The Washington National Cathedral hosted an interfaith “celebration” to promote climate activism.
Motivated by Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S., the September 24 event involved “inspirational messages, songs and poetry” from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim officials about how “people of faith” should connect to “save the planet” from climate change.
The event, which ran nearly 90 minutes, traversed ground already well-trodden by the Episcopal Church and other Mainstream Protestant denominations, which have long crusaded against manmade climate change.
“Those of us who follow Jesus, and Moses, and Muhammed, and the Buddha inhabit not just traditions,” said The Very Rev. Gary Hall, Dean of the National Cathedral, in his opening remarks. “We also dwell in a place, and our shared place is the planet.”
Known for his vocal support of liberal causes like gun control and gay marriage, Hall went on to say that the early “Christian tradition” set up a “false dichotomy” between “valuing human beings and honoring the creation” in order to “distinguishing ourselves from nature religions.” He also lauded Pope Francis for helping leaders “to see climate change as the theological issue that it is and to mobilize to reverse it” through his encyclical.
Apparently attuned to the will of every divinity represented at the event, United Church of Christ (UCC) President Rev. John C. Dorhauer one-upped Hall with his pluralism.
“No God which we have imagined, no Divine Being with which we have communed, can or would tolerate what we have wrought from the goodness which she has fashioned,” Dorhauer declared. “All things that we claim to be true on behalf of the gods that we worship have no meaning, have no value, have no purpose unless and until they unite in a common cause to restore health to our beloved Mother Earth.”
The event drew from a wide range of not only Christian denominations, but also leaders from other faiths. These leaders included Rabbi Steve Gutow, President of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, who offered a prayer for “moving away from indifference and greed,” while Imam Mohamed Magid from the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) urged attendees to take responsibility for climate change.
Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman from Temple Sinai in Brookline, Massachusetts, and Rev. Fred Small from the Unitarian Universalist First Parish in Cambridge, Massachusetts, led attendees in songs including one entitled, “The Tide is Rising, and So Are We.”
“We’re a singing movement,” Friedman declared.
The Episcopal Church was also well represented, in addition to Hall. Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who has previously urged Christians to repent of causing climate change, called for faith to overcome environmental problems, and Episcopal Diocese of Washington Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde offered a prayer at the end of the event.
Although not a religious official, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) was awarded a platform to advance his liberal climate agenda.
“I rise today to call our hearts to hear the cry of the earth,” Whitehouse proclaimed.Google+