Jesus and the Environment

February 9, 2006

Like many Americans, I don’t advocate for the environment aside from recycling and purchasing organic food. (Note: Americans are increasingly halting recycling even bottles and cans, according to this USA Today report.) I don’t know any parents who don’t want open and clean space for their children to play, which is why I am surprised preserving the environment isn’t more of a uniting and pressing issue for us. Here’s some food for thought as to whether environmental degradation is a problem:

Where in this country can our children drink unfiltered or un-bottled water? (I remember drinking water from a hose outside of my childhood home in Miami 20 years ago.) Is it safe to eat tuna? (I don’t recall this being questionable when I was growing up.) Should we feed our children food that is not organic? (I can’t believe purchasing even the most basic items: bread, milk and eggs, in their natural and chemical-free state, is a luxury!)

I got a gulp of fresh air today when some evangelical Christians, including the Rev. Rick Warren who penned the popular Purpose-Driven Life, signed onto combating global warming. In a recent press conference, 86 evangelical leaders, including Warren, called on Congress and the White House to pass legislation reducing carbon dioxide emissions, according to a story in Salon.

“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 pastors said in a released statement.

Perhaps their uphill battle will shed some light as to why our government is not taking global climate change seriously — even though every reputable scientist in the world has said it exists and it’s caused by us. As the Salon piece pointed out, the largest evangelical Christian group — 30 million members! — including influential people like James Dobson of Focus on the Family are indifferent to the problem because they have a cozy relationship with the White House. To understand how high of a priority global warming is for the Bush administration, check out this disturbing New York Times editorial about the White House going so far as to threaten scientists with “dire consequences” for speaking the truth about global warming.

It’s a shame that something that makes so much sense — keeping our country beautiful and clean for future generations — has become so political and polarizing. Warren and his followers are right: Surely our omnipotent father did not intend for us to let our children eat, drink and breathe filth.