Guest editorial: My religious beliefs embrace care for our planet
I am grateful that leaders such as Congressman John Curtis are thinking outside the political box and working on real and bipartisan climate solutions
We are blessed to begin the year with much snow, but sadly, we are reaping another despair caused by massive storms and flooding in California. Like our congressional delegation and many state and local politicians, I am religious. But as a believer, I remain confused about how some national leaders use their religion to deny the reality of human-caused climate change and therefore rebuff any need to care for our planet.
Core to Judeo-Christian and many world religions is selfless devotion to God and loving our neighbors. Jesus refers to these tenets as the “Two Greatest Commandments.” And one precept central to the second charge and found in virtually every faith is the “Golden Rule,” meaning, treat others as you would like others to treat you.
Part of loving God, or the Creator of everything, is to return that love by caring for God’s creations — such a simple concept. And believers must know there could be some reckoning for treating or objectifying our planet and its people as disposable property. Even non-believers should understand that there are consequences to our actions as we already suffer the damage of a changing climate in our own backyards.
Our stewardship over God’s creation includes at its pinnacle a sacred duty to love, respect, and care for all human beings with whom we share the earth. We must not stand idly by as rising sea levels, floods, extreme storms, droughts, disease, wildfire, famine, and other deprivations jeopardize their homes, jobs, and lives. The poor will suffer the most, while many with means will easily buy their way out of the consequences for a time. And the religious nuance of this sinful dichotomy needs no explanation.
Knowing that our earth is living because it is home to the life that sustains all humanity can help us better find divine empathy for each other. And connecting as one, beyond partisan divides in such purpose, leads us to more focused action and a kinder, softer approach. I am grateful that leaders such as Congressman John Curtis are thinking outside the political box and working on real and bipartisan climate solutions.
Our devotion to spiritual intent in worldly issues helps us to find more love for God, each other, and our common home. This care begins by doing simple things, such as religiously recycling, restoring, repurposing, rebuilding, reusing, and reconnecting with nature. We can faithfully embrace clean renewables, waste less food, use less plastic, and conserve energy resources. We could eat better, share more, learn more, be grateful, and protect and conserve water by polluting less and planting more efficiently.
The sheer volume of science behind human-caused climate change is staggering. But the sheer volume of spiritual canon supporting care for all is even more immense. Learning to connect our God-given scientific minds and devout hearts is enlightening and brings lasting joy and peace. As believers, God has entrusted us to be stewards, caretakers, and guardians of his divine creation — to embrace care of our precious planet.
In the end, it is not so much the many or big things we do individually, but the smart, simple, and little things we do as many that can heal us and gift us with safe and healthy communities. So let us all — believers or non-believers — act on our sacred responsibility and deep sense of duty to care for our common home.
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