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In Detroit, Senior Religious Leaders Demand Cleaner Cars;
Evangelicals Launch "What Would Jesus Drive?" Campaign

November 20, 2002, Detroit, Mich. - As American cars continue to get fewer miles per gallon, a delegation of American religious leaders - carrying an open letter from over 100 heads of denominations and senior religious leaders from 21 states to automobile executives - is in Detroit today to launch a major national effort to get Ford, GM, and Chrysler to build cleaner, more efficient cars.


Against a backdrop of controversy about Chevrolet's sponsorship of a Christian music tour, evangelical Christians are announcing a new, "What Would Jesus Drive?" advertising and outreach campaign. The delegation is meeting with auto executives and leadership at the United Auto Workers.


The interfaith campaign, which began in pews in 20 states on November 10th, represents an unprecedented effort in the religious community to push automakers to manufacture cleaner cars and members of tens of thousands of congregations to buy them. The campaign and open letter argue that polluting cars are "warming the planet, contributing to causes of war, and increasing the burden on the poor…Because automobiles are having such extraordinary global impact, choices about what cars to build raise fundamental moral issues."


Speakers at this morning's event in Detroit were to include: Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches; David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Ron Sider, Evangelical Environmental Network; Paul Gorman, National Religious Partnership for the Environment, and Sister Nancy Sylvester, Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.


Speakers were to arrive in front of General Motors headquarters in downtown Detroit riding in a convoy of fuel-efficient vehicles owned and driven by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary from Monroe, Mich. Written on the hood, back, top and sides of each of the electric-hybrid cars was to be one word in the phrase, "What Would Jesus Drive?" publicizing the Evangelical campaign.


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