Climate Change Is A Secular Religion – OpEd


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.

William Donohue

William Donohue is the current president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the United States, and has held that position since 1993.

2 thoughts on “Climate Change Is A Secular Religion – OpEd

  • March 24, 2023 at 5:30 pm

    This could not be more wrong. I’m a Christian who cares deeply about climate change and what it will do to our earth. I don’t give one hoot about power or control- you think that’s what’s driving activists? That’s insane. I just want to preserve our planet and not face repercussions from greenhouse gases. I volunteer in climate change activism and have never met someone who is doing it just because they need something to believe in. I would love to stop doing this work but with people like Mr. Donohue around, it’s tough. It definitely does bring more purpose into your life- I mean you’re trying to make the world a better place, so I see nothing wrong with that, but people get involved because they are scared for the planet’s future and their own family’s future. I’m sure you can find a few wacky liberals to complain about but the vast majority of us are seriously worried and the fact that you can’t see that means you aren’t having enough conversations with people who think differently than you. I worry for my nieces and nephews and how they will have to deal with more droughts, heat waves, severe hurricanes, coastal erosion and flooding, pest migration, crop failures, heavy rainstorms, etc. Not to mention solving climate change will make our air and water quality better. Mr. Donohue should learn about island nations like Kiribati, whose people are already being affected by climate change, with land going underwater and their fresh water supply is drying up and being contaminated with ocean water. They are making plans to move. Their culture and livelihood will be gone in the not too distant future thanks to climate change caused by wealthy, greedy nations like ours. I hope the US will open their doors to them. If they’d even want to move here, knowing how responsible we are.

  • March 24, 2023 at 6:19 pm

    Also, the survey appears to have a flaw in that it didn’t ask what their political leanings were. How do we know that the participants weren’t mostly Republicans/conservatives? Then the results are not surprising and just match up with political party. Plus Rasmussen is known to lean right, it only surveyed 950 people, and the results do not align with other surveys that are done about climate change.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *