“Instead of listening to people, the president is standing with a bunch of left-fringe extremists and anarchists,” Boehner told reporters Wednesday. Boehner’s comments really chapped my grits. I oppose the XL pipeline on religious and environmental grounds.
I really took exception to being called an “anarchist.” I am not proposing the overthrow of government or anything like that. I am simply saying that we do not have hegemony over God’s creation. I also know that, if we mine and use up all the fossil fuel still unmined, we will self-destruct. The environment cannot handle all the carbon dioxide that will be produced by such wanton and reckless choices.
But, my anam caras came to the rescue. We are celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Thomas Merton. I reread his introduction to The Wisdom of the Desert and there it was:
The flight of these men to the desert was neither purely negative nor purely individualistic. They were not rebels against society. True, they were in a certain sense “anarchists,” and it will do no harm to think of them in that light. They were men who did not believe in letting themselves be passively guided and ruled by a decadent state, and who believed that there was a way of getting along without slavish dependence on accepted, conventional values. (Merton, Thomas (1970-01-17). The Wisdom of the Desert (New Directions) (pp. 4-5). New Directions. Kindle Edition.)
If refusing to support an effort to build a pipeline for low grade crude across the country and important aquifers is anarchy, then count me in. I am an anarchist. I refused to stand by and remain speechless while greedy multinationals mine our future right out from under us. The greedy bastards will be long gone when their progeny is choking for breath in a carbon dioxide saturated atmosphere.
I am in good company. St. Francis would be an anarchist. His namesake and my second anam cara, Pope Francis, is an anarchist because he has implored us to care for creation. Responding to a question from Gerry O’Connell of America Magazine during a press conference on his flight to Manila, the Pope said:
Thank you Gerry! The first question: you have used a word that frees me, the precision “mostly.” I don’t know if all, but “mostly,” for the greater part, it is man who gives a slap to nature continually, and we have to some degree become the owners of nature, of sister earth, of mother earth. I recall, and you have heard, what an old peasant once told me: God always forgives, we men forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives. If you give her a slap, she will give you one. I believe that we have exploited nature too much, deforestation, for example. I recall Aparecida, at that time I did not understand well this problem and when I heard the Brazilian bishops speak of the deforestation of the Amazonia, I ended up understanding well. Amazonia are the lungs of the world. Then five years ago, together with a commission for human rights, I made an appeal to the Supreme Court of Argentina to stop, at least temporarily, a terrible deforestation in a zone of Argentina, Tartagal, north of Salta. That’s one thing. Then there is the monoculture in agriculture. The peasants know that if you made a cultivation of corn three years in a row then you have to stop and do another (kind of) cultivation for one or two years to nitrogenize ( I don’t know the word exactly, ‘nitrogenizar’ we say in Spanish) the land so that it grows. Among us (in Argentina) there is cultivation of soya, and they make soya until the land is exhausted. Not all do this, it’s an example, and there are many more. (http://americamagazine.org/content/dispatches/full-text-english-popes-press-conference-flight-colombo-manila)
The Pope added that he believes that humans have gone too far in their exploitation of the environment. The Pope will be completing his encyclical on the care for creation in March.
Mr. Boehner has invited an anarchist to address a joint session of Congress. Congress had better buckle their seat belts because Francis will pull no punches on the environment or any other issue. He lives and preaches the Gospel. How is the tanned, red-eyed Speaker of the House going to react when Francis makes his speech?