Sunday, November 23, 2014

Clergy Speaking Out on Climate Change

A new report entitled “Believers, Sympathizers, and Skeptics: Why Americans Are Conflicted about Climate Change, Environmental Policy, and Science” offers very interesting statistics on American views of climate change. Jointly prepared by the Public Religion Research Institute and the American Academy of Religion, it highlights views by political and religious affiliation. Among many other things, it discusses frequency of clergy leader discussing climate change by denomination and race, showing Black Protestants and Hispanic Catholics more likely to hear about climate change from their pastors than white Catholics of Protestants. It states:
Americans who say their clergy leader speaks at least occasionally about climate change are more likely to be climate change Believers than Americans who tend not to hear about climate change in church. 
Climate Boot Camp is a pilot program being developed by Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light. Recognizing the vital leadership of clergy, we are planning this one-day workshop to train religious leaders to speak boldly and knowledgeably about climate change. It is led by a climate scientist, a biblical scholar, and a local pastor, and concludes with practicum experience and group debriefing.

Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson calls religion and science “the two most powerful forces in the world today.” He comments:
If religion and science could be united on the common ground of biological conservation, the problem would soon be solved. If there is any moral precept shared by people of all beliefs, it is that we owe ourselves and future generations a beautiful, rich, and healthful environment. (The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth [New York: Norton & Co., 2006], 5)
We may search for technological answers to the multiple ecological problems we face, but the questions are really human ones: What do we value? How do our lives and values line up? Religious leaders help shape values, and play a critical role in reaching vast numbers of Americans.

No comments:

Post a Comment