Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on why climate change is a religion for some people:
Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy recently said that climate change has become a religion because it “actually has nothing to do with the climate,” and is instead all about power and control. To test if the public agrees with this assessment, a Rasmussen Reports survey found that 60 percent of likely voters agreed with him; 35 percent disagreed.
The poll did not reveal who the minority is, but we know from other surveys who they are.
The Pew Research Center found in 2021 that those who express the most concern about climate change are young people and those on the left. Younger adults, for obvious reasons, tend to be more concerned than older Americans about the dangers of climate change. Ideologically, those on the left are considerably more concerned about this issue than those on the right. This pattern is generally true in other developed countries as well.
Those who say they are the most concerned about climate change would argue that it is their genuine concern for the environment that makes them more sensitive to this issue; conservatives, they would maintain, just don’t care that much about it. But most Americans aren’t buying it. They say it’s because the “pro-environmentalists” are motivated more by power than purity, and that they have made a religion out of it.
There is no doubting that power is the signature of the left. From the time of the French Revolution to the latest antics of Antifa, the desire to control the words and deeds of the masses has been their overriding goal. So when surveys show that most Americans believe that those who are the most concerned about climate control are really obsessed by power and control, they are referring to those on the left. Conservatives favor small government, not large government.
There are good grounds to conclude that the left has made climate control a religion. For example, a Gallup poll released last year found that young people, liberals and Democrats are the most secular of any demographic group in the nation: they are the most likely to say they are religiously unaffiliated, agnostic or atheist.
It does not follow that those who have no conventional religious beliefs are without an ersatz religion, or something which functions as a religion for them. In the case of young people and those on the Left, their devotion to climate control acts as a ready substitute.
So yes, there are good reasons why the public agrees with Ramaswamy. Climate control occupies such a central place in the lives of young people and those on the left precisely because it gives them something to believe in, bringing purpose to their lives. That’s a good thing.
But it makes no sense to put these people on a moral mantle—not when what is really driving them is their quest for power.