A PRAY-INFORTHECLIMATE We are facing a Climate Cliff, and we are calling upon religious and spiritual leaders, other believers and all people of good will to join us to address its danger by participating in “A Pray-in for the Climate” in front of the White House.
Superstorm Sandy, the drastic droughts in our corn country, record-breaking Arctic ice melt, and unheard-of floods in Vermont, let alone disasters in Australia, Russia, Pakistan and Africa, all warn us: the disruption of our planet will not wait for our “normal” political paralysis to end.
We are inspired by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King ,Jr.,whose 84th birthday we celebrate on Jan.15.: We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now….Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words :’Too late’.”
If we go over the Climate Cliff now, our grandchildren will live in misery and suffering.
Fifty years ago, our country faced a crisis of racial inequality in the USA that was a basic threat to justice and democracy. Religious communities and others acted, and we made a difference.
Today’s deepest crisis is the danger facing the web of life upon our planet, including the human race, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.
Out of our moral commitment to protect and heal God’s Creation, our religious communities need to be calling for a set of first-step changes that will sow the seeds of greater change, by committing the President and Congress to vigorous action. And we should pose those demands in such a way that we are addressing not only our government, but religious communities throughout the country.
What can we do? When can we take the next careful steps back from the Cliff? One time and place will be mid-day on Tuesday, January 15, in front of the White House. Interfaith Moral Action on Climate (IMAC) is planning “A Pray-in for the Climate.”
IMAC is a collaborative initiative of religious leaders, groups and individuals that came together in 2011 in response to the pressing need for more visible, unified, prophetic action to address the climate crisis. As people of faith and spirituality, we feel compelled by our traditions and collective conscience to take action on this deeply moral challenge.
January 15 is close enough to Inauguration Day (January 21) to make the connection with what the President should he doing in his second term, and far enough away that the action won’t drown in the media swamp.
And it is the actual birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The action will be carried out in the spirit of his work. We will gather at 11 am at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church a few blocks from the White House. At noon we will walk there in a religious procession and join our voices in a prayerful vigil. We will be praying that President Obama, as well as all of us, find the strength and wisdom to lead our country and world away from the Climate Cliff. Some participants may feel called to risk arrest by nonviolently disregarding the conventional regulations and assuming positions of prayer at the area near the White House fence.
We expect to be joined by survivors of Superstorm Sandy and their religious leaders from communities like the Rockaways and Staten Island in New York.
What will we be urging that the President do, to meet the needs of this critical hour in planetary time?
1. Permanently refuse permits for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, because tar-oil is among the most dangerous of the planet-heating forms of carbon.
2. Call a National Summit Conference on the Climate Crisis that includes leaders of business, labor, academia, religious communities, governmental officialdom, science, and other relevant bodies.
3. Publicly support and advocate for a carbon fee that will generate hundreds of billions of dollars, with provisions to make sure that working families and the poor are not damaged by higher carbon prices; for an end to subsidies to the coal, oil and gas industries; and for substantial subsidies for research, development, and use of renewable, sustainable and jobs-creating clean energy sources.
We invite and urge you to join us on January 15 at the White House.
To our President and Congress we address the prophetic words of Dr. King spoken at another moment of crisis: “This is a time to break the silence!”
We look forward to hearing your thoughts about this action.
With blessings of shalom, salaam, pax, paz, peace — The IMAC Steering Committee
Rev. Tom Carr, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Hartford, CT; co-founder of Interreligious Eco Justice Network, CT. Reverend Terence Ellen,Executive Director, Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice in the National Capital Region Ted Glick, Chesapeake Climate Action Network Cynthia Harris, IMAC Dr. Mark Johnson, Fellowship of Reconciliation Fr. Paul Mayer, Climate Crisis Coalition Jacqueline Patterson, Director, NAACP Climate Justice Initiative Ibrahim Ramey, Muslim American Freedom Society Karen Scott, Center for Liberty of Conscience Lise Van Susteren, MD, Center for Health and the Global Environment, NWF Rabbi Arthur Waskow, The Shalom Center, Philadelphia, Pa.
Make a recurring donation and receive Freedom Journeys as our token of appreciation. Click here for more info about the book. Freedom Journeys is a deep meditation on the timeless—and timely—relevance of the Exodus narrative. In the grand tradition of mystical exegesis, Waskow and Berman reflect upon Exodus not only as an event that happened “then” and “there”, but a paradigm of movement that is happening here and in the now, for all of us, Jew and Muslim, Black and White, male and female. —Omid Safi, professor of Islamic studies, University of North Carolina.