Press Release from Florida Council of Churches and Defending Creation
MIAMI, FL - Nineteen bishops issued a public statement this week criticizing the Bush administration’s environmental policies and calling upon Christians to “demonstrate our love of God and neighbor by choosing leaders who will tend God’s creation like a garden, for the poor and the humble, our children, and the sanctity of life.” The distinguished list of signatories includes Episcopal, Lutheran and Methodist bishops from 14 states, including three bishops from Florida.
"We who are Christians believe that the living God created out of nothing the whole universe and this good earth,” said Bishop Tim Whitaker, Florida Area Resident Bishop, United Methodist Church. “We have been made by God to be a part of the creation and to care for the creation. Caring for the creation is more than a feeling; it is a commitment to making serious choices about complex matters. The way we care for the creation is one of the most important aspects of our life of faith in the God who is revealed in Jesus Christ our Sovereign and Savior."
The bishops list a number of actions by the Bush administration that have negatively impacted human health, including allowing increased discharges from factories and sewage plants, allowing mine waste to be dumped into rivers and allowing nuclear waste to be stored in areas deemed unsafe by the Department of Energy. Special attention is given to the issue of mercury poisoning. The statement cites a report by scientists of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), estimating that one out of six U.S. women of childbearing age has unsafe levels of mercury in her blood, and that as many as 630,000 newborn children every year are at risk of having brain damage, mental retardation, blindness, seizures, and speech impediments. The bishops cite EPA officials who state that new Administration rules will likely "eviscerate" the EPA’s program to control air pollution altogether.
Volunteers from Defending Creation, a faith-based organization that educates about human suffering arising from abuse of creation, circulated the statement among the bishops. To learn more about Defending Creation and to view a full copy of the bishops’ statement, visit: www.interdependence.us