John Hagee is getting on in years. But what faint hope there was for a change in direction once the San Antonio Ayatollah leaves the scene may have been snuffed out earlier this week, when his youngest son and (from the looks of it) heir apparent, Matthew, declared that Christians shouldn't believe in climate change.
Matthew serves as executive pastor of his dad's Cornerstone Church, and has recently taken over delivering the weekly "Hagee Hotline"--an online commentary on recent events from a "Scriptural perspective." In this week's edition, Matthew claimed that climate change is bogus because the Bible says we'll see strange weather patterns prior to the Second Coming. No, this isn't snark--People for the American Way got a clip.
Matthew said that all of the reports about global warming are "incorrect" because they don't align with the Bible. "When men are saying things that contradict God's word, God's word is accurate and men are wrong," Matthew said, "in spite of their education, in spite of their expertise ... whomever and whatever contradicts God's word is not correct." In the face of these reports, he said, we have a choice--do we believe environmentalists or the Bible? In Matthew's view, the proper Christian response isn't to try to make everything as clean as possible, but to use this as a chance to tell people about Jesus.
This is way, way off on several counts. In the first place, one would think that if we as humans have dominion over the earth, we have a responsibility to take care of it. Moreover, anyone who says the Bible is a science book actually ignores the Bible itself. The verse that most fundies use to say that the Bible is 100 percent true in all that it teaches is 2 Timothy 3:16-17. It says that Scripture is useful for "teaching, rebuking and training in righteousness." Where's science in this? How about history? Nowhere! Additionally, this kind of simplistic thinking is part of the reason that we haven't done more to fight climate change in the face of overwhelming evidence that it is happening.
The Hagees' thinking is not just out of step with the rest of the world, it's out of step with a significant sector of born-agains as well. A recent study by the Brookings Institution found that most younger believers tend to be more progressive in their thinking. Simplistic talk like what Matthew Hagee is spewing isn't going to do anything to sway them.