Faith Leaders to Congress: Enough Is Enough on Climate

As a seductively early spring brings premature cherry blossoms to our nation's capital and while cruel storms and floods pound the Midwest, our Congress seems to have forgotten about the climate crisis. Nevertheless, a recent article in Scientific American underscores these disasters by warning that we are rapidly reaching the point of irreversible global warming.

As a more hopeful harbinger of spring, a dynamic new multi-faith collaborative initiative is planning creative actions in Washington to awaken the lawmakers, the administration and the American people to the moral and spiritual imperative of this issue. The Interfaith Moral Action on Climate Change (IMAC) is bringing together a unique alliance to raise a prophetic cry in the name of God's creation. Our interdenominational spectrum spans the Evangelical church, the African American church, the NAACP, Jews, Muslims, Native Americans and others. They are proclaiming that their holy consensus on the sacredness of Creation transcends any of their doctrinal differences.

On April 24th of Earth Week, IMAC will create an inspirational and prophetic presence in the streets, sanctuaries and halls of Congress. The day will include a Sunrise Service at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument and the "Cry of the Earth: A Service for Healing the Climate" at the historic New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. A dramatic and colorful procession to the Congress will follow; last, the faithful will be commissioned for serious discussions with their representatives.

Inspired by their scriptures and by leaders such as Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who has called climate change "a crime against humanity," IMAC will call for change from a religious perspective. Our goals include an end to our addiction to fossil fuel and an embrace of God's gifts of the clean renewable energy of the sun, the wind and geothermal energy -- along with the green jobs created by this strategy. Believers and all people of good will expect that candidates in the upcoming elections will include what is undoubtedly the greatest spiritual and moral issue of our time. This vision recognizes that the poor and people of color are most vulnerable to climate disasters.

As Jesus once drove the money changers out of the temple and the prophet Jeremiah preached his fiery message of repentance from injustice, IMAC is calling on national decision makers to change their moral and political direction while there is still time. The timing of these events is a deliberate response to the diminished awareness and interest in the issue by the government, the public and much of the media -- all colored by the millions of dollars the fossil fuel industry is pouring into the debate.

Filled with hope, IMAC delegates will present their legislators with the moral challenge to awaken to the climate crisis with concrete legislation and other actions now. They will be carrying report cards marked with a red "F" -- a reflection of Congress's overwhelming failure to address the climate crisis.

The science shows that we are at a tipping point: intolerable temperatures and melting glaciers exist against the backdrop of a dwindling oil supply. This moment is similarly a moral tipping point in which decision makers in the Congress and White House, pressured by popular outcry, can still change the direction of our nation. We will assure that our collective voices will rise up from gatherings in houses of worship across the land and from the hearts of people of goodwill everywhere.

Father Paul Mayer is a theologian, writer and co-founder of IMAC.