Jerry Brown – Fear of the Lord or the Here and Now?

On Sunday, 10 December, 2017, CBS News 60 Minutes interviewed California governor Jerry Brown.  This interview, while dealing with multiple subjects, led off with Brown’s strong disagreement with President Trump regarding climate change.  Brown’s attitude, considering the current spate of wildfires ravaging his state, and the correlation to causes associated with climate change, is fully understandable.  “Nature is not a political game,” the governor correctly asserts early on, but then he followed with this statement:

I don’t think President Trump has a fear of the Lord, the fear of the wrath of God, which leads one to more humility…

Later in the report, we learn that Jerry Brown was once a Jesuit seminarian, which is clearly a strong portion of where such a “fear of god” might originate.  The problem is that:

  1. Expecting Donald Trump to have a fear of much of anything, let along some form of supreme being is likely overreaching, and
  2. It doesn’t take a fear of god to have a proper apprehension for the current environmental state of our planet.

 That said, the following was just submitted to CBS News’ feedback site:

While I appreciate your 60 Minutes interview with Jerry Brown, his candor and passion for his state and its current plight, his suggestion that President Trump lacks the fear of some supernatural being and that such might put him in better touch with this planet’s current ecological state was problematic and misleading.  As a conscientious citizen, I want to act in a fashion which furthers my own desires, but not at the expense of the planet I reside on.  Further, as a graduate engineer, I recognize that the research is in, and that anthropogenic climate change is a fact, albeit a fact that is contested outside of the scientific community, and usually among those who have short-term financial gains in play.  Finally, as an atheist, I see no god involved but do perceive the actions and consequences humankind has had on our home and the pressing need for correction.

I would suggest to Governor Brown that fear of a deity that repeatedly fails to show itself is less persuasive to those like Trump than the recognition that our planet’s future is in question, that his children and mine will be the inheritors of our action or lack thereof.

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Comment by Loren Miller on December 16, 2017 at 9:35am

I hear you, Michael.  The problem as I see it is that religion is, in the parlance of computer programmers, a no-op, a command which does nothing, other than to use up one execution cycle.  In computing sometimes, especially back in the old days, such no-ops were necessary to facilitate timing or coordination of events, and as such had utility.

In the world of human beings, all the no-op of religion does is WASTE TIME.

Comment by Michael Penn on December 16, 2017 at 9:19am

I cannot see how having a fear of a creator as in "fear of the lord" has anything to do with this. Thoughts of this nature are why we have so many religions in the first place and it falls short every time. It always will. This is like being at a big out door picnic and you claim you do not like green beans. Somebody is always there to say "you have never tried my green beans."

Whether or not Trump believes in a deity has almost nothing to do with his views on environmental issues. One of the big problems of mixing politics and religion is continued insistence that god belief will change your view, or that it should change your view. God belief only makes you profess a certain view and the only direction here is desire for votes.

Perhaps Jerry Brown does not see this. I see it plainly.

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