CJM and NCC Lament Withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement

Creation Justice Ministries and the National Council of Churches join together in sorrow and lament at President Trump’s announcement that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.  We believe this withdrawal endangers a sustainable future, departs from the will of the whole world, and breaks the Great Commandment to love God and neighbor.

Over the past five decades, both climate science and theology have advanced. Many of the churches connected to the National Council of Churches and Creation Justice Ministries are repenting and moving away from “dominion theology,” a harmful belief system Christians have used to rationalize reckless consumption of God’s creation, as well as colonialism, genocide, and slavery.  

Today our churches and denominations are involved in countless efforts to conserve the gifts of God’s creation, teach children sustainable ways to live, shepherd communities dependent on fossil fuels toward new opportunities, and advocate for policies through which we care for creation. Christian communities are also serving on the front lines of responding to climate-related disasters: floods, droughts, famines, tornadoes, hurricanes, and the refugee resettlement that is too often related to climate displacement. Together, we have advocated for structural changes in our economy that will support a safer, more sustainable future.  

We are cognizant of the very real possibility that human action can destroy our way of life as we know it on this earth.  We are concerned for our own lives and the lives of our children, our grandchildren, and the creatures with which we share the planet — one in five of which is threatened or endangered. The governing boards of Creation Justice Ministries and the National Council of Churches recently met together in Norfolk, Virginia, where they witnessed with their own eyes the present and growing effects of rising sea levels due to climate change. Therefore we find it particularly frustrating that a president who was raised in churches associated with Creation Justice Ministries and the National Council of Churches has failed to grasp these realities and has acted to reverse the progress we have so painstakingly made.

The Paris Climate Agreement represents decades of work by committed Christians and other people of faith.  We recommit ourselves to preserving and building upon this work, even as President Trump seeks to dismantle it. We support those communities, states, corporations and churches which are committing to honor the promises of the Paris Climate Agreement.  

We call upon churches to continue to teach, practice, and encourage others to care for the God’s creation and work to reverse the devastating effects of climate change.  Many churches have made their sanctuaries carbon-neutral, and we challenge all congregations to find ways to use our ministry spaces and practices to lead by example. We stand in solidarity with coastal communities who are already suffering the effects of sea level rise. We commit to accompanying communities moving away from the fossil-fuel economy. We commit to walking with those who have lost generations-old, land-based livelihoods to climate disruption.  We commit to preserving the spirit of the Paris Agreement in our own lives and practices. We stand together in faith, affirming that “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it (Psalm 24:1, NRSV).”

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