For years, libertarians and conservatives have charged that much of what passes for environmentalism in the West is little more than faith-based religion. Paul Greenberg and Carl Safina, both environmentalists and university professors, want to make it official. In their Time magazine article, The Case for Making Earth Day a Religious Holiday, they take full ownership of the charge:

For the two of us environmentalists—one of us nominally Jewish, the other a recovering Catholic—we find the ill-defined nature of the only day honoring the place that makes life itself possible more than a little sacrilegious. So, on this 53rd Earth Day we thought it useful to pose what a real Earth Day should represent and how it could form a central time for a new approach to worship.

But their ambitions stretch far beyond a single day. Greenberg and Safina also modestly suggest that we “reframe” the Christian holy days of Christmas and Easter; the Jewish holy days of Hanukkah, Passover, and Sukkot; the Indian holy day of Diwali; and the Muslim holy days of Eid “as days of thanks for what the natural world gives and reminders that our responsibility for what remains is an ongoing covenant.”

Marriage “might be an opportunity to remind young couples to consider the burden children place upon the planet and to make vows of sustainable patterns of behavior going forward.”

Finally, they argue that for environmentalism to become a full-fledged religion, a “Bible of the Natural World” is needed, “replete with hymns to this world of the living,” and containing “the stories of the prophets of natural earth knowledge—Darwin and Carson, Galileo and Humboldt.”

“In short,” the authors contend, “We must make nature central to our belief system with Earth Day or any number of earth-focused ceremonial days serving as regular reminders of what we owe our home planet.”

What to make of this declaration of faith that each new child is a “burden” to the earth—another mouth to feed rather than a new mind and a new pair of hands? What to make of this call for a return to paganism? This modest suggestion that the world’s major religions be remade in radical environmentalism’s image? This rejection of science in the name of science?

I for one welcome it as a forthright admission that they wish to replace discussion, reason, and scientific inquiry with religious dogma. Better a visible adversary than one shrouded behind words and phrases meant to conceal and deflect rather than to enlighten.

Richard Fulmer worked as a mechanical engineer and a systems analyst in industry. He is now retired and does free-lance writing. He has published some fifty articles and book reviews in free market magazines and blogs. With Robert L. Bradley Jr., Richard wrote the book, Energy: The Master Resource