Senator Casey Supports Climate Action and the Clean Power Plan

by Alexei Laushkin

Starting with the chorus of the hymn, All Creatures of Our God and King – the paraphrased words of St. Francis of Assisi, Senator Robert Casey (D,PA) announced support for President Obama’s Climate Action Plan including The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan at Eastern University.  The statement came as the Senator moderated a panel discussion on Friday, September 18, 2015 at the university’s St. Davids, PA Campus.

Surrounded by a Catholic Sister, Evangelical Biologist, Catholic Theologian. Catholic Mom and EEN’s President, Rev. Mitch Hescox, Senator Casey stated, “Our Faith should guide and inspire our decisions.”  Referencing Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato si’, The Bible, The Evangelical Climate Initiative’s Climate Change: An Evangelical Call To Action and the Lausanne Movement For World Evangelism’s Cape Town Commitment,  all panelists supported Senator Casey’s announcement and continually referred climate change as a moral imperative and not a political issue.

“So, needless to say, I am delighted to be here today to applaud you, Senator Casey, a fellow Catholic, for your support of the Clean Power Plan. As a PA Senator this is not an easy position to take politically. However, morally it is the best position,” stated Sister Mary Elizabeth Clark.

Thanking the Senator for his announcement, EEN’s Hescox said, “Climate Change is the greatest moral challenge of our time as it already impacts all of God’s children throughout His creation.  However it also the greatest opportunity for hope.  With less than 7000 coal mining jobs left in Pennsylvania, it’s time to rebuild Pennsylvania with a clean energy economy.  Renewable energy jobs throughout United States are growing dramatically and already employ more workers than the coal industry.” “How can we continue to subsidize the fossil fuel industry at the rate we do?  As a lifelong Republican, we are propping a dying industry and that’s unfair to the market,” Hescox continued.

The panelists continually referenced the need for a just transition for the loss of coal jobs, while highlighting the children’s health threats, national security implications arising from food and water scarcity worldwide, and biblical imperative to steward God’s creation.

The discussion entitled, “Faith, Children, and the Moral Dimensions of Climate Change” was sponsored by Eastern University, The Evangelical Environmental Network, and Moms Clean Air Force.   Panelists in addition to Senator Casey included: Dr.  Daniel P. Scheid, Assistant Professor of Theology, Duquesne University; Sister Mary Elizabeth Clark, SSJ. The Sisters of Saint Joseph Earth Center; Dr. David W. Unander, Professor of Biology, Eastern University Haynes; Ms. Gretchen Dahlkemper, Field Director, Mom’s Clean Air Force, and The Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox, President, The Evangelical Environmental Network.

Evangelicals Support President Obama’s EPA Climate Change Regulation

PRESS RELEASE

July 30, 2015

Over 170 senior evangelical leaders from across the country sent President Obama a letter offering their support for his leadership on climate change, specifically for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) carbon pollution regulation known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP) to be released next week.  They joined nearly 230,000 pro-life Christians who sent supportive messages to the EPA in favor of the regulation.

In agreement with Pope Francis, the evangelical leaders see addressing climate change as an act of Christian love.  Their letter, dated July 30, states:

We see overcoming the climate challenge as one of the great moral opportunities of our time, a chance to fulfill the Great Commandments to love God, our neighbors, and ourselves.  It is God’s love that calls all of us to take on this challenge.  That is why we write to offer our support and encouragement for your efforts to overcome the climate challenge.

Evangelicals are often seen as in opposition to President Obama.  “Though we have our differences, the climate challenge is too important for us not to work together to defend our children and all of God’s children around the world,” said the Rev. Mitch Hescox, President/CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN).  “We know addressing climate change will help create a clean energy future with clean air, pure water, and good jobs.”

Other key parts of the evangelical community are also supporting President Obama and the EPA.

“Hispanic evangelicals recognize the importance of being good stewards of creation and these actions from the administration resonate with such a belief,” said the Rev. Dr. Emilio Marrero, Chair of EEN’s Board and Vice President of Esperanza, one of the leading hispanic Christian organizations in the country.  Polls have consistently shown that a majority of hispanics are concerned about climate change, and a recent one showed that 58% considered climate action an important issue for the 2016 presidential election.

Young evangelicals are also supporting President Obama and the EPA. “Our generation has only known a warming world,” said Rachel Lamb of Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (Y.E.C.A.).  “We’re grateful for President Obama’s leadership on climate change, and we hope other political leaders will work to protect our future and the poor by addressing the climate crisis.”

In his Encyclical on climate change, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis states that “love moves us to devise larger strategies to halt environmental degradation and to encourage a ‘culture of care’ which permeates all of society” (para. 231).

“We couldn’t agree more,” said Rev. Hescox.  “We see the Clean Power Plan as one of the ‘larger strategies to halt environmental degradation’ that Pope Francis talks about.”

CCmatteroflife

African American Pentecostals focus on Carbon Pollution Reduction and Job Creation

African American Pentecostals Focus on Carbon Pollution Reduction and Job Creation in Meetings With Key Senators and Senior White House Officials

This Earth Day over 40 senior African American Pentecostal Bishops and Pastors meet with key Senators and Senior White House Officials in support of key elements of the Clean Power Plan.

“For over 25 years Jesus People Against Pollution has seen the impact of pollution, toxins, and climate change on communities of color. We’re on the front lines, and God doesn’t want his people to just sit back. The Clean Power Plan sets important new standards and the group of pastors that gathered are serious about helping to bring good, healthy, clean, and sustainable jobs to their communities,” said Dr. Charlotte Keys, Executive Director of Jesus People Against Pollution based in Columbia, MS.

Jesus People Against Pollution partnered with the Evangelical Environmental Network and Global Green Development Green to help bring these senior leaders to Washington DC.

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“Some utility companies have been going out to tell communities of color that any new jobs for clean energy will significantly impact their churches. It’s just not true. It’s another attempt to spread misinformation and to hide the truth which is that a clean energy economy that focuses on efficiency and new forms of energy generation can be a significant job creator and a game changer in terms of pollution reductions,” said Rev. Mitch Hescox, President and CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network based in New Freedom, PA.

“What a blessing to learn how we as pastors can be empowered to reduce pollution and think about job creation within our local communities. The bible tells us to care for God’s creation, and that as pastors we are to be the good shepherds of our community. That’s why we gathered this week to be empowered for our kingdom focuses,” said Bishop Robert Evans of Longview, TX.

Over the last few years, more than 500,000 self-identified pro-life evangelical Christians have called for a reduction in mercury pollution that impacts the unborn, carbon pollution, smog, water pollution, and responsible land conservation. Evangelicals see the market and free enterprise as the key for solving and addressing some of the most complex environmental challenges, especially climate change. Pro-life evangelicals have especially encouraged conservative lawmakers to come up with distinctly conservative approaches to the environment.

Creation Care is Truly a Matter of Life

By Rev. Mitch Hescox

Jesus calls the children dear,
Come to me and never fear,
For I love the little children of the world;
I will take you by the hand,
Lead you to the better land,
For I love the little children of the world.”

Refrain

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Herbert Woolston

Many of us grew up singing the above song during Sunday School or Vacation Bible School. Even today in the midst of wonderful praise music and enduring hymns, Jesus Loves the Little Children and Jesus Loves Me are tunes that simply connect our spirits to God’s Spirit. These songs bond us to a God who loves and cares for life, especially the lives of children.  Indeed all the children of the world are precious in God’s eyes.  From the unborn child to West Virginian toddler drinking poisoned water to the hungry African boy, to the flood ravished Pakistani girl, to the struggling South Pacific family attempting to fish as coral dies and their daily catch drifts away, they are precious in His sight.

God created this earth as a sustainable garden that would provide our daily bread, if only we would tend His handy work.  Children are deeply impacted by the way we do or don’t do, creation care.  Unfortunately, creation care doesn’t seem to register on many hearts, even in the Church. Many dismiss creation care as earth worship, tree hugging, or other pejorative terms, simply because we fail in connecting our actions and attitudes surrounding creation care with life, especially the precious children of the world, children die, go hungry, contract diseases, flee their homes, or experience countless other abuses.

Jesus loves the little children, so should we! Beginning now, the Evangelical Environmental Network seeks to change our perceptions by launching Creation Care: It’s a Matter of Life.  Our effort over the next year will focus on how creation care challenges us to find the hope filled abundant life offered through Jesus for all God’s children, as we live life as true Christian disciples.

We invite you to journey this story with us.  Share with us how God works in you to care for creation and His precious children. Tell us your stories of hope, peace, and joy as we reflect God’s image into this crazy world and build a wonderful grace filled future for our children and all the children of the world.

Rev. Mitch Hescox is President & CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network. He lives in New Freedom, PA.