These days, many who are secular and/or on the center-left just don’t get why so many on the evangelical Right seem so darn dead-set on denying the threat of global climate change, to the point that they thrill in chanting “Drill, baby, drill!” Many may imagine that if duly educated about the science of CO2-driven atmospheric warming, a fair number of so-called “theocons” will come around to agreeing on prudent steps to cut down on mass-transferring fossil carbon from under the ground into the sky and sea.
Don’t hold your breath on that.
To understand why oil in particular has a special place on the hearts of theocons, we go back to 1800s America, when Puritanical Calvinism was still dominant. The Bible is, as usual, contradictory when it comes to wealth, but with the United States being the land of opportunity and all, the great Protestant majority was fine with people being rich. Still, the old-time religion was rather dour, and as America moved into the Gilded Age and the early 1900s, many Christians adopted the cheerful thesis that America is obviously the most God-blessed land. And since America is above all else about getting more money and stuff, it follows that God wants Americans to become laden with as many things material (via the miracle of capitalism) as they can get. Thus was born the prosperity Christianity promoted by the likes of Aimee Semple McPherson, E. W. Keen, Oral Roberts, Joel Osteen, and the earlier Norman Vincent Peale, of whom Trump is such a big fan.