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Ads Call On Leaders to Make Environmental Protection “A Moral Priority”
Prayer Petition Asks Politicians to Do a Better Job ‘Tending God’s Garden’

October 7, 2004, Washington, D.C. -- In an ad placed in newspapers across the country today, the National Council of Churches USA (NCC) is asking people of faith to pray that their political leaders do a better job protecting the environment and to sign a prayer petition asking political candidates to make environmental issues a priority.

“WANTED: Political Leaders to Tend God’s Garden” says the headline of the ad, appearing in newspapers in five states and the District of Columbia: the Madison, Wis., Capital Times and Wisconsin State Journal; Milwaukee, Wis., Journal Sentinel; Portland, Ore., Oregonian; Sante Fe, N.M., New Mexican; Albuquerque, N.M., Journal and Tribune; Charleston, W.Va., Gazette Mail; Wheeling, W.Va., Intelligencer and News-Register; Minneapolis, Minn., Star Tribune, and Roll Call, Washington, D.C.

“Protecting God’s Earth is a uniting call among our churches and politicians need to address the concern we have for God’s glorious creation,” says the Rev. Dr. Robert W. Edgar, General Secretary of the NCC, which is the nation’s largest ecumenical body with 36 member churches that count 45 million adherents in 100,000 local churches nationwide. “We are calling on all candidates and political leaders to make caring for creation a top priority.”

The ads, according to Rev. Edgar, were created in response to growing environmental degradation and a lack of political action to protect the environment. Petition signers ask candidates to consider environmental issues such as air and water pollution, climate change, forest protection, and biodiversity. According to the prayer petition, “during this season of change, we pray that our elected political servants will heed God’s call to preserve and protect God’s creation.”

The American religious community has increasingly played a prominent national role on environmental issues by calling for moral leadership from policymakers. To date, hundreds of religious leaders have spoken out on issues such as climate change, forest protection, and energy efficiency.

Recently, 100 Christian leaders chastised President Bush’s air pollution policy, and, in an unprecedented alliance, prominent religious leaders from a broad range of religious beliefs joined forces with eminent scientists to issue a call for action on global warming.

“God asked us to tend the garden and to leave God’s creation whole and healthy for generations to come,” says Cassandra Carmichael, the NCC’s eco-justice program director. “We need political leaders who will honor God’s command and commit to being better stewards of our air, water, wild lands and wildlife.”

In addition to calling on political leaders to make God’s creation a priority, the ad also asks people of faith to commit to take action to “protect God’s good earth.” The prayer petition and downloadable copies of the ad are available on the NCC’s environmental ministry website, www.nccecojustice.org

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