Top Biblical Verses That Illustrate Why Rick Santorum Is Out of Step with Christianity on Environmental Issues

Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum doesn’t hide his deep disdain for environmental protection.

As Santorum gains media traction after three unofficial primary wins, the outspoken Catholic has been increasingly vocal about his strong dislike of environmentalists. Speaking at a rally this past weekend, Santorum called Obama’s environmental policies a “phony theology” designed to “give more power to the government.”

“When you have a worldview that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can’t take those resources because we’re going to harm the Earth; by things that frankly are just not scientifically proven, for example, the politicization of the whole global warming debate — this is all an attempt to, you know, to centralize power and to give more power to the government.”

Santorum often expresses his strong dislike for environmental protection within a religious context, saying that humans were “put on this earth … for our benefit, not for the earth’s benefit.”However, this belief is completely out of step with mainstream religious leaders — including the Pope — who have called on world leaders to address climate change and other pressing environmental issues in order “protect all creation.”

Santorum’s stance on environmental issues stems from a passage in Genesis 1:28, which reads: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Expressing his interpretation of this passage at a campaign rally recently, Santorum explained that “we were put on this Earth as creatures of God to have dominion over the Earth…. We should not let the vagaries of nature destroy what we have helped create.” He also said that environmentalism is “a worldview that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can’t take those resources because we’re going to harm the Earth.”

However, Santorum confuses this Genesis passage as a command for exploitation, extraction and waste — when in fact the Bible clearly explains that the earth is a gift to be taken care of, not fouled.

Stewardship of the earth is not just a strong theme in Genesis. It’s a very strong theme throughout the entire Old Testament. So what other messages does the Bible deliver on the importance of environmental protection? Here are some of the best:


“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15)

“Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?” (Ezekiel 34:17-18)

“The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; with me you are but aliens and tenants. Throughout the land that you hold, you shall provide for the redemption of the land.” (Leviticus 25:23-24)

“You must keep my decrees and my laws…. And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.” (Leviticus 18:26, 28)

“You shall not pollute the land in which you live…. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in which I also dwell; for I the LORD dwell among the Israelites.” (Numbers 35:33-34)

“If you besiege a town for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you must not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against them. Although you may take food from them, you must not cut them down. Are trees in the field human beings that they should come under siege from you?” (Deuteronomy 20:19)

“I brought you into a plentiful land to eat its fruits and its good things. But when you entered you defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination.” (Jeremiah 2:7)

Each of these messages run completely counter to Santorum’s hostile views on environmentalism, and taken as a whole undermine his belief that environmentalism is at odds with the Bible.

Based on his political stance, Santorum’s belief that humans have “dominion over the earth” is less about protecting it for future generations, and more about opening up it up for more drilling, mining and exploitation — all of which are contributing to a “perfect storm of social and ecological problems” for the planet.

Catherine Woodiwiss of the Faith and Progressive Policy team at the Center for American Progress contributed to this story. 

Climate Progress / By Stephen Lacey | Sourced from

Posted at February 23, 2012, 2:12pm