Jeb Bush made waves this week after addressing a crowd at Liberty University regarding the importance of faith-based creation care. Bush shared his religious conviction to care for God’s creation stating, “America’s environmental debates, likewise, can be too coldly economical, too sterile of life,” Bush continued, “Christians see in nature and all God’s creatures designs grander than any of man’s own devising…And that moral vision can make all the difference.”
Bush isn’t alone in his remarks as Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made similar remarks a few days prior. Are we experiencing a shift in the Republican party? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain, politicians are starting to act with moral conviction on climate action thanks in large part to faith leaders voicing the moral imperative to be good stewards.
Former Florida governor and presumptive Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush voiced a faith-based form of environmentalism over the weekend, potentially breaking ranks with many of his GOP colleagues on climate issues. But if he really wants to take religion seriously during his likely run for the White House, he’ll have to come to terms with his pope’s increasingly progressive stance on climate change.
While delivering the commencement address at Liberty University, Bush, a lifelong Christian who converted to Catholicism in 1995, lauded the role of faith in American history. He championed the positive influence of religious leaders such as Pope Francis, and insisted that it is impossible for elected officials to completely divorce their faith from their politics.
“The endpoint is a certain kind of politician we’ve all heard before — the guy whose moral convictions are so private, so deeply personal, that he even refuses to impose them on himself,” Bush quipped, sparking peals of laughter from the thousands of graduates in attendance.
Bush’s appeal to religion is standard fare for potential GOP presidential candidates, especially when speaking before Liberty University, an evangelical Christian school that has produced many of the Religious Right’s most influential leaders. What was less expected — and potentially groundbreaking — was how he described one of the key components of his faith: concern for the environment.
“America’s environmental debates, likewise, can be too coldly economical, too sterile of life,” Bush said. “Christians see in nature and all God’s creatures designs grander than any of man’s own devising, the endless glorious work of the Lord of Life. Men and women of your generation are striving to be protectors of Creation, instead of just users. Good shepherds, instead of just hirelings. And that moral vision can make all the difference.”