Interfaithfully speaking: Uniting Claremont as one congenial community
By Rev. Dr. Jennifer Strickland and Rev. Dr. Jacob Buchholz
Senior Co-Pastors, Claremont United Church of Christ
Can you imagine a world where people could work together to tackle important issues of pressing concern for all of humanity regardless of their political, religious, or other ideological differences? Seems like a far-fetched dream in today’s contentious and divisive milieu, doesn’t it? Pure fantasy! However, mere decades ago, during many of our lifetimes, religious and political leaders across the spectrum were joining forces to advocate for greater attention toward what was referred to as “Creation Care.” Although it was known by various names such as sustainability, environmentalism, or stewardship of the planet, many shared a widespread understanding that we had a common human responsibility to do our best to care for the earth.
For the religious, this duty was even bestowed upon us by the Divine. During this time of unity, people as ideologically divergent as Al Sharpton and Pat Roberts joined forces to record a public service announcement encouraging people to do more for the environment. That duo is hard to fathom, but it truly happened!
However, environmentalism and distrust of the scientific community soon became a litmus test for the liberal-conservative divide. Caring for the planet was a “liberal” issue, while promoting free enterprise was a “conservative” issue. Lost in this side-taking was the reality that innovation which is good for our planet is equally as good for business! All interests can be served by investing in Creation Care.
We cannot afford to continue this ideological charade that somehow there are two polarizing positions on environmentalism. It’s crucial to return to a time when we can identify issues that can unify all of us. We want to commend those who are part of our congregation, other faith communities, or no faith community at all, who are passionately invested in the work of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, an organization striving to find bipartisan and nonpartisan solutions to climate change. We invite you to spend a moment researching the work of this organization and supporting its advocacy of effective and meaningful policy change.
We also invite you to think about other issues that can unite everyone in our community regardless of our backgrounds or political parties: affordable housing, racial and gender equality, access to mental health care, and much more. We pray that you join us in putting aside any of our potential differences to care for our community and our planet.