by Peter MacLachlan, Hamilton, Montana
We have seen increasingly over the past few decades, a wide-spread outcry against the connection between church and state. As stated in the First Amendment, ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ the last part being at the heart of the debate. The meaning of the First Amendment has been endlessly discussed and it’s not my intention to discuss it further – only to add a wrinkle.
I’m not sure if we have a standard in place for the definition of religion, stating what qualifies it. But we have seen, over the past several years, a body of thought, ideas and data (some would include principles) of a belief system that might qualify as religion – that has been, in the past few months dramatically displayed not only on this opinion page, but in the state legislature as well.
If the bill HJ-10, put forward in the latest session of the legislature, authored by Rep. Doug Coffin (HD-93 Missoula) had become law, it would have resolved:
- that anthropogenic or human-made climate change is scientifically valid and represents scientific fact;
- understands that anthropogenic climate change, manifesting as major changes in weather patterns in North America, including Montana, has the potential to cause major socioeconomic and demographic dislocations in Montana that can be construed as an ecological threat;
- compels state government and its affiliated agencies, with due consideration of Montana’s economic heritage and preservation of employment traditions, to employ, invent, and apply new technologies commensurate with the conservation of resources in a manner that mitigates and adapts to climate change to the best of our ability; and
- suggests that educators include anthropogenic climate change science in their science education curricula. (the above conditions 1-4 were taken directly from the bill )
The following was taken from the rebuttal of HJ-10 by Dr. Edwin X Berry, climate scientist: