By Wenonah Hauter
Earlier this year, Pope Francis called for decisive climate action in his Encyclical Letter. Now, while the Pope is visiting the U.S. for the first time, faith leaders across the country are speaking out against fracking—a form of extreme fossil fuel extraction that hurts our health and communities, contributes to climate change, and will prolong our dependence on oil and gas at the expense of the development of truly renewable energy.
Today, Food & Water Watch is previewing a Faith Against Fracking video with messages from faith leaders of various denominations from across the country, as the Pope addresses Congress on the Hill, and as activists call for moral action for climate justice on the mall outside the Capitol.
We can’t miss this historic opportunity to highlight the moral issues around climate change—and fracking. And the faith leaders in the video are doing just that:
· “This is the time when all of us are being called to create a perfect world. We are all called in conscience to look to our higher self—our God image—and see the responsibility that we have.” Lupe Anguiano, Former Nun & Founder, Stewards of the Earth
· “The Pope has given us a wonderful gift in this Encyclical. We can see within his words the values that all people of faith can share of caring for God’s creation.” Dr. Leah Schade, Pastor, United in Christ Lutheran Church
· “Pope Francis says that care for creation is not a domain of a few people. ‘Those people in the environmental movement, let them take care of it.’ No, it’s our responsibility because it is our common home, and all of those in this country have the moral responsibility to get involved.” Fr. Jacek Orzechowski, Franciscan Friar, Ordo Fratrum Minorum
· “This is what is unethical. We are doing things for money that we know are wrong.” Rev. Dr. Ambrose Carroll, Senior Pastor, Church by the Side of the Road
· “A world that values economics above human health is a world that we don’t need because ultimately it’s a detriment to all of us. It’s like creating our own cancer. If we don’t have our health, what difference does economics make?” Rev. Dr. Hubert Ivery, Pastor, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church
· “We all hear the conversation about being energy independent. Energy independence doesn’t mean giving all our power to the oil industry to do whatever the heck they want with our communities. If they really want to be energy independent, they should be focusing on renewable energy, green energy. Energy that is not only going to benefit the pockets of the industry, but that is going to benefit the health of our communities.” Juan Flores, Former Seminarian and Community Organizer, CRPE
The video also includes Rev. Joy Atkinson, Minister of Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church; Rabbi Michael Lerner, Chair, Network of Spiritual Progressives; Anne Marie Sayers and Kanyon Sayers Roods, Indian Country, Coastal Ohlone; and Rev. Kelvin Sauls, Holman United Methodist Church.
Communities of faith are increasingly rallying around the call to abandon fossil fuels and work for renewable energy. Last weekend, Pennsylvania faith leaders sent an open letter to Governor Tom Wolf asking him to stop fracking the Keystone State. Yesterday, the Pope addressed the public on the White House lawn, where he invoked Martin Luther King Jr.’s words to urge climate action: “To use a telling phrase of the Rev. Martin Luther King, we can say that we have defaulted on a promissory note and now is the time to honor it.”
A good first step is to show this video into your communities of faith, and help create momentum to stop fracking where you live and to work for a renewable energy future. It will take all of us getting involved to pressure our elected officials to enact policies that will bring about renewable energy solutions—and save our planet and its people in the process.