Sunday, July 09, 2006

'Creation Care' Entering the Religious Mainstream

I've pointed to a number of developments in recent months by American evangelical Christians regarding global warming and other environmental issues, and was thrilled by these developments as "Bible-believing Christians" have often seemed on the forefront of the movement to muddy the waters on the science of climate change -- they're also incredibly powerful politically in the US. notes that evangelicals in the US aren't the only believers out there embracing "creation care"; rather, it's becoming a important issue for religions worldwide:
Eco-friendly attitudes have increasingly moved into the mainstream of many faiths -- from Muslim clerics urging water conservation in the fast-growing Gulf states to evangelical preachers in the United States calling attention to global warming.

Next week, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I will lead another high-profile group of religious leaders, scientists and activists on a trip to examine the interplay of faith and ecology. The weeklong voyage along the Amazon starting next Thursday will be Bartholomew's sixth green journey since the first in 1995 to the Greek island of Patmos -- where biblical tradition says the book of Revelation was compiled.

The efforts of Bartholomew and others have energized some of the most lively theological explorations in recent years -- with fresh studies and interpretation of Scripture along environmental lines. The global movement also offers rare common ground for religious groups at a time of confrontation on issues from gay clergy to suspicions between the Muslim world and the West.

"The environment brings a sense of urgency and shared purpose that few other issues can bring," said Mary Evelyn Tucker, a co-founder of the Forum on Religion and Ecology, a group that will begin a relationship with Yale University in September. "It cuts across all religious traditions."
In turn, religion can bring "a sense of urgency and shared purpose" on environmental issues to many people unmoved by more academic arguments:
"Religion is built on story telling. The stories reach people in ways that academics or activists or NGOs cannot," said Victoria Finlay, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Religions and Conservation, a London-based group founded by Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth.
I'm of the mind that we have to bring religious leaders to the table on these issues. Not only do they have significant influence over millions of people, but, as Al Gore noted in An Inconvenient Truth, we've reached a point where there's a moral obligation to address global warming, air and water pollution, environmental toxicity, etc. The world's religions generally agree that creation care (I like that phrase) is an obligation of believers, and, now more than ever, we need religious leaders to remind the faithful of that element of their belief systems.

Via Hugg and my mom (who's now competing with my dad as a spotter...)

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