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Faith groups lobby for 'creation care,' otherwise known as climate change legislation

October 8, 2009 |  8:38 am

It may make for strange bedfellows, but religious groups are marshaling a nationwide campaign to support legislation to combat global warming, a bill that many of their fellow conservatives vehemently oppose.

A group of Orthodox Jews pushed the issue during their annual lobbying effort at the White House and on the Hill last month, stressing that U.S. reliance on Arab oil endangers Israel but also pushing the Bible's instruction to tend the garden. Pope Benedict XVI has joined the environmental bandwagon, earning the nickname "the green Pope" for proclamations like his recent, "The environment is God's gift to everyone."

Today, a group called Faithful America launched a grassroots campaign, complete with petitions and the video below, urging Congress to "support a climate bill that addresses the root causes of climate change and makes needed investments in vulnerable communities already experiencing its devastating effects."

The campaign's title, Day Six, is a reference to the creation story in Genesis, when God made human beings stewards of creation. "On the sixth day, we were made in God's image and given responsibility to care for the earth and each other," says the group's website. "Today, we must fulfill that charge."

For 30 years, evangelical conservatives dominated Republican politics, earning them the sobriquet the Religious Right. Now, environmentally conscious people of faith are testing the waters.

In June, they helped push a cap-and-trade bill through the House. With the healthcare debate and Afghanistan consuming the Senate and with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launching an assault on the bill, and suffering defections from green companies, the bill's supporters are hoping the religious enviros can make the difference again.

"The work first emerged among mainline Protestant and liberal Jews and Catholics," the Rev. Fletcher Harper, executive director of GreenFaith, told U.S. News & World Report. "They were looking to reassert a religious voice for the common good and social justice after 30 years of a conservative evangelical take on public issues."

-- Johanna Neuman

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