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The gas stove prophets

The secular left keeps seeking the fulfillment of religious impulses with unsatisfying substitutes


The gas stove prophets
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A few days ago, I got up to grill myself a quesadilla in a world where gas stoves were apolitical appliances. When I returned, the political left had declared them a threat to humanity. Richard Trumka Jr. of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission stated that a ban on gas stoves should be on the table because, as New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would quickly inform us, “exposure to NO2 from gas stoves is linked to reduced cognitive performance.”

New York governor Kathy Hochul has already introduced a proposal to ban gas stoves in new homes and commercial construction by 2030. Likewise, many journalists predictably informed us that the real story wasn’t the leftist threat of stove-seizing but the conservative freakout. The science is settled. The decree has gone out. How can anyone even argue with this? Petroleum delenda est.

The hivemind being all the rage these days, it’s not terribly surprising to watch the left unite against gas stoves in less time than it takes to fry an empanada. What is somewhat unnerving, however, is the tone of the debate. As National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke noted, “this is one of the creepiest parts of modern progressivism. AOC had never tweeted about stoves before yesterday, but, when she did for the first time, her tone was one of weary condescension toward the bitter-enders whom she’s been trying to inform for years. It’s cultish.”

Cooke is not wrong. The progressive attack against gas stoves certainly exudes a kind of glassy-eyed, monotone aura. Gas stoves are bad. Gas stoves have always been bad. The holy mouth of Science has declared it. Haven’t you heard the gospel of induction stoves? Why are you questioning the ageless wisdom we all just started speaking five seconds ago? 

Once again, the secular left demonstrates its habit of seeking the fulfillment of religious impulses with unsatisfying substitutes. Leftists are hungering for a prophet to speak eternal truths but have categorically ruled out the prophets who wrote the words of Holy Scripture.

All that remains for the left is the vacuous prophecy of the echo chamber.

Moses taught them the universal truth that all human life was valuable because man was made in the image of God. Leftism has rejected this prophetic word with its devotion to abortion and the belief that only a wanted child is an imago dei child. King David taught them the joy of belonging to the Creator who has “fearfully and wonderfully made” them. By embracing transgenderism, the left has robbed its adherents of finding comfort in belonging to a God of order and love and burdened them with using their sin-tainted hearts and minds to become lords of their own identity and creators of their own peace. Jesus taught the eternal wisdom that man becomes righteous through His atoning blood. Leftism has rejected this sweet comfort for a religion of perpetual confession that offers no absolution. This religion treats forgiveness as a zero-sum game where you lose righteousness by showing mercy to those in need.

What prophetic word remains, then, when you’ve cast aside the words of our Lord, His forerunners, and His apostles? Who can you turn to to find meaning and purpose? Not the eternal declarations of natural law, which the left has deemed equally guilty of transgressing the new sexual orthodoxy. Not the ponderings of mankind’s great poets, whose overwhelming whiteness and maleness have disqualified them from serious contemplation. No, all that remains for the left is the vacuous prophecy of the echo chamber, the prophecy that one must immediately embrace and sing with the progressive choir for the mob to declare one righteous.

Last week, the divinely spoken prophecy was about gas stoves. But virtually anything can be mad-libbed into the progressive prophecy formula at any time. Tomorrow’s prophet-du-jour may be a mid-level FDA employee who asserts that walnuts are racist, and when he does, the faithful will fall in line. Science tells us walnuts are racist. We’ve always known walnuts are racist. Why are you so obsessed with walnuts anyway? Don’t you know that almonds are a better source of Vitamin E? The next day’s sage may be a CDC intern who tweets that air fryers cause bacterial infections, and within three hours, the reliable disciples will publish pieces castigating the right for its French Fry Diphtheria Denialism.

So it goes when man rejects Christ but can’t escape his hunger for an eternal, unchanging word of truth. Those who seek this truth in petty nanny-state agitation will never find it. But they will find it if they look to the One they cast aside. May the instant enemies of gas stoves do so soon—first and foremost for the benefit of their souls, but also for the benefit of those who want to stop fighting about increasingly foolish things. If you can really prove that gas stoves are dangerous, then prove it. Meanwhile, don’t interrupt the rest of us as we are making our omelet.

Hans Fiene

Hans Fiene is the pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Crestwood, Mo., and the creator of Lutheran Satire, a multimedia project intended to teach the Christian faith through humor. He is also a frequent contributor to The Federalist. A graduate of Indiana University and Concordia Theological Seminary, Hans and his wife Katie have four sons.

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