Faith Leader Statements on Climate Change

A little reminder before world-wide climate strike on Friday: The leaders of most religious organizations understand the looming peril and don’t hide in denial’s illusions. Witness their statements and policies.

The National Religious Coalition on Creation Care, for example, has released repeated warnings. It recently did it again. A key phrase: “As people of faith, we believe that our planet – which nurtures and sustains life – is a gift, and that we have a responsibility to cultivate a world in which all beings can thrive, physically and spiritually. We are committed to safeguarding the Earth entrusted to our care. Protecting God’s Creation is a spiritual and moral imperative, not an ideological or narrow partisan issue. We recognize that the National Council of Churches, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, National Association of Evangelicals, and the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops have all called on policymakers and elected officials to take strong action to address global climate change.”

Find the entire statement here.

The United Church of Christ has been one of the most environmentally activist Christian denominations, and its Southern New England office isn’t shrinking. On Friday, “all three United Church of Christ Conference offices in Southern New England will be closed for business so staffers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island can support the Global Climate Strike. The Conferences, becoming one entity in January with the blessing of General Synod, are among several UCC churches and affiliates following this emergency call to action … We are closing the Conference offices to allow our staff to become allies in this youth-led climate strike,” said the Rev. Kent Siladi, Connecticut Conference Minister. “We believe our participation in this action is one way to demonstrate our commitment to environmental justice and to align with the millions of youth across the globe who are leading us into action and advocacy. We hope that churches will also encourage their staff and congregations to participate and join us in this witness.”

I feel compelled to repeat yesterday’s caution: All this youth emphasis may backfire. Vesting our hopes in “the kids” conveys that climate care is only for teens and twenty-somethings — and it fails to honor veteran advocates with wrinkles. Perhaps most important, it draws artificial boundaries and alienates one generation from another. Remember the ’60’s and the youth culture, which threw all anti-war movement’s hopes into the laps of shrill, inexperienced students. Besides, we cut ourselves off from strike experts: Union leaders.

But that’s a debate for future strategists. Here, we’re reminding all that some of the faithful have been at this for awhile.

Think of those long-standing statements have come from the Vatican — in 2011 (not to mention Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical) :

“We call on all people and nations to recognize the serious and potentially reversible impacts of global warming caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants,” says the report. “If we want justice and peace, we must protect the habitat that sustains us.”

And the United Methodists:

“As a matter of stewardship and justice, Christians must take action now to reduce global warming pollution and stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world whose land, livelihood and lives are threatened by the global climate crisis.”

And Eastern Orthodoxy’s Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: 

“For our Orthodox Church, the protection of the environment as God’s creation is the supreme responsibility of human beings, quite apart from any material or other financial benefits that it may bring. The almighty God bequeathed this “very beautiful” world (Gen. 1.26) to humanity together with the commandment to “serve and preserve” it. Yet, the direct correlation of this divine mandate for the protection of creation to every aspect of contemporary economic and social life, ultimately enhances the global effort to control the problem of climate change by effectively introducing the ecological dimension into every aspect of life.”

And remember the 2006 Evangelical Statement On Climate Change:

“The basic task for all of the world’s inhabitants is to find ways now to begin to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels that are the primary cause of human-induced climate change.”

Find a slew of other statements here. To the marchers and protesters: We’re behind you.




About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is a writer, activist, and clergyman living in Connecticut with his wife and family. He's currently writing two books, with more in his head.

View all posts by Charles Redfern


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