February 08, 2006

Evangelical Climate Initiative

From TalkingDonkeys: More than 85 evangelical Christian leaders have come together to form the Evangelical Climate Initiative, addressing the morally imperative issue of global climate change. They have signed a statement called "Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action." Although written by and primarily for evangelical Christians, the statement is rooted in biblical teaching that should ring true with Catholics as well. It reads, in part:

While we cannot here review the full range of relevant biblical convictions related to care of the creation, we emphasize the following points:

  • Christians must care about climate change because we love God the Creator and Jesus our Lord, through whom and for whom the creation was made. This is God's world, and any damage that we do to God's world is an offense against God Himself (Gen. 1; Ps. 24; Col. 1:16).

  • Christians must care about climate change because we are called to love our neighbors, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, and to protect and care for the least of these as though each was Jesus Christ himself (Mt. 22:34-40; Mt. 7:12; Mt. 25:31-46).

  • Christians, noting the fact that most of the climate change problem is human induced, are reminded that when God made humanity he commissioned us to exercise stewardship over the earth and its creatures. Climate change is the latest evidence of our failure to exercise proper stewardship, and constitutes a critical opportunity for us to do better (Gen. 1:26-28).

Love of God, love of neighbor, and the demands of stewardship are more than enough reason for evangelical Christians to respond to the climate change problem with moral passion and concrete action.

The statement also points out that "the consequences of climate change will be significant, and will hit the poor the hardest." In Catholic terms, climate change doesn't just touch upon the Catholic social principle addressing stewardship of God's creation; it also touches both directly and indirectly upon the dignity of the human person, common good and community, the preferential option for the poor, our rights and responsibilities, the role of government, economic justice, the promotion of peace, social participation, and global solidarity. In short, every principle of Catholic social teaching indicates to the faithful that global climate change is a morally imperative issue that should matter to all Catholics.