National 'Preach-in' Planned

Faith-Based Groups Hoping for Climate Change Valentine’s Day

Next month’s Valentine’s Day weekend will include an effort by faith groups to increase congregations’ awareness of climate concerns.

A  coalition of some 14,000 religious congregations plans to celebrate Valentine’s Day this February 10, 11, and 12 with strong messages of concern over climate change.

Interfaith Power and Light President Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham says “all major religions,” through clergy, lay members, or “caring individuals,” have responsibilities as faith leaders to “speak the truth” on climate science. She points to “the vast majority” of scientists expressing serious concerns about human-induced warming.

The San Francisco-based organization, representing a broad and diverse collection of faith groups, plans to provide resources for use in the “National Preach-in for Global Warming” — fact sheets and bulletin inserts, Valentine’s Day postcards for policymakers, a Preaching for the Planet 30-minute DVD, and a “Clean Air Promise Sign-up Sheet.” Those resources may also be made available online at the organization’s site.

Bingham says in a brief online video that the effort is designed to demonstrate the various denominations’ “Love of the Earth and all of God’s creations.” She says “people from all religions have a shared purpose in doing our part” about climate change.

The organization’s planning activities come at a time when voters in Republican presidential primary campaign states are hearing little or nothing from GOP candidates about climate change. All of the remaining major candidates — former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Texas Governor Rick Perry — have recently expressed strong reservations concerning the findings backed by most climate scientists.

In addition, Romney and Huntsman, both Mormons, are expected to face some religion-based criticisms from some as their campaigns move forward; Santorum and Gingrich, both Catholics, have made strong appeals to religious and evangelical elements of their political base while minimizing concerns over a warming climate; and evangelical Christian Perry has said he believes in “intelligent design” and, while campaigning in August 2011, said he finds major faults with climate scientists and their findings.

None of those candidates is likely to take much comfort from the “Preach-in” sermons and related activities as they prepare for early-March “Super Tuesday” votes.

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