NEWS from the National Council of Churches, USA
Contact NCC News Service: 212-870-2252  |  E-mail   |  Most Recent Stories   |  NCC Home

'What Car Do You Drive?' Is a Religious Question, Campaign Asserts

November 7, 2002, NEW YORK CITY -- This Saturday and Sunday (November 9 and 10) in 15 states, rabbis and pastors will be reconvening their flocks in their congregations’ parking lots after services to talk about how the cars they drive raise religious and moral questions. Their message: Driving cleaner cars is a powerful way for individuals to fulfill their stewardship of God's earth -- and to steer America clear of war in the Middle East.

This weekend’s Interfaith Climate and Energy Campaign is a national effort of the National Council of Churches (NCC) and the Coalition for the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) to educate congregants and encourage advocacy on climate change and energy issues. Interfaith Climate Change Campaigns in 15 states are organizing the November 9-10 events.

"We're taking our concern from the pews to the parking lot," said the Rev. Dr. Robert W. Edgar, NCC General Secretary. "The foreign oil that fuels our gas guzzling cars is polluting our environment and fueling the causes of war in the Middle East. It's time we recognized that the cars we build and drive are moral choices."

"We're telling our congregants to ask themselves: 'Is the car I own driving America to war?'" said Dr. Edgar. The NCC’s 36 Protestant, Orthodox, African American and Living Peace member churches comprise 50 million adherents in 140,000 congregations across the United States. "At the same time," he said, "we're also demanding that Detroit automakers meet us half way by building more fuel-efficient cars."

"Through this initiative, we seek to open a new conversation about cars and their impact upon God’s creation and God’s children on earth," said Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. At many weekend events, people will have opportunity to test-drive a brand new electric-hybrid car, on loan from a local car dealership. Each congregant will receive an information leaflet on the link between the cars they drive and the covenant between God and humanity.

25,000 congregations will be receiving sermon and study materials in follow up to this weekend’s events. On November 20, national religious leaders will convene in Detroit to deliver a letter, signed by religious figures from across the country, to Detroit's top automakers - Ford, GM and Chrysler. The letter lets the automakers know about the widespread efforts to educate congregants and urges the automakers to make cleaner cars.

Want more information? Contact Doug Grace with the Interfaith Climate and Energy Campaign;, and visit


About the National Council of Churches
NCC Home Page