A private school principal has been criticised for branding climate activist Greta Thunberg “a little girl with … mental problems” in a newsletter.
- Principal Rodney Lynn’s views have been condemned as “toxic religion”
- The Dean of Grafton Cathedral described them as a “horrible expression of Christianity”
- Ms Thunburg, 16, has become a lightning rod for climate change criticism
In his last update before the holidays, the principal of Coffs Harbour Christian Community School Rodney Lynn told students and parents “your world’s future is in the hands of God, not in the predictions of a little girl”.
Although he did not name Ms Thunberg, 16, he made reference to “a little girl from Scandinavia” who was promoting “doomsday waffle talk”.
“No one knows when the final wind up of the world will be,” he wrote.
“Jesus said no one, only the Father God, knows about that day or hour.”
Ms Thunberg’s climate activism started as a one-person school strike, and has since swelled into a global movement of millions.
She addressed the United Nations last week, accusing politicians of failing her generation.
But Mr Lynn urged people not to listen to her, saying she was a “little girl with self declared various emotional and mental problems that she thinks give her a special insight into a pending doom”.
“My life experience has taught me that the doomsday predictors are just attention getters,” he said in his September 26 newsletter.
“Do not be afraid. Your world’s future is in the hands of God, not in the predictions of a little girl and false prophets.” Follow this story to get email or text alerts from ABC Australia when there is a future article following this storyline.
‘A very naive approach’
Mr Lynn’s views have been condemned by religious leaders in the area, and some parents.
The Dean of Grafton Cathedral, Dr Greg Jenks, said Mr Lynn’s views were a “horrible expression of Christianity”.
“I guess the newsletter is primarily aimed at parents rather than children, but it’s a view that encourages people to not to take any responsibility for looking after the planet,” he said.
“It’s a complete misuse of scripture, it’s a very naive approach.
“It of course expresses the idea that somehow or rather what we find in scripture trumps what we known from our own observation and our scientific research.”
Trevor Crawford has two children at the school and said he was “absolutely disgusted” when he read the column in the school newsletter.
He said the column was “over the top”, especially Mr Lynn’s indirect comments about Ms Thunberg.
“To turn around and use her condition of Asperger’s as a mental problem and that must be a reason why she shouldn’t be believed, it’s wrong,” he said.
An estimated 6 million marchers participated in the global climate strikes, led by Ms Thunberg, on September 20 and 27 this year.
Liisa Rusanen from the Coffs Coast Climate Action Group also criticised Mr Lynn, saying “everything Greta Thunberg says is thoroughly backed by science”.
“I’m surprised that a school principal doesn’t recognise that.”
Mr Lynn’s position is also at odds with some other religious leaders.
Earlier this year, Pope Francis declared a “climate emergency” and said “our children and grandchildren should not have to pay the cost of our generation’s irresponsibility”.
The newsletter was published a day after Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned against causing children “needless anxiety” about climate change.
In 2004, Mr Lynn apologised after distributing leaflets describing state schools as “seed plots of future immorality, infidelity and lawlessness”.
The school’s chairman declined to comment, and Mr Lynn has been contacted for comment.
Meanwhile overnight the Actor, Jason Momoa, delivered this speech to the UN about climate change; https://twitter.com/SBSNews/status/1178495862126694400
First published at The ABC – Tuesday 1 October 2019. See: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-01/greta-thunberg-attacked-in-coffs-harbour-school-newsletter/11562726