- Rick Bonetti
The Climate Crisis and the Church
Evangelical Christians in the United States, often part of the "Religious Right," may be skeptical about the urgency of the climate crisis, particularly if they have an apocalyptic, end-times view. But as the YouTube video above (from Elim Pentecostal Churches) demonstrates, this is not the case in the United Kingdom and in portions of the southern hemisphere already suffering the negative effects of global warming, caused largely by industrialized nations in the northern hemisphere.
Christianity Today, in a November 5, 2021 article Why the Climate Change Movement Needs the Church identifies several youth-focused, global Christian groups concerned about climate justice:
Lausanne/World Evangelical Alliance Creation Care Network (LWCCN)
WEA Creation Care Task Force (Deerfield, IL)
WEA Sustainability Center (WEASC) (Bonn, Germany)
In the United States of America, younger generations are more concerned about climate change than older adults. Pew Research Center notes that "Majorities of Gen Z and Millennial Republicans (57% and 59%, respectively) say large businesses and corporations are doing too little to help reduce the effects of climate change,"
According to a 2021 Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults "few Republicans and Republican-leaning independents express deep concern about addressing climate change: Only 10% call it a top personal concern, compared with a much larger share of Democrats and Democratic leaners (49%)."
"Republicans place economic considerations at the top of the list when asked about the factors they view as important in proposals to deal with climate change. About two-thirds of Republicans (65%) say increasing job and economic growth is a very important consideration to them in proposals to reduce the effects of climate change, and 61% say the same about keeping consumer costs low. Republicans place higher importance on these economic components of climate proposals than they do on other factors, such as protecting the quality of the environment for future generations "
So discussions with Republicans about climate change should first address values of increasing jobs and economic growth and keeping consumer costs low.
More ecumenical and progressive churches, synagogues, and mosques in the USA are leading the way for the church to address the climate emergency.
The World Council of Churches says: "The present world development model is threatening the lives and livelihoods of many, especially among the world's poorest people, and destroying biodiversity. The ecumenical vision is to overcome this model based on over-consumption and greed."
Creation Justice Ministries "educates, equips, and mobilizes Christian individuals, congregations, denominations, and communions to protect, restore, and rightly share God's creation."
A United Methodist Church 2016 Resolution says "We understand climate justice not simply as an environmental or economic concern but rather as a deeply ethical and spiritual concern that the Church must address so that abundant life is ensured for our children and future generations."
The 2017 United Church of Christ's Resolution The Earth is the Lord’s–Not Ours to Wreck: Imperatives for a New Moral Era was about "the moral imperatives that arise for people of faith in response to a presidential [Trump] administration that “ignores science, defunds the Environmental Protection Agency, and withdraws from the Paris Climate Accord.”
The Unitarian Universalist Ministry For Earth "seeks environmental justice, beloved community and the flourishing of all life."
The mission of Disciples of Christ's Green Chalice Ministry is "to connect Christian faith, spiritual practice, and creation consciousness in order to demonstrate the fullness of God’s shalom."