by Greg Bourget
"Hurt not the earth, neither the seas nor the trees..." (Rev. 7:3)
On June 29, 1999, a letter urging the president to protect our last ancient forests was signed by over 400 religious leaders. Each was a representative of their church or faith-based organization. Below is an excerpt from their letter to President Clinton urging him to protect the remaining 58 million acres of roadless areas in the US. (On January 5, 2000, Clinton approved the plan, signing regulations to ban road-building and most logging in almost a third of the federal forest land in 38 states.)
"'Then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy before the Lord.'" (Psalm 96:10-13)
"...we value these untouched forests not only for the vital ecological functions they provide, but also because they so clearly reflect our Creator's handiwork. They reflect God's majesty, power, and beauty in a unique way, as do all of the amazing variety of creatures they shelter. Forests are like a temple constructed by God, where we can worship and draw close by marveling at God's endless wisdom and creativity: 'How many are your works, O Lord, in wisdom You have made them all.'" (Psalm 104:24).
"The Scriptures make clear that protecting God's forests, and the many aspects of creation they embody and protect, is not merely sound policy but holy obligation. The Scriptures tell us that the earth does not belong to us, but to God, and that we are the tenants charged with its care. God instructed the Israelites, 'The land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants,' (Leviticus 25:23), and the psalmist declares, 'The Earth is the Lord's and all that is in it.'" (Psalm 24:1-2).
"Indeed, the first commandments that were given to humankind according to the Scriptures were to take proper care of the Earth and 'till and keep' the garden (Genesis 1:28, 2:15). In the Jewish tradition, God instructed the first humans, 'See to it that you do not pollute or destroy My world, for if you do, there will be no one else to repair it.' (Midrash Ecclesiastes Rabbah on 7:13)."
www.umc-gbcs.org/religio1.htm has the complete letter and list of signatories.
Contacts for faith-based protection of the forest and the environment include:
Publishers of Religion and the Forests magazine, The Religious Campaign for Forest Conservation, 409 Mendocino Avenue, Suite A, Santa Rosa, CA 95401-8513, (707) 573-3162
Christian Environmental Association, publishers of Target Earth magazine, CEAMAIL@aol.com, 1650 Zanker Road, Suite 150, San Jose, CA 95112, 408-441-1571
Copyright Mendocino Environmental Center 2001
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