The Politics of Christian Environmentalism
Without a doubt, one of the greatest challenges before us as a civilization in the 21st century is the protection and repair of our environment. This is an ambition that cuts across ideologies, scriptures and traditions of faith, dictating a collective responsibility to an admittedly enormous task. For Christians in particular, the onus of responsibility to protect God's Earth should be seen as second to nothing in terms of its importance and its consistency with the Christian value system. Ironically, in the United States, sharp political lines of allegiance undermine what should be an inextricable link between the Christian faith and the environmental movement.
Indeed, Christian values have long instructed us to reach out to the hungry, poor and oppressed and to bring them ease, to improve their conditions and to help them feel the love of God. But the connection between the environmental abuses wrought by our global industrialization and the suffering of the world's poor and disenfranchised citizens is a clear one. This alone should inform the actions of the Christian community, which must detach itself from many of the associations that accompany its relationship with the America's political 'right wing.' Because this political disposition often calls for a rejection of environmentalist values, it is ill-suited to the Christian worldview.
Though there are many points of common ground between Christianity and the Republican Party, environmental values are not among them. If there is a meaningful overlap...
As the text by Peritore (1999) contributes, the environmental movement "is more fundamental than a culture shift because it is based on serious global threats to life on this planet. Ideologies may surge and flow across the face of these realities, but environmental issues cannot be argued or deconstructed away." (Peritore, 30). This is an important point to the discussion, lending us the basic understanding that the need to extent environmental protections into developing nations -- as an example of one important political objective -- is not simply an appendage of the so-called liberal agenda. Quite to the contrary, this is a fight which concerns all parties. In terms of taking action, the historical connection between the Christian identity and the Conservative political parties of the United States should no longer be considered a determinant force in our position on matters of the environment. Rather, the seriousness of our enviornemntal plight and our spiritual connection to the Earth should help us to urge the Conservative political agenda to embrace restoration, conservation, preservation and a sustainable way of living.
Evidence suggests that Christian community groups and coalitions are increasingly coming to recognize the importance of their role in fighting to save the environment. And with this recognition has come something of an independent streak form its long-standing Republican connections. As the text by Tiansay (2001) tells, "the National Council of Churches, the country's largest coalition of Protestant and Orthodox Christian denominations, is in the process of lobbying for national and international action on global warming. Meanwhile, in Southern California, a group called Christians Caring for Creation is suing the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services to protect the endangered Alameda whipsnake and arroyo toad. In the Bible Belt, local preachers are spearheading a grassroots campaign to save the Southern forests from chip mills." (Tiansay, p. 1)…
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Thus, the ecological teaching of the Bible is of stewardship, so that rather than being "spiritual at the earth's expense [….] it means exactly the opposite: do not desecrate or depreciate these gifts […] by turning them into worldly 'treasure'; do not reduce life to money or to any other mere quantity" (Berry 526). This biblical ecology would seem in direct opposition to the engagement with capitalism Benne and
" So there is common ground for starters. Now, to avoid more generations and centuries of killing and hatred, Christians and Muslims must indeed find common ground. And for the Christian hoping to convert the Muslim, common ground is just the launching pad. Another way of bringing the discussion down to familiar territory for the Muslim is to point out that both Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Muslims may