Monday, August 29, 2011

Religious Leaders Join the Protest Against Keystone XL Pipeline

On Monday August 28, more than 60 religious leaders risked arrest and joined NASA’s lead climate scientist Dr. James Hansen to make their voices heard in front of the White House. This is part of an ongoing protest to push President Obama to deny the permit for the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline. This pipeline would transport environmentally disastrous tar sands oil from Alberta all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico.

On Monday morning, participants led an interfaith prayer service starting at 9 a.m. in Lafayette Park and proclaim from scripture on the sacredness of God’s creation. The faith community has launched a petition asking President Obama to say “no” to the Keystone XL pipeline and “yes” to climate justice, a central moral tenet of religious social justice.

“The tar sands represent a catastrophic threat to our communities, our climate, and our planet,” reads the petition. The leaders urge the president to “stand by your religious tradition and your commitment to clear moral leadership on climate change by rejecting the requested permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and instead focus on developing safe, clean energy that manifests reverence for God and God's creation.”

At Monday's protest leading climate scientist Dr. James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City was joined by leaders of faith communities’ climate justice, environmental racism, and social witness ministries.

Other participants include Rose Berger, religious witness organizer for Sojourners; Marie Dennis, director of Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns; Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation; Bill McKibben, Methodist environmentalist, and protest organizer; Fr. Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, Franciscan priest and chair of the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Directorate for the Franciscans of the Holy Name Province; Rev. Craig C. Roshaven, Witness Ministries Director, Unitarian Universalist Association; Rev. Kathleen Stone, chaplain of the Church Center for the United Nations.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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