God, We Are Sorry

Dear God,

We confess that we have sinned against you. Have mercy upon us and forgive us because we do earnestly repent and are truly sorry for these our misdoings.

We owe apology to and ask forgiveness from the people of Texas and Florida. We have turned away from you and not answered your call to take care of your sacred garden. While we can compensate some citizens with money and replace some of their material goods, we cannot make up for all the damage and devastation of their homes and properties. We cannot bring back the dead and we are truly sorry. We have been negligent and (as hard as it is to admit) stupid in denying the science of climate change. We have let our political party make decisions for us even when we know it is wrong. We are not caring for the poor and vulnerable in the way that you have asked us to. We have accepted money from polluters even when we know their behavior is contributing to the warming world and causing more severe and frequent hurricanes.

We have labeled hard-working climate scientists as criminals and called their research a hoax when we are aware that they have no political agenda and are actually trying to save the planet from becoming uninhabitable. They have warned us and warned us and we have not listened. But since these recent storms that have broken all records and are costing us, our states and American taxpayers billions of dollars in clean up, we are realizing our sin. We are waking up and understanding that our denial of climate change is life threatening and a crime against humanity.

While hurricanes were hitting us, one of us announced to our citizens and the press that “my first duty as governor is to protect the people of my state.” We now know that we have not done that and we promise that we will begin to tell the truth, refuse money from oil companies and no longer deny that burning fossil fuel is contributing to warming the oceans, causing sea level rise and more severe storm surges.

We pledge to join Governor Brown in California and set mandates limiting greenhouse gas emissions and to aggressively promote renewable energy. Our self-imposed penance is to do all that we can to protect the people of our states from having to suffer the consequences of our previous behavior and from now on, we will join the rest of the world leaders who are fighting to save the garden that you, God, provided for our health and wellbeing. We humbly repent.

Governor Rick Scott, Florida
Governor Greg Abbott, Texas

Ghost written by The Reverend Canon Sally G. Bingham, who serves as the president of the climate advocacy organization Interfaith Power & Light and canon for the environment for the Episcopal diocese of California.