hang a pair of fuzzy dice from the rearview mirror. Beyond that, who cares?

Driving an SUV can impede our "yes" to God??? Due to the "insatiable collection" of fossil fuels? Didn't God put the fossil fuels there in the first place? Maybe leaving the fossil fuels in the ground does more harm than taking them out. There's no way to prove that, of course, but given that so much of the AGW data was faked and fudged, there's no real proof that SUV's are damaging the environment either. Perhaps the writer is unaware of the damage levied on the environment by the production of nickel batteries used in the electric and hybrid vehicles?

I have a suspicion about this answer, too. Given the liberal nature of the US Catholic magazine, I doubt this was the original answer. I bet the final published response was reworked several times. I bet the original went something like this:

"Not only is it a sin, but it's an unforgivable sin. If you own an SUV, get a gun and shoot it RIGHT NOW!!! So what if you have five kids, and it's the only style of vehicle that will allow you to transport all your family at one time? What were you thinking having so many kids in the first place? Just how selfish are you??

"Your only hope now is to become a vegan, get reusable grocery bags, buy CFL bulbs, completely alter your lifestyle into one of total discomfort and inconvenience, and replace your roof shingles with solar panels. That's what a good, conscientious, spiritual Catholic would do. You really will feel better as a result, and then, and only then, you might make God happy.

"Pope Benedict - some call him the "green pope" - said in his 2010 Day for World Peace address that if you love creation, you will stop buying gas. But more importantly, Al Gore said that we will destroy the planet if we keep driving gas-guzzlers. To me, that's an even more compelling statement. And Al has an Oscar AND a Nobel Peace Prize.

"So yes - driving an SUV is a sin. So is having a big family.

p.s. Using condoms is good for the environment too. Just sayin'"

A dumb question rarely deserves a dumb answer. But a dumb answer always deserves to be ridiculed.