In a somewhat surprising development, given the secular world's decision to use climate change as a political "sorting hat" of people into camps of good and bad party members, the religious community seems to have found broad based agreement and is now working in concert to lobby in Washington.
"As environmental interests begin pressing the Senate to pass major climate legislation before next year's midterm elections, groups and activists from across the spectrum of American religious traditions have emerged as an integral part of the effort. Some denominations and faith-based organizations are planning grass-roots campaigns around the bill for this fall. The White House's faith-based advisory council has convened a climate change task force. And Pope Benedict XVI's environmental proclamations, including writing recently that 'the environment is God's gift to everyone,' have earned him the nickname the 'green pope.'
At a time when many senators are skittish about adopting the House climate bill's cap-and-trade provision because of fears it could further slow the economy, religious activists may prove crucial to building support, or at least dampening opposition, among important religious constituencies. Religious conservatives, for instance, generally oppose more government regulation. And many African-Americans, among the most religious demographic groups in the country, worry about cap-and-trade's impact on manufacturing jobs. Faith-based environmentalists have responded to such doubts with a moral case that climate change will disproportionally affect the world's poor by causing food shortages, drought, and coastal flooding. 'The faith community talks about climate legislation differently than scientists or environmentalists,' says Cassandra Carmichael, director of the Washington office of the National Council of Churches. 'We frame it in terms of the people impacted, which can bring in legislators who hadn't thought in those terms.'"
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