Republican Senators Doing God’s Work by Providing Leadership on Climate Change

Statement by Rev. Mitch Hescox:

On behalf of the 900,000 supporters of EEN’s work, our staff, and our Board, I want to thank Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and his colleagues, Senators Kirk (R-IL), Ayotte (R-NH), Portman (R-OH), and Collins (R-ME), for the introduction on the Senate floor of a statement affirming that climate change is real and that “human activity contributes to climate change.”

The statement recognizes that: (1) climate impacts are already hurting people; (2) Congress must act to reduce climate pollution and support clean tech R&D, and; (3) the U.S. should be a world leader in overcoming climate change.

These affirmations are all that is needed to set our country on a bold course of overcoming climate change by creating sustainable prosperity powered by clean energy.  It is time to set aside what has been holding our country back – partisanship, misguided ideology, fear of change, and simple greed – and embrace a cleaner and healthier future.

We pledge our support to Senator Graham and his Republican colleagues as they lead us towards this bolder course and brighter future.

A Major Step Forward for Pure Air & a Healthy Future for Our Kids

A Statement by the Rev. Mitch Hescox
President/CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN)

In a major victory for cleaner air and overcoming climate change, the U.S. Court of Appeals today rejected a stay requested by opponents seeking to block implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean Power Plan (CPP), which will cut dangerous carbon pollution from America’s power plants.  The Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) is grateful the Court did the right thing; reducing such pollution must move forward without delay.

Last year EEN submitted over 300,000 comments from pro-life Christians in support of regulating carbon from existing coal-burning power plants.  Here is their message that the court supported today:

As pro-life Christians, we urge the EPA to protect life and God’s creation by reducing carbon pollution and toxic emissions from existing coal burning power plants.  We ask the EPA to provide maximum flexibility to states as to how they will cut emissions, including options such as a pollution fee that could cut other taxes. It is time for our leaders to act for the sake of our children’s health, the most vulnerable among us, and His beautiful creation.

EPA listened to our comment sense requests when the rule was finalized last July and the flexibility afforded in the standard allows each state to design a plan that works for each state and their most precious resource, children.

Climate Change represents the greatest threat to life and the greatest opportunity for hope of our generation and the generations yet to come.  Reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants will protect children from health impacts and help lead to cleaner air and purer water.  Starting to place a real cost on carbon through the CPP will be a major impetus for a clean energy future that creates good jobs and continues to position our country as the world’s innovative business leader.  We must stop subsiding power companies with health of our kids and correct the market failure of fossil fuels.

 

Laudato Si’ on a Capable Culture

by Alexei Laushkin

The problem is that we still lack the culture needed to confront this crisis (Laudato Si’, 53).

Laudato Si’ makes a number of very poignant observations, perhaps none more so than the need to build and embody a culture capable of confronting the crisis.

Now what crisis is the encyclical referring to? Is it the climate crisis? The technocratic paradigm that helps to diminish human life? Is it our disregard for the elderly or the unborn?

The answer is yes, yes, and yes, but perhaps the biggest problem is what underlies all of those problems, mainly human sin. This putting off of sin has to begin with each of us and has to be embodied in the body of Christ even as we make our views known and push for change in the public square. In this way reaching back to a sense of personal and social holiness/righteousness is key.

In the United States the problem of our culture is particularly evident. On the same week that the President took significant action to reduce carbon, Congress could not pass legislation to defund Planned Parenthood. As Pope Francis has said we do not yet have the culture to confront the crisis at hand. Our inconsistent regard and at times totally disregard for human life as at the center of this crisis.  Here’s Bishop Kalistos Ware on what exactly this image and likeness is that motivates our common concern for human dignity:

The image is that which man possesses from the beginning, and which enables him to set out in the first place on the spiritual Way; the likeness is that which he hopes to attain at his journey’s end.

Laudato Si’ gives fresh impetus to the notion that work to engage issues that have such an impact on human life flow from a similar conviction. Here’s Laudato Si’ on why those of us who are concerned about creation, can’t ignore the unborn:

Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties? If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of the new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away (136).

And further on the interconnection or similar well-spring of concern for human life:

When we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a poor person, a human embryo, a person with disabilities – to offer just a few examples – it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected. Once the human being declares independence from reality and behaves with absolute dominion, the very foundations of our life begin to crumble, for “instead of carrying out his role as a cooperator with God in the work of creation, man sets himself up in place of God and thus ends up provoking a rebellion on the part of nature (117).

 

Pope Francis is right we have a crisis of culture, and it’s well time that we address and embody a culture of life. Until we do so we won’t have the culture capable of really valuing all of life well.

Alexei Laushkin is the Vice-President of the Evangelical Environmental Network