Coalition of Episcopal bishops issue statement in response to Trump’s executive order on climate change

[Episcopal News Service] President Donald Trump on March 28 signed an executive order instructing regulators to rewrite rules aimed at curbing carbon emissions and other environmental regulations at the center of the previous administration’s policies to combat global warming.

 A coalition of Episcopal bishops who have worked on environmental issues immediately issued a statement in response to Trump’s executive order.  

“We know there is widespread support for the environment protections and measures that seek to curb climate change across the House of Bishops and in dioceses and congregations across the Church,” said California Bishop Marc Andrus, who drafted the statement.

Bishops from across the Episcopal Church have continued to sign on. 

The full statement follows.


We live in a time of unprecedented global change spanning scientific discovery, technological innovation, and human development. This extraordinary moment offers an equally unprecedented opportunity to leverage our abundant resources for positive and scalable societal impact. As bishops of the Episcopal Church, we believe that climate change menaces the lifeblood of our economy, our national security, and the very future of humanity and that of many other species, and the United States of America must rise to the occasion to confront this enormous threat, assuming a leadership role in partnership with the community of nations. We consider this a matter of profound spiritual importance and a manifestation of our call to be stewards of God’s creation. 

We are faith leaders who believe in the scientific community’s overwhelming finding that climate change is real, human-caused, and undeniably destructive to human society and the priceless ecology of our planet. To effectively address this threat, Americans must act at local, state, national, and international levels to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and support communities impacted by climate change. Since its founding, our great nation has rigorously strived to craft policy based on the best available science of our time. The Trump Administration’s unique departure from this tradition, through the rolling back of critical climate change policy, endangers the lives of American citizens everywhere.

Climate change mitigation and economic productivity are mutually supported, interconnected goals, and by drastically curtailing our work on climate mitigation, President Trump’s Executive Order on Climate Change leaves America vulnerable to national security, economic, and environmental threats. As we witness the detrimental effects of climate change on national infrastructure, financial productivity, and global stability, we also recognize the inherent economic potential of clean and renewable energy technologies. International economic competitors like China are already seizing proven investments and energy development opportunities in wind and solar to challenge American energy production. Now is the time to look forward –not back –and channel the spirit of American enterprise to mitigate climate change while adopting and developing technologies that harness and sustain God’s creation.

We live in a moment that demands urgent action. In the Episcopal Church alone, our members are already experiencing hunger, drought, and human loss due to climate change. From the Alaska Native Gwich’in hunter facing food insecurity as winter approaches to the Navajo grandmother praying for drought relief, Episcopalians are eager to confront our changing climate through local action and national policy.

While Obama-era policies can be improved under our current Administration, rolling back environmental safeguards without replacing them with strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions further exacerbates climate change’s impacts. As Episcopal bishops, we call on the Trump Administration to protect the American people through implementing, strengthening, and improving critical climate change policies in our national agenda, building an American dream that courageously confronts the climate crisis. As former Secretary of State and Episcopalian George Shultz said in November of 2016, we must act on climate change “for our children and our grandchildren,” for the generations who come after us on the Earth.

The Rt. Rev. Marc H. Andrus
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Douglas John Fisher
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts

The Rt. Rev. A. Robert Hirschfeld
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire

The Rt. Rev. Gregory Rickel
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia

The Rt. Rev. Mark M. Beckwith
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark

The Rt. Rev. Bud Cederholm
Retired Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts

The Rt. Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Islan

The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff
Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia

The Rt. Rev Prince G. Singh
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester

The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts

The Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Ely
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont

The Rt. Rev. David C. Rice
Provisional Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin

The Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego

The Rt. Rev Dan Edwards
Bishop of Nevada

The Rt. Rev. Mark A. Lattime
Bishop of Alaska

The Rt. Rev. Whayne M. Hougland Jr.
Bishop of Western Michigan

The Rt. Rev. Barry Beisner
Bishop of Northern California

The Rt. Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves
Bishop of El Camino Real

The Rt. Rev. DeDe Duncan-Probe
Bishop of Central New York

The Rt. Rev. Stephen Lane
Bishop of Maine

The Rt. Rev. Bavi E. Rivera
Retired Bishop of Eastern Oregon

The Rt. Rev. Andrew M. L. Dietsche
Bishop of New York

The Rt. Rev. Bishop Mary D. Glasspool
Assistant Bishop of New York

The Rt. Rev. Allen K. Shin
Bishop Suffragan of New York

The Rt. Rev. Thomas E. Breidenthal
Bishop of Southern Ohio

The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde
Bishop of Washington

The Rt. Rev R. William Franklin
Bishop of Western New York

The Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston
Bishop of Virginia

Comments

  1. Donna Gooch says:

    Thank you, Bishop Marc! We must stand figether to solidify our protection of our natural resources caused by climate change!

  2. Nancy S Mahoney says:

    This is good and where are the rest of the Bishops??

  3. Wm. Thomas Martin says:

    Yes, I hope very much that all our bishops will join in signing this statement. The issue of Climate Change is critical, and at the heart of our response is our stewardship for this our island home.

  4. Lisa Ann Mauro says:

    When will the Church stay out of politics – never, I guess. Therefore they will lose half its’ population.

    • Susan Russell says:

      Grateful for leadership in living out our commitment to be stewards of creation.

    • Cynthia Sosnowski says:

      To advocate for the just use and care of God’s creation is not politics, Susan, it is our responsibility as followers of Jesus.

    • Chip Mills says:

      What is the Gospel if not politics?

    • The Rev Chris Plantz says:

      Jesus was political and calls us to be. Grateful to our bishops.

    • Rebecca Rea says:

      I don’t think of this as politics. I think of it as following God’s desire that we be good stewards of the earth.

    • The Rev Todd DeLaney says:

      Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth, you made us fellow workers in your creation: Give us wisdom and reverence so to use the resources of nature, that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (BCP – 827)

      It seems to me that safeguarding this planet that God has made us caretakers of far transcends politics. This is speaking truth to power. If we don’t do it, no one will.

      • Heather Titrington says:

        Thank you to the bishops who wrote and signed this statement, affirming that we as God’s people are called to be good stewards of the earth. This imperative transcends politics.

    • Bruce Garner says:

      As is often the case, this is not politics, it is our lives….or the lives of those who come after us.

    • W. Charles Paul says:

      At the Eucharist, every Sunday, my parish proclaims:

      We believe in one God,
      the Father, the Almighty,
      maker of heaven and earth,

      How can we say that this is God’s creation if we are unwilling to be good stewards of what he has given us? There is a maxim in the Law that “Silence gives consent.” We cannot allow greed and selfishness to drive this country’s policies. The Church MUST speak out when the Nation is headed in the wrong direction.

      Much was made of religion in the last election cycle. “In God we trust?” We must not let that god be the currency on which that slogan is printed. I applaud our church’s Bishops who have all ready spoken out, and I pray that God will continue to empower them as they engaged in the prophetic ministry to which they are called.

    • Wink McKinnon says:

      Agree!

    • Alan Jackson says:

      This is not politics. The only political piece of this is the denial of the reality of human-induced global warming. It is a scientific fact.

    • Donald Roberts says:

      This should not be a political issue. It is a moral issue. If we believe that God made heaven and Earth, we should honor this creation by leaving it to future generations as good as it was given to us. Humankind may do evil or good. I applaud those bishops who call us to love God’s creation and speak out against those who would diminish and destroy this creation for the accumulation of wealth and power.

    • Patricia Gaddis Brandon says:

      I agree!!! The Episcopal Church is positioning itself to adopt a very liberal/left political mindset. And I’m tired off it, as are other Episcopalians. We’re being made to feel like we are wrong for thinking any other way. Please stop. What happened to the Via Media, the Gospel? Strip telling me how to vote or that I’m out of line if my views don’t Aline completely with yours. I hope the rest of our bishops have a better grasp of our mission , as Christians, and to refrain from the political fray.

    • Jesus’ audience was primarily the poor, whom he fed, taught, and comforted. He attacked the hierarchy of the temple, the Pharisees and the like, for commercialism, hypocrisy, self-indulgence, and valuing trivialities of law over compassion and healing. He created a ministry of social justice and stood in silent defiance before the powers of the oppressive Rome. Crucifixion was a death reserved exclusively for subversives, enemies of the state. You can’t follow Jesus and safely avoid politics.

    • Robyn Merschen says:

      Climate Change is NOT a political issue. Climate Change is a humanity reality issue! Humanity has and continues to cause adverse Climate Change. Only Humanity can take a stand and cause positive changes. Religion doesn’t matter. When we have destroyed the earth, all of Humanity will suffer, regardless of religious beliefs. If the Church wants to take a stand against destruction of this planet, and the stand happens to be against a political figure or policy, then I say “Thank God”! Thank God our Holy Father has given courage to anyone that wishes to speak against what is just plain WRONG!!!!! Thank You Bishops! Where are the other Bishops???? If you are concerned enough about me to fight for my soul, please consider fighting for the lives & souls of those who will try and carry on after we are gone!!!!!

    • Deb Bickford says:

      Protecting our environment should not be a political agenda. It should be part of a Christian’s duty as a steward of nature.

  5. Jim Wiant says:

    Climate change is not about politics, it’s about our responsibility to care of the world we are blessed to inhabit

  6. Virginia Julian says:

    Thank you! To ignore climate change and the EPA’s importance is morally wrong. To me it shows that our new so called leadership is only focusing on right now and wealth. We all have been entrusted to take care of our earthly home for now and our future generations; NOT to be stewards of immediate gain and wealth to a select few with no reverence to our land and people’s hopes for their children and future generations!
    Thank you!

  7. Will you let us know as other Bishops join this statement?

  8. Cameron Partridge says:

    Thank you for writing and sharing this powerful, timely statement!

  9. Lynn Schambach says:

    Two recent quotes I’ve read: “We must finally stop appealing to theology to justify our reserved silence about what the sate is doing – for that is nothing but fear.” AND “The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world it leaves to its children,” Dietrich Bonhoeffer – German Lutheran Pastor.

    Thank God for the Bishop’s who have signed this Statement! May the Episcopal Church grow to become an intentional Leader in the call to action against climate change!

  10. Steve Teague says:

    Thank you Bishops who have signed so far, and others who will, for providing leadership in this moment, and for churches that teach some of simple changes in their corporate life, and in the lives of their members, to heal and sustain creation from the damage humans keep causing. This is discipleship, not politics.

  11. Debbie Wollard says:

    Thank you for speaking out and speaking up! I appreciate and agree with your courageous remarks – that are far sighted and loving.

  12. Judy Boyles says:

    Americans have been given much and much is required now. We must protect the sacredness of our earth so that all water is clean, all air is breathable, all rivers flow without trash and debris. The oceans alone must be protected from our trash islands and refuse. The living things in the ocean depend on us doing so. We can’t assume that someone else will do this. People were given dominion over the earth. That implies accountability for generations to come. We need the EPA.

  13. Rosemary Bagin says:

    Where is the Bishop of the Diocese of Missouri’s signature? The Rt. Rev George Wayne Smith

  14. Wendy Tobias says:

    This is a non-partisan issue. Regardless of party (or lack thereof), we must speak up for safeguarding Creation! The science is indisputable. Has nothing to do with left or right or anyone telling anyone how they should vote. We destroy Creation… we destroy ourselves! Thank you, Bishops for speaking up and taking a stand about this vital issue!

    • John Baudhuin says:

      Like Rev. Tobias’ words. Pope Francis has spoken and written about this in similar tones, as have leaders of other denominations and religions. Science is the friend, not the enemy of faith. Regarding Creation itself, science simply gives us more details about how God did it!

  15. David Horwath says:

    This is another example of why the Episcopal Church is losing membership. A group of Northeast and California Bishops telling the rest of us how to think. The ghosts of Pope Paul V, Pope Urban VIII and George Orwell must be smiling.

  16. Mick Vision says:

    It’s’ time for the Episcopal Church to start paying taxes if they desire to be a Political force.

  17. Bill Louis says:

    Well, I guess the moderator didn’t like my comment. I would like to know which part he/she didn’t like. Although it was strongly worded, I don’t believe it was disrespectful, My post attempted to expose the large amount of Left leaning activism the Episcopal Church is involved in using this letter as an example. The issue that disturbs me the most is with how the Church leadership uses money that ALL of us contribute to employ staff and leadership who’s job is to promote a left leaning agenda. (Perhaps it was the part about the 10% raise the Convention voted to give the EDUSA staff.) Evidently it doesn’t bother many of you from the comments I’ve read on this story. My message to the Episcopal CHurch leadership is continue down the path you are following and those od us that don’t like it will leave and take our support elsewhere.

  18. Deane Keathley says:

    I am so proud of my church. Thank you, Bishops, for taking a stand and doing the right thing for the beautiful earth that God gave us. Be Blessed.

  19. Karla Evans says:

    Padre mark THANK YOU and bless you

  20. Dale Schreck says:

    Look at the earth’s temperature range for the last 4000 years and discover it warms and cools. Not sure that humans are causing it. Two warmer times than now were in 1100 BC and 1300 AD. There was a little ice age in 1600 AD. Read the papers in the late 1970s and we were entering another “ice age” . Hardly the truth. Before the bishops make statements they need to study the earth temperature range. Maybe God warms and cools it through natural conditions. Yes, humans may add to it, but with the current population, it will not change. Man has adapted in the past to climate change. Being able to run ships through the Arctic Ocean may be a benefit for all people.

    • Carole Hom says:

      Yes, the earth has warmed and cooled in the past. But not at the rate at which it’s warmed currently. This graphic puts global average temperature in the context of human history.
      https://xkcd.com/1732/

      Scientists in the late 1970’s may have thought that global temperatures were dropping but they also thought that we were a long way from sequencing entire genomes of organisms. We have better methods and new information now.

      Running ships through the Arctic Ocean may benefit some folks, but it will be tough on people who live in coastal regions, both on continents and especially on island nations. For a US-centric view, see https://coast.noaa.gov/slr/beta/#/splash

  21. Terry Francis says:

    Same progressive mind-set, different issue. Susan Morse says you can’t be followers of Jesus without avoiding politics. The question Susan, is which kind of politics? The progressive/ leftward variety that people like yourself approve of? Or the conservative variety that people like yourself look down on and condemn? Rev Plantz says Jesus was political and Chris Mills says what is the Gospel if not political but again, what kind of politics are we talking about? Jerry Falwell (yes, THAT Jerry Falwell) was political but I don’t think you’ll find any Episcopalians as card-carrying members of the Moral Majority, including myself. Pat Robertson is political, even ran for president once but you’ll see few if any Episcopalians who are supporters of the 700 Club. So again, whose politics are the “correct” politics in the eyes of God? Just asking. And this is absolutely a political issue in addition to being an issue of morality and responsibility. If the people who are against climate change policy can be accused of engaging in politics, so can the ones who are for it. As for being stewards of God’s creation, progressives in TEC don’t seem to have much concern over other parts of God’s creation such as the unborn. Kind of unlikely any coalition of bishops will have a joint statement concerning abortion anytime soon. I can just see progressives who read this rolling their eyes in disgust so before anyone accuses me of totally getting away from the subject at hand, I’m not. I’m simply illustrating how creative leftward-leaning members of this church are at selective outrage on issues like this.

  22. Terry Francis says:

    It appears I accidently misquoted Susan Morse. She said you can’t be followers of Jesus AND safely avoid politics. My apologies. My point however, still stands.

  23. Tony Oberdorfer says:

    Once again I’m happy to know I’m not alone in being absolutely appalled at the incredibly arrogant perspective of so many left-wing Episcopalians and that unfortunately includes most if not all of the bishops who signed this to-be-expected statement. Unlike most of those laypeople who are gleefully offering their support, I think it may be assumed that a good many of the dissenters legitimately disagree and I hope they stick to their guns. The Episcopal Church will ultimately disappear if it continues to take political stands (yes, I said political) that allows no disagreement.

    Dale Schreck is of course correct in pointing out that climate had fluctuated wildly for as long as we humans are aware. (Greenland once had farmland.) And contrary to the ludicrously ill-informed bishops who are so caught up by the tyranny of trendyism, there are indeed many respected scientists who maintain that permanent climate change may be a myth.

    I don’t smoke but as someone who respects our God-created environment I don’t think I would throw a cigarette butt on the ground if I did. But I’m humble enough to recognize that the know-it-alls in the Episcopal Church just may not have it right. A bit of humility on their part would be in order.

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