Alliance Shuns Nature Worship

By Witham, Larry | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 18, 2000 | Go to article overview

Alliance Shuns Nature Worship


Witham, Larry, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Two religious coalitions yesterday issued manifestos against nature worship in the ecology movement and urged a Jewish and Christian ethic of stewardship, a debate on scientific facts and free-market environmental policies.

"There is a clear distinction between the human race and all other living creatures," the Rev. Robert Sirico, a Catholic priest who heads the Acton Institute, said at a news conference.

Father Sirico, whose center researches "religion and liberty," organized the drafting of "the Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship," begun when conservative religious leaders met in Cornwall, Conn., in October.

Last fall also, in a separate initiative, Southern Baptist policy officer Richard Land urged an environmental statement by religious thinkers for the 2000 election year.

That statement, "A Faith Community Commitment to the Environment and Our Children's Future," also was released yesterday. The Baptist statement is policy-oriented and points to bills in Congress that work to improve the environment via a free-market approach.

The Cornwall Declaration is being circulated by the Interfaith Council for Environmental Stewardship - which has neither a budget nor headquarters - and has garnered 1,000 signatures.

"Misconceptions about nature and science, coupled with erroneous theological and anthropological positions, impede the advancement of a sound environmental ethic," the declaration said.

It states that scientists and researchers are sharply divided over whether the Earth is warming due to human emissions and whether population growth and species extinction are destroying the Earth.

"The move from the Creator God to the Kyoto Protocol loses me," said Diane Knippers, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, referring to a global accord to restrict industrial development. …

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