A growing number of churches and other faith groups are divesting their holdings in fossil fuel companies, which release large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, reports the Religion News Service.
'The warning in Scripture that "the wages of sin is death" could not be more literally true than it is in the case of fossil fuels,' said Serene Jones, president of New York’s Union Theological Seminary, whose board voted in June to divest its $108.4 million endowment from fossil fuel companies.
'While we realise that our endowment alone will hardly cause the fossil fuel giants to miss even half a heartbeat, as a seminary dedicated to social justice we have a critical call to live out our values in the world. Climate change poses a catastrophic threat, and as stewards of God’s creation we simply must act.'
Other religious institutions that have recently voted to divest from fossil fuels include: the World Council of Churches (July 10), the Unitarian Universalists (June 28) and the United Church of Christ (July 2013).
Many smaller and regional groups — such as the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, the Shalom Center and the Oregon Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America — have also approved fossil fuel divestment.
And the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) last month voted to study the possibility.
Motivating these moves among the faithful is the concern that their investments ally them with companies identified as among the most damaging to the environment.
Many religious supporters of fossil fuel divestment were further spurred by the National Climate Assessment, a federal report released in May — written with the help of 300 experts and the National Academy of Sciences — that concluded that climate change is proceeding at a faster pace than previously thought. It also lay blame at the feet of the fossil fuels.
Photo: University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Bascom Hall
FULL STORY Faith communities are dumping their fossil fuel investments (CNS)