Since the release of Al Gore’s masterful An Inconvenient Truth – a whirlwind of propaganda that would make the Nazis proud – climate change has slowly gone from a discussion to a religion. Its adherents are unwilling to consider, even for a moment, that there may be room for disagreement on the science. They’ve heard all they care to hear. After all, it just so happens that the very things we’re supposed to do to avoid a warming planet match up exactly with Marxist thought on capitalism and wealth. Funny how that happens…

But if Al Gore makes for a crappy religious leader, environmentalist monks have a new icon to look upon. It’s none other than Pope Francis, who penned an encyclical this week that condemns the Western world for destroying the planet. It may not be any more scientifically accurate than Gore’s documentary, but it has the weight of the Catholic church behind it. For liberals who really need no excuses to throttle 21st century industry, it is like a vision from God. Finally, their faux-religion has the authority of actual religion!

Our planet, writes the Pope, “now cries out because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.”

Uh huh. Tell us another one, Francis.

In his encyclical, the pope warns us that we must turn off our air conditioners, move away from fossil fuels, and embrace the holy solution of solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. Only then can we start cleaning up the mess we’ve made of God’s creation.

Anyone who has paid any attention to the climate change movement, of course, has heard all of this before. We’re all doomed. The seas are going to overflow our shores, turning our cities into outdoor aquariums by the middle of the century. The polar bears will die off. The earth will quake and the skies will shake. Hold on to your hats, because it’s gonna be a rough ride.

Just because the pope says it doesn’t make it any more true. And to turn our backs on the fossil fuels that gave rise to industry, global transportation, and technology would be utterly foolish. Living in the comforts of the United States, it’s easy to forget how far we’ve come in such a short time. We have dramatically improved the quality of human life over the last two hundred years, and much of that is down to oil and coal. By eschewing this miraculous energy source for unproven alternatives, we are inviting disaster.

Oh, but don’t say that too loudly. After all, church is in session.