Religion and Envirionmentalism: It's a Matter of Faith

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Jon Reisman
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Religion and Envirionmentalism: It's a Matter of Faith

quote: "It isn't a political stand, it's a religious stand," said the Rev. Sally Bingham, an Episcopal minister at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral.

I think this quote sums up the Environmental Industry's theme quite clearly.

Jon Reisman
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Religion and Envirionmentalism: It's a Matter of Faith

Posted on Mon, Sep. 29, 2003
Religious groups show love by protecting God's creationsBy Randy Myers
CONTRA COSTA TIMESIn a way, God told Father Ray Bucher to install low-flush toilets at the San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville.In a way, Allah encouraged Dr. Hamid Mavani and others to teach schoolchildren why they should treasure the environment at the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California in Oakland.And in a way, the Creator inspired the Rev. Jim Ball to jump in his hybrid car and motor through the South so he could preach a gospel of fuel efficiency.While clearly none of these actions was directly commanded by a Supreme Being, the motivations and messages behind them -- to protect what the Creator has gifted to us -- most certainly are handed down from above.For proof, just thumb through the passages in Genesis or flip through the Quran.What's found in those pages is spurring religious leaders to preach a message to believers that they are the guardians of a weary and well-used planet. To say the movement is political in nature ignores that scripture orders us to do it, some religious leaders say."It isn't a political stand, it's a religious stand," said the Rev. Sally Bingham, an Episcopal minister at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral. "Our responsibility is to live on the land as if we cared about it."Not too surprisingly, when denominations unite the results can be powerful."If the religious leadership makes this a strong moral and theological mandate for the environment they can have a huge impact in terms of mobilizing people at the grass roots as well as globally," said professor Rosemary Ruether of Berkeley's Pacific School of Religion.Although religions such as Judaism took up the cause in the 1970s, the modern movement rounds up nearly all faiths, she said. Critics do exist in the form of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell who say some are taking this green stuff too far.California and Massachusetts have served as the catalyst for the national drive to curb global warming. Bingham formed Episcopal Power and Light in the late '90s with offices in the Bay Area and Massachusetts. Recognizing that all denominations needed to become involved, the group evolved into California Interfaith Power and Light in 2001.The Oakland-based organization provides resources and information to make congregations more energy efficient. Religious leaders sign a covenant agreeing that they will take on at least one of six measures to temper global warming, be it educating congregations or modifying worship sites. A popular program is the sale of compact fluorescent light bulbs by youth groups.Of the 225 congregations that have signed on statewide, 66 hail from the East Bay, said Sarah Newman, the group's outreach director. Other states where interfaith groups have set up shop are Maine, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Oregon and New Hampshire. States that will plug into the program in the future are Washington, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland and Indiana.Bingham predicts the state numbers will swell. "We want 1,000 members by 2004," she said.Given the public's heightened awareness of environmental concerns, that's not too lofty a goal.Conservation measures range from the basic and relatively cheap to the complicated and costly. At Danville's San Damiano, live-in volunteer Lois McWhorter oversees an organic garden reliant on spring water and vigilant composting. At El Cerrito United Methodist Church, 137 lower-wattage light bulbs replaced previous power guzzlers. And at Congregation Shir Hadash in Los Gatos, the synagogue forked over $50,000 for a solar energy system.Environmentalists welcome religious groups since they add muscle and a new dimension to the cause."There's something about the religious aspect that brings back the core values of morality, stewardship and our role and commitments," said Peter Galvin, the California director of the Center of Biological Diversity.Galvin's conservation and lobbying group finds a strong ally in Christians Caring for Creation, an Internet-based prayer network. The unlikely partners joined forces to save seven endangered species, including the Alameda whipsnake, in a federal lawsuit filed in 1999.The alliance isn't that odd since the tale of Noah acts as a powerful parable on protecting all creatures.One of the most publicized and criticized eco-spiritual campaigns was launched over the summer by the Evangelical Environmental Network. Its "What Would Jesus Drive?" tour with the Rev. Ball driving a hybrid to tout fuel efficient vehicles revved up the anger of SUV owners who thought they were being unfairly singled out.The campaign's goal was not to pick on SUV owners but to get car owners to think ahead about their next car purchase, Ball said."Nowhere do we say that we think the SUV is the devil's tool," he said.Rather the message is "to understand that at the most basic level it's like loving your neighbor. But pollution hurts people, therefore it's not loving your neighbor."Some religious organizations aren't sold on the environmental push at the pulpit, saying it borders on the political and is taking precedence over more urgent issues like homelessness."Environmental activism may be admirable but it shouldn't be the first, second or even the third most important issue for the church," said Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy.That thinking goes counter to the teachings of scripture and saints like Francis of Assisi, who espoused a simple way of living that called for the protection of all God's creatures. Bucher, who is the director of the St. Francis-based San Damiano Retreat Center, says most of the criticism is short-sighted."They're probably the same people who just think religion is only about heaven."Professor Ruether, who specializes in social justice issues, warns that those opposed to the environmental call should be careful about what they say."The conservatives themselves who are expressing it are political," she said. "No one is more politically organized than the right-wing movement. It's hypocrisy. This is a political issue, but it is also a moral and religious one."But just espousing its virtues can only go so far.That's why Bucher, like Bingham and Bell, practices what he preaches and drives a hybrid car.He suggests that drivers give the car a try.Just maybe, if St. Francis were alive today, he'd drive one too. Or hoof it to BART.
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Reach Randy Myers at rmyers@cctimes.com. [url=http://www.bayarea.com/mld/cctimes/news/6887813.htm]web page[/url]

LMD
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Re: Religion and Envirionmentalism: It's a Matter of Faith

I thought the Druids were the first "real" religious environmentalists. Afterall, didn't they worship trees?Jon...stop posting articles like this, will you? My left eye is twitching and I have a splitting headache after reading this nonsense :D !
This is way over the edge to me...And if this article isn't bad enough, check out the quote on the interfaithpower.org homepage (which may have been posted on AMG before):"To me the question of the environment is more ominous than that of peace and war. We will have regional conflicts and use of force, but world conflicts I do not believe will happen any longer. But the environment, that is a creeping danger. I'm more worried about global warming than I am of any major military conflict." - Hans Blix, Chief U.N. Weapons Inspector
March 16, 2003 New York Times :roll:

LMD
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Re: Religion and Envirionmentalism: It's a Matter of Faith

[url=http://www.interfaithpower.org/]http://www.interfaithpower.org/[/url]BLESSING OF SOLAR PANELS
O Source of Light, by Your light we see light.
...Holy God, may this simple act of harnessing Your eternal light help us
escapt the global heating that our generation is causing over your creation...
...Loving God, Your gift of light enables us to shine. May we, created in Your image be worthy reflectors of Your glory.BLESSING FOR WIND POWER
O Source of breath and life, renew the face of the Earth.
Gracious Lord, may we and our world be revived and restored by your
breath of life...
...God of heaven and Earth, send again your creative wind to inspire
many to accept your free and renewable gifts of energy to light our
lives.Kim Winchell, Michigan Interfaith Coalition for Creation
Fall 2001

LMD
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Re: Religion and Envirionmentalism: It's a Matter of Faith

To be fair and balanced :roll: , for those of you who wish to pursue this worthy cause here is the contact info for the Maine Interfaith Power & Light group.Fred Wilson Horch
Project Coordinator
fred@meipl.org
(207) 729-9665Mailing address:
Maine Interfaith Power & Light
PO Box 146
Brunswick, ME 04011-0146I think I'll join the ministry................

Squawker
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Re: Religion and Envirionmentalism: It's a Matter of Faith

lol You guys are over the edge :D

wv_republican
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Global warming is the new

Global warming is the new religion of First World urban elites

Ian Plimer has outraged the ayatollahs of purist environmentalism, the Torquemadas of the doctrine of global warming, and he seems to relish the damnation they heap on him. Plimer is a geologist, professor of mining geology at Adelaide University, and he may well be Australia's best-known and most notorious academic. Plimer, you see, is an unremitting critic of "anthropogenic global warming" -- man-made climate change to you and me -- and the current environmental orthodoxy that if we change our polluting ways, global warming can be reversed.

Plimer presents the proposition that anthropogenic global warming is little more than a con trick on the public perpetrated by fundamentalist environmentalists and callously adopted by politicians and government officials who love nothing more than an issue that causes public anxiety.

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Global+warming+religion+First+World+urb...

A fresh story on an old topic.

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