Jerusalem Religious Leaders on Environment
Adelie penguins walk on the ice at Cape Denison in Antarctica in this 2009 file photo. Religious leaders have urged people to take their faith-based commitment to the stewardship of God’s creation to the U.N. Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil 20-22 June. (photo: CNS/Paukine Askin, Reuters)
22 Mar 2012 by Judith Sudilovsky
JERUSALEM (CNS) — Religious leaders in
Jerusalem urged peoples of all denominations to take their
faith-based commitment to the stewardship of Gods
creation to the U.N. Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable
Development in Brazil June 20-22.
We need to bring an invitation for all religious
leaders from all faiths to speak publicly, with
determination, so that we turn religion into a part of the solution rather than ... risking more and more becoming part of the problem, Melkite Archbishop Elias Chacour of Haifa told Catholic News Service at the March 19 Interfaith Climate and Energy Conference coordinated by the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development.
People have an immense power to respect the
beauty of nature through the expression of their faith,
Archbishop Chacour said, and by using this faith they can
work toward forming an alliance with others to protect the
earth and its natural resources.
I dont (care) if others believe in what I believe in ... but I would like them to consider my positive attitude toward creation. When God created not only the planet but the entire cosmos, he said, ‘This is very good. He created man and woman both in his likeness, and he commissioned them to go and care for the world as if he is saying to them: ‘You be my place-taker, the archbishop said.
For me as a Christian the environment is not a modern topic, it is one of the most ancient topics on earth, he added.
If read attentively, Christian theology and
philosophy can be used to lead the faithful toward a
positive attitude not only for their environment, but also
for the entire cosmos, he said.
This is a starting point, he said. And this will be reflected around us, in our homes and in our societies.
Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III noted that religious leaders not only can influence the faithful in their communities but also all aspects of political life.
There are people who hold (political) positions
who are believers and do follow instructions from their religious leadership, he said. There must be harmony between humanity and creation.
On a more practical level, said Rabbi Yonathan
Neril, founder and director of the Interfaith Center for
Sustainable Development, religious leaders and
institutions have the potential to mobilize billions of
followers in the global struggle to curb climate change and
achieve sustainable development, not only through their
congregation but also through their educational
Religious leaders are some of the most influential
leaders in the world at the grass-roots level ... part of their work is to leverage their moral authority of world
religious leadership to promote a more sustainable planet, said Neril.
Tags: Middle East Christians Jerusalem Interreligious United States Sustainable Development