from Faith in Public Life
Washington, D.C. – As presidential candidates take the stage for the first debate in Cleveland on Thursday, Christian leaders are challenging all contenders for the White House to tackle inequality and climate change.
“The 2016 election is an opportunity for a national examination of conscience,” more than 70 prominent Catholic, evangelical and mainline Protestant leaders write in a public statement released today that will be sent to representatives of all the campaigns. “Candidates for the most powerful office in the world have a responsibility to clearly articulate plans for addressing two of the most urgent moral challenges of our time: economic inequality and climate change.”
The leaders cite Pope Francis’s recent encyclical, Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home, which highlights the links between poverty, inequality and ecological devastation.
“Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods,” the pope writes in his encyclical. “It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.” Pope Francis affirmed the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is exacerbated by human activity. In blunt language, the pope also challenged what he called “obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers,” as obstacles to progress.
Signatories on the statement include Sister Donna Markham, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA; Dan Misleh, Executive Director of the Catholic Climate Covenant; several Catholic university presidents; Rev. William Kelley, S.J., Secretary for Social and International Ministries at the Jesuit Conference; Sister Simone Campbell of NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby; Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN, Pax Christi USA; Jim Winkler, General Secretary and President of the National Council of Churches; Rev. Dr. J Herbert Nelson II, Director of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness; Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners; Rev. Richard Cizik, President of New Evangelicals for the Common Good; Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson, President of Auburn Seminary and the Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, President of the Union Theological Seminary in New York City…