Faith Groups to Presidential Candidates: Enough Silence
FCNL, Faith Groups Sign Letter Encouraging Presidential Candidates Toward Action
Beyond the environmental imperative, FCNL believes there is a moral imperative to act on climate change. This week, we joined over forty other faith groups who signed a letter urging the Presidential candidates to address the issue on the campaign trail and in policy proposals.
As part of our on-going efforts to renew the moral call to action on climate change, FCNL is proud to work with the interfaith community. This week, the faith community has released a letter to the Presidential candidates, and FCNL is thrilled to be one of the organizations to sign the letter.
The environmental groups have long dominated the climate change discussions. Empirically, there is nothing wrong with this, but we know from experience that broader-based coalitions tend to do better turning lobbying into action from politicians.
To that end, FCNL has begun focusing on the faith community’s perspective on climate disruption. It’s not simply that environmental degradation is, itself, inherently a wrong (though that’s also true); we also have a moral obligation to others on the planet and to future generations to begin to reduce our carbon emissions and to begin to slow the rate of climate disruption.
As a faith-based organization, FCNL is uniquely suited to make this argument. We are proud of our role working with these faith groups in creating this effort, and we’re proud to approach climate change from this perspective.
Presently, our number one focus is on renewing the conversation and on bringing a discussion of the environment and climate change back into the public discourse. This letter to the Presidential candidates is, we believe, a solid step in this direction.
We cannot continue to ignore this issue. We are united with the faith community in the perspective that we can, and must, take immediate action, and we are optimistic that this can begin the conversation again.
Read the press release below, and click to read the letter to the candidates in its entirety.
Climate Change Absent from Presidential Race
President Obama and Governor Romney cannot address health of nation without addressing climate change
October 9 – To date, neither of the presidential campaigns have addressed the pressing issue of global climate change. In response to this glaring omission, 43 faith-based organizations issued a letter calling on President Obama and Governor Romney to address climate change, which many believe is among the greatest moral challenges of our time.
Rising temperatures, more frequent severe storms, and devastating droughts are impacting families and communities across the country. This past summer alone, more than 60 percent of the country experienced extreme drought conditions, which scientists confirm were amplified by climate change. This drought will result in higher utility prices, more home foreclosures, and decreased food production – all at a time when the country is just starting to recover from the recession.
Addressing climate change in a way that effectively reduces greenhouse gas emissions, provides adaptation assistance for the most vulnerable around the world and ensures a future that is sustainable and sufficient to meet the basic human needs of all people is what communities of faith are looking for in a leader.
“Global climate change threatens human health, economic stability, and community well-being,” said Cassandra Carmichael, Director of the National Council of Churches’ Washington Office. “Both President Obama and Governor Romney have talked about their desire to help families, communities, and the country become stronger but they cannot do this successfully without addressing global climate change. We are calling on both candidates to lay out a clear vision for how they will prevent the worst impacts of climate change.”
The letter highlights that the time is now for both candidates to put forth a vision of health and wholeness for the United States and makes it clear that we can no longer separate the health of the nation from our ability to effectively address global climate change.
Letter to the Candidates
October 9, 2012
Dear President Obama and Governor Romney,
As representatives of the faith community, we call on you to make global climate change a primary issue in your campaign and to advocate for concrete action to prevent its worst anticipated impacts. In the last few years, extreme droughts in the US have impacted more than 60 percent of the nation and are expected to result in higher utility prices, increased home foreclosures, and even civil unrest in the developing world as a result of food scarcity. Rising sea levels, caused in part by unprecedented polar ice melt, are threatening coastal cities in the US and island nations around the world. Extreme droughts have led to famine conditions for more than 23 million in the Horn of Africa. And these impacts will only grow worse as the Earth’s climate continues to warm.
While we represent different faiths and communities, our religious teachings are unified in our call to care for God’s Creation and to love and care for our neighbors. Climate change presents a challenge to us, as people of faith, even as it presents a current and growing threat to the well-being of our communities and the future of the planet
For more than 25 years, we have acted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our own houses of worship and to educate our leaders about climate change and its impacts. While these personal and community actions are important, they are not enough. We need decisive, collective action with strong leadership at the community, national, and global levels to avoid the ever-worsening droughts, famines, intense storms, sea level rise and heat waves associated with a changing climate.
The time is now to address climate change.
We call for national leadership that recognizes the challenging reality ahead while advancing a vision of health and wholeness even in the face of these challenges. We believe this vision includes emissions reductions that will prevent the worst impacts of climate change; adaptation assistance for the most vulnerable in the United States and abroad; and a future that is both sustainable and sufficient to meet the basic human needs of all people.
Simply put, we need national leadership committed to proactive and ethical action in the face of a changing climate and a changing reality.
We hope that you and your campaign, and if elected your future Administration, will prioritize policies to address climate change and protect the world’s most vulnerable communities from its impacts. We are committed to working with you now and in the future to achieve these goals.
The Catholic Health Association of the United States
Center of Concern
Church of the Brethren Advocacy & Peace Witness Ministries
Church World Service
Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
The Episcopal Church
Lutheran Church in America
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Franciscan Action Network
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Interfaith Moral Action on Climate Change
Interfaith Power and Light
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Jewish War Veterans of the USA
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
National Catholic Rural Life Conference National Council of Churches USA
Presbyterian Church (USA), Office of Public Witness
The Rabbinical Assembly
Union of Reform Judaism
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society
World Evangelical Alliance
State and Regional Organizations:
Arkansas Interfaith Alliance Arkansas Interfaith Power and Light
Arizona Ecumenical Council – Earth Care Commission
Arizona Interfaith Power and Light
California Council of Churches
Colorado Council of Churches
Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power and Light
Georgia Interfaith Power and Light
GreenFaith Interfaith Community for the Earth
Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice in the National Capital Region
Voices for Earth Justice (MI)
Wisconsin Council of Churches
Wisconsin Interfaith Power and Light