Tim DeChristopher recently penned an open letter (of sorts) to faith leaders in America, encouraging them to lead the climate movement, rather than simply follow it. DeChristopher's wax-poetic on the necessary role that faith leaders play in environmental justice, emphasizes the moral crisis posed by climate change. And, while he recognizes the tremendous impact religious leaders are having, he insists that they can do more.
Climate change is a moral issue that requires the real world leadership of faith leaders to 'act as a solid rock' in the road to prosperous change through behavioral adjustments and divestment from fossil fuels. Much like Jim Willis, founder of our partner organization Sojourners, faith leaders are becoming increasing aware of their ability to have an immediate impact on those that hinder environmental justice.
By Tim DeChrisopher for EcoWatch
Recently, there has been a growing discussion of climate change as a moral issue, both in academia and in religious communities. This past fall I spoke at three religion and climate change conferences in as many months, including a conference at Harvard Divinity School, “Spiritual and Sustainable: Religion Responds to Climate Change,” and in June 2015 I will join many global thinkers at a process theology conference on climate change in Claremont, California.
The highly anticipated encyclical from Pope Francis on climate change will undoubtedly contribute and bring attention to this discourse. Frequently, however, the acknowledgment that climate change is a moral issue on which religious people should engage is the end of the conversation. There has not been nearly enough discussion about what it means to engage with this moral challenge. We have not yet answered how and where we should be taking our stand in response to climate change. I argue that when religious people answer the call of the climate crisis, we must bring real moral leadership to the climate justice movement.