Faith principles on climate change, endorsed by major religions in the US

FAITH PRINCIPLES ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Justice: Strive for justice and acknowledge that climate change’s societal impact already falls, and will continue to fall, most heavily on the people around the world who are least able to mitigate the impacts—poor and vulnerable populations in the U.S. and in developing countries. As a leading industrialized nation that has disproportionately contributed to greenhouse gas emissions, it is incumbent upon us to rectify this injustice. To reach our goal of justice, we require that legislation:

  • Include mechanisms that mitigate the impacts of climate change particularly for vulnerable populations in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Prevent further harm to human health and all of God’s Creation by utilizing clean energy sources when addressing global warming and carbon pollution.
  • Focus on a fair and equitable distribution of total benefits and costs among people, communities, and nations, and in particular rectify the disproportionate impact that low-income communities have and will experience as the climate continues to change.
  • Enable our brothers and sisters now living in poverty to have both economic independence and stability and to eliminate the devastating impacts that climate change has and will continue to have on those people in the U.S. and around the world living in poverty.
  • Take action now to avoid placing the burden of carbon reduction unduly on our children’s children.
  • Endorse policies that place a high priority on allowing all people to live in God’s abundance and with dignity by ensuring that basic human needs and worker justice are not adversely impacted by the effects of climate change or future efforts to address climate change.

Stewardship: Heed the call to be faithful stewards and caretakers of God’s creation by limiting the future impacts of climate change on God’s Earth. Already, climate change has damaged the precious balance of God’s creation, including increasing the number of threatened species, causing long-term drought, and melting Arctic ice. To reach our goal of stewardship, we require that legislation:

  • Follow recognized scientific guidelines and recommendations in order to protect all of God’s creation and prevent catastrophic damage to God’s Earth and God’s people. Following their recommendations, legislation must include comprehensive, mandatory, and aggressive emission reductions that aim to limit the increase in Earth’s temperature to 2 degrees Celsius or less. Legislation should focus on the short term goal of reducing U.S. carbon emissions to reach a 25-40 percent reduction in carbon by 2020 with a long term vision to achieve carbon emissions that are 80 percent below 2000 levels by the year 2050.
  • Avoid catastrophic climate change, which would devastate God’s creation, put more pressure on disaster and relief responses, and endanger the future of the planet. Although climate change impacts are already being felt, we must ensure that God’s people and planet are protected from the catastrophic effects that may occur if we fail to significantly curb our carbon emissions.
  • Call on major emitters to take responsibility for their actions and work to significantly reduce their carbon emissions.

Sustainability: Ensure that efforts to curb climate change prevent further environmental and societal tragedies. As people of faith we are guided by the value of sustainability. Sustainability requires that we enable biological and social systems that nurture and support life not be depleted or poisoned. To reach our goal of sustainability, we require that legislation:

  • Maintain God’s good creation by preventing policies that place the burden of our lifestyles on one aspect of creation and encouraging policies that sustain and restore vibrant eco-systems with economic justice so that communities of life can flourish for generations to come.
  • Respond to global warming in a way that reflects the interdependence of all of God’s creation.
  • Support energy sources that are renewable, clean, and avoid destruction of God’s creation.

Sufficiency: In a world of finite resources, for all to have enough requires that those among us who have more than enough will need to address our patterns of acquisition and consumption. We cannot achieve significant reductions in climate change emissions unless we make changes in our lifestyles and particularly in our energy consumption. To support the goal of sufficiency, legislation must:

  • Encourage energy conservation in our homes, our communities, and our places of worship.
  • Encourage energy conservation in national transportation and distribution systems and commercial enterprises.
  • Encourage the federal government to lead through research and example in the practice and implementation of energy conservation.

Endorsed by:
African Methodist Episcopal Church
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Church of the Brethren/Washington Office
Columban Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation Office (USA)
Community of Christ Episcopal Church USA
Creation Justice Ministries
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
National Baptist Convention
National Baptist Convention of America
National Baptist Convention USA, Inc.
National Council of Churches USA
National Ministries, American Baptist Churches USA
Pax Christi USA: National Catholic Peace Movement
Presbyterian Church (USA) Washington Office Progressive
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society
Union of Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

Contact: Shantha Ready Alonso, Director of Creation Justice Ministries, 202-827-3975 info@creationjustice.org

National Council of Churches: A 21st Century Social Creed 

WE CHURCHES OF THE UNITED STATES have a message of hope for a fearful time.

Just as the churches responded to the harshness of early 20th Century industrialization with a prophetic “Social Creed” in 1908, so in our era of globalization we offer a vision of a society that shares more and consumes less, seeks compassion over suspicion and equality over domination, and finds security in joined hands rather than massed arms.

Inspired by Isaiah’s vision of a “peaceable kingdom,” we honor the dignity of every person and the intrinsic value of every creature, and pray and work for the day when none “labor in vain or bear children for calamity” (Isaiah 65:23). We do so as disciples of the One who came “that all may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10) and stand in solidarity with Christians and with all who strive for justice around the globe.

In faith, responding to our Creator, we celebrate the full humanity of each woman, man, and child, all created in the divine image as individuals of infinite worth, by working for:

  • Full civil, political and economic rights for women and men of all races.
  • Abolition of forced labor, human trafficking, and the exploitation of children.
  • Employment for all, at a family-sustaining living wage, with equal pay for comparable work.
  • The rights of workers to organize, and to share in workplace decisions and productivity growth.
  • Protection from dangerous working conditions, with time and benefits, to enable full family life.
  • A system of criminal rehabilitation, based on restorative justice and an end to the death penalty.

In the love incarnate in Jesus, despite the world’s sufferings and evils, we honor the deep connections within our human family and seek to awaken a new spirit of community, by working for:

  • Abatement of hunger and poverty, and enactment of policies benefiting the most vulnerable.
  • High-quality public education for all and universal, affordable and accessible healthcare.
  • An effective program of social security during sickness, disability and old age.
  • Tax and budget policies that reduce disparities between rich and poor, strengthen democracy, and provide greater opportunity for everyone within the common good.
  • Just immigration policies that protect family unity, safeguard workers’ rights, require employer accountability, and foster international cooperation.
  • Sustainable communities marked by affordable housing, access to good jobs, and public safety.
  • Public service as a high vocation, with real limits on the power of private interests in politics.

In hope sustained by the Holy Spirit, we pledge to be peacemakers in the world and stewards of God’s good creation, by working for:

  • Adoption of simpler lifestyles for those who have enough; grace over greed in economic life.
  • Access for all to clean air and water and healthy food, through wise care of land and technology.
  • Sustainable use of earth’s resources, promoting alternative energy sources and public transportation with binding covenants to reduce global warming and protect populations most affected.
  • Equitable global trade and aid that protects local economies, cultures, and livelihoods.
  • Peacemaking through multilateral diplomacy rather than unilateral force, the abolition of torture, and a strengthening of the United Nations and the rule of international law.
  • Nuclear disarmament and redirection of military spending to more peaceful and productive uses.
  • Cooperation and dialogue for peace and environmental justice among the world’s religions.

We—individual Christians and churches—commit ourselves to a culture of peace and freedom that embraces non-violence, nurtures character, treasures the environment, and builds community, rooted in a spirituality of inner growth with outward action.  We make this commitment together—as members of Christ’s body, led by the one Spirit—trusting in the God who makes all things new.

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