Once she wrested control of the Senate’s Environmental and Public Works Committee from conservative stalwart Sen. Jim Inhofe (R.-Okla.), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D.-Calif.) was expected to aggressively pursue legislation to combat global warming. What wasn’t expected was that she would do it with blessings from the Church.
Last Thursday, Boxer held a hearing that highlighted the growing role of religion in liberal political campaigns--particularly in the name of “environmental justice.” There, a coalition of 35 religious denominations called for an 80 percent reduction in global warming emissions by the year 2050, and bill S.309, sponsored by Boxer and avowed socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I.-Vt.), calls for the same.
“Evangelical Christians, Catholics, African Methodist Episcopals, Jews, mainline Protestant Christians, and many other people of faith see the need for action on global warming as a moral, ethical and scriptural mandate,” Boxer said.
She explained, “People of faith contacted us recognizing that science says global warming’s effects will fall most heavily on poor people. All we have to do is look at what happened during [Hurricane] Katrina, even in one of the world’s wealthiest countries.”
On behalf of the National Council of Churches, which claims to represent 45 million Americans, Episcopal Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said, “Faith communities, in the area of global warming, are increasingly of one mind that action is needed.” She pled with her “colleagues in the faith community [who] doubt the urgency of addressing global warming,” saying: “I urge you to reconsider for the sake of God’s good earth.”
Among the religious communities supporting the emissions cuts were: the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the National Council of Churches USA, PAX Christi USA, the Union for Reform Judaism and Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.
Sen. Inhofe, the ranking member of the committee, said using religious leaders to advocate for government intervention against global warming was a new technique Democrats were using to “divide and conquer the evangelical community and get people away from core values issues.”
His critique follows remarks Democrat National Committee Chairman Howard Dean made at a May 2007 fundraiser in San Francisco: “People don’t want to go to church anymore…and come out feeling bad because they know someone who is gay. People want to go to church because they know what they can do about poverty, about Darfur, about the environment.”
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