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Replies to the “Evangelical Call to Action”

Replies to the “Evangelical Call to Action”

From Rabbi Mark Winer


People of all faiths and people of none should rejoice in the “Evangelical Call to Action” by this “Who’s who in Evangelical Christianity.” While the signatories do not include every significant evangelical leader in the US, the 300 who have signed are broad-based enough to say that most of the Evangelical Christian establishment support the core commitments of “We Consume too Much.”

If our principles have any serious hope of achieving widespread acceptance in the population, it is essential that the environmental movement not be viewed as an initiative by liberals and progressives alone. Although I am a congenitally progressive religious liberal – and get more so with age – I have always recognized how limited my constituency of potential congregants. We liberals represent at most 20% of the population. However correct we may be in our opinions, nothing ever becomes “law” or “accepted wisdom” unless we can get major segments of the right and middle to join us. “Mainline” Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists have across the board endorsed our principles for many years. Only Evangelical Christians have been slow coming to the table, as they acknowledge in their statement. The “Evangelical Call to Action” represents a full conversion to our principles. It can now be safely said that every significant segment of the American religious spectrum endorses our principles. Halleluyah! Praise the Lord!

From virtually every religious perspective in American society, God has entrusted humanity with a precious legacy, the world in which we live. Gift that it is, God will not prevent us from destroying the legacy, any more than God prevented the Holocaust or intervenes to prevent illness or genocide. Many of us might like God to intervene, but Biblical theology would view such intervention as a violation of God’s grant of “free will” as a part of human nature. So it is up to us to be God’s partners, both in Creation, and in preserving our precious legacies, our sacred earth and the humanity of which we are a part.


*Mark L. Winer is President of FAITH: the Foundation to Advance Interfaith Trust and Harmony, Chairman of the International Interfaith Task Force of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, and Senior Scholar of the West London Synagogue.

Response from Rev. Dr. Daniel Kanter

Some evangelicals have been working on environmental issues for a long time. The Evangelical Environmental Network was founded in 1993. Others expressed serious concerns in the late 1980’s about genetic engineering of our food source and crops as interruptions in ‘God’s creation.’ This statement broadens the scope of this work in meaningful ways. The bottom line they are understanding today is that ‘creation’ is ours to protect and not ‘dominion.’ When we can get all people of faith to embrace the message of environmental action and sustainability as a responsibility of all humanity we will have made a major step forward. Today we are seeing the steps we all need to take become a reality.

* Rev. Dr. Daniel Chesney Kanter  is the Senior Minister of the First Unitarian Church of Dallas.




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