Religion & Liberty Online

Environmentalists endorse ‘public suicide’ alongside deadly economic policies

On April 10 at The Stream, I note how an environmental extremist group mocked Lent and considered hosting a public suicide unless the world agrees to net-zero carbon emissions by 2025. Extinction Rebellion’s disregard for human life and its desire to decimate economic activity grow out of the same philosophy.

Extinction Rebellion, or “XR” as it calls itself, declared a “fossil fuel fast” on Ash Wednesday. That came as part of a push to repair its damaged reputation after an altercation with British workers miffed that XR protests kept them from getting to work. Its leaders felt that desperate times called for desperate measures. I write:

Official notes from a meeting of the Extinction Rebellion’s “Action Strategy Exploration Group” tell the tale. Leaders called on XR members to embrace “extreme sacrifice.” Their proposals include sponsoring an official “hunger strike to the death” and having “one person [commit] suicide” in public. The undated document specifically mentioned the London Stock Exchange. However, the group’s mock Lenten tweet announced a “main action” would take place at Parliament Square.

What better way to end a mockery of Lent? Killing someone created in God’s image on Good Friday. Follow a fake fast with a sacrilegious self-sacrifice.

The group ties this anti-human activism intimately to commerce, trade, and exchange.

Alongside advocating that members commit the ultimate sin, XR leaders mulled over a plan to “stop supply chains” of “food [and] water,” another plan to shut down the nation’s roadways, a “hostile takeover of media,” and acts of “industrial sabotage.” The global coronavirus pandemic largely accomplished these goals.

Its leaders view everything, including the outbreak of COVID-19, in terms of how it promotes their statist agenda. As David Rose writes at The Spectator:

But there is a bright side, [Extinction Rebellion spokesman Rupert Read] insists, because the virus will also test the ‘vulnerable, just-in-time systems’ of trade. This, in turn, ‘might set off cascading breakdown effects, given how interconnected we have allowed our global system to become, how fragile and un-resilient many of our systems are, and how close to the edge some of them are already. Corona might lead indirectly to partial or complete collapses, especially in more vulnerable countries.’

The complete collapse of the economy in “vulnerable countries” is a positive side effect in Read’s eyes.

Extinction Rebellion understands what too many do not: Economic vitality and human life are deeply interwoven. One facilitates the other. Discarding the economic activity that allows human flourishing costs lives as surely as the occasional fanatic’s suicide.

Extinction Rebellion is merely more outspoken in its rejection of human exceptionalism and its insistence that there is no sacrifice too great for its members to make. As I write at The Stream:

These cases illustrate how socialism replaces religion with its all-consuming political ideology. But there is a major distinction between the two. True religion reveals that Jesus Christ suffered death “upon the Cross for our redemption” and “made there (by his one oblation of Himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world.”

Read the full article at The Stream.

(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.)

Rev. Ben Johnson

Rev. Ben Johnson (@therightswriter) is an Eastern Orthodox priest and served as Executive Editor of the Acton Institute (2016-2021), editing Religion & Liberty, the Powerblog, and its transatlantic website. He has extensively researched the Alt-Right. Previously, he worked for LifeSiteNews and, where he wrote three books including Party of Defeat (with David Horowitz, 2008). His work has appeared at, National Review, The American Spectator, The Guardian, Daily Caller, National Catholic Register, Spectator USA, FEE Online, RealClear Policy, The Blaze, The Stream, American Greatness, Aleteia, Providence Magazine, Charisma, Jewish World Review, Human Events, Intellectual Takeout,, Issues & Insights, The Conservative,, and The American Orthodox Institute. His personal websites are and His views are his own.