The Sunday School class at my church is going through the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church. Last week, we discussed the section on “The Natural World.” Here are three items:
1. One issue that we talked about was climate change. I cannot say that I was particularly optimistic after that discussion. I wondered if we are doing enough to combat or reverse climate change. We are still a fossil-fuel based economy, and renewable energy is on the margins in the United States.
2. There is a libertarian in the group, and he has attended Sunday School at this church for years. He was saying that the government should get out of agriculture and let the free market handle it. I was wondering what that would look like. Farm subsidies are necessary to help farmers (or at least big farmers) produce more crops; without them, I have heard, the price of food would skyrocket. Was the libertarian envisioning keeping things small and local: farmers would produce crops but would sell them to local people?
3. Our pastor is politically liberal. But she was telling us that people may have different perspectives on the Social Principles, based on their context. The Social Principles are opposed to nuclear power, for instance. United Methodists in France may disagree with the Social Principles on this because their country is powered by this source of energy. And United Methodists in Third World countries that are offered cheap nuclear power may also be hesitant to embrace what the Social Principles say about it.