Climate change, politics, and prayer
A Christian Science perspective: What the golden rule and a spiritual view of government can bring to our atmosphere.
One of the most heated political debates in Washington right now involves spending federal money on research and implementation of climate change regulations. When faced with political gridlock, how do we find a way to move forward together and do what’s best for everyone?
This was a challenge I faced in my work as a policy adviser in the federal legislature. The way I was able to work together with colleagues with different viewpoints on climate change policy was through gaining a deeper understanding of what government really is, what constitutes our climate, and the application of the golden rule.
My colleagues and I were tasked to find a way to write a bill, of which climate change policy was a portion, that would express common ground between two sides of the debate. But with so much unhappiness and hostility present in each party, it seemed hard to know where to begin.
I chose to begin with prayer. It was clear that a group of varying opinions was not going to come up with an effective solution. So I turned to God, the one divine Mind, for answers. A passage in the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament that foretells the coming of the Christ came to my thought: “For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder. These will be his royal titles: ‘Wonderful,’ ‘Counselor,’ ‘The Mighty God,’ ‘The Everlasting Father,’ ‘The Prince of Peace.’ His ever-expanding, peaceful government will never end” (The Living Bible, Isaiah 9:6, 7). It shows that God governs through His Christ, the spiritual truth Jesus represented as the Prince of Peace. True government, then, is the expression of one, universal, infinite Truth that includes and governs all of God’s creation.
From this inspired definition of God’s government, I reasoned that since God is Spirit (see John 4:24), His kingdom is spiritual. His perfect, spiritual ideas dwell and express their purpose in perfect harmony. This reminded me of the definition of Kingdom of Heaven in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy: “The reign of harmony in divine Science; the realm of unerring, eternal, and omnipotent Mind; the atmosphere of Spirit, where Soul is supreme” (p. 590).
“The atmosphere of Spirit” seemed to address the entire issue of climate change. Where God reigns harmoniously over His creation, there could never be extremes, imbalance, pollution, contamination, hatred, anger, disagreement, lack of love, or false judgment.
As I continued to pray, I declared that, as God’s children, the kingdom of heaven is within us (see Luke 17:21). This means we express the one Mind, the one Principle governing all creation. Therefore, we could know what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and how to communicate it. I also affirmed that everyone could feel the Christ speaking to them in a way that could be understood and practical. Harmony is the law in the kingdom of heaven – in the “atmosphere of Spirit” – so solutions were attainable, practical, and would bless everyone.
I prayed this way over the next few months as we all worked together to write the bill. The work was harmonious. Every time a challenge arose, we were able to find a gracious way to solve the problem. Then, right before our deadline, my counterparts provided new legislative text that hadn’t been discussed during our work together. This was so unexpected, that it was hard not to feel betrayed. I also felt a tremendous amount of pressure to make the right decision quickly, and I felt pulled between suggestions voiced by colleagues that ranged from retaliation to throwing in the towel and stopping the whole attempt at working on a bipartisan level.
Instead of giving in to these suggestions, I quietly expressed gratitude to God for all the good work that had been accomplished in the interceding months. I reviewed all the spiritual truths I had prayed with, and declared that those were laws of God that could never be overturned. I also refused to take the situation personally and applied the golden rule – instead of responding cynically, I acted kindly. Once I did, the answer presented itself, the deadline was met, and the bill passed with complete bipartisan support.
I am grateful to be learning more each day about the power and effectiveness of God’s government. When faced with news of partisan gridlock, I continue to pray with the spiritual truths Christian Science teaches about God and His love for His creation.