People of Faith are in the ‘miracle business’
An estimated 200 people of faith gathered in Washington, D.C., on Sunday morning in preparation for the Forward on Climate Rally on the National Mall. The brief prayer service preceded the larger rally of an estimated 40,000 people urging President Barack Obama to take action against climate change and to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.
Mirele Goldsmith of Jews Against Hydrofracking reminded the gathering of faithful that in Jewish teaching “if something is right it is kosher and if it is wrong it is not kosher.” Climate change, she said, is “not kosher.” Opening the Alberta tar sands to exploitation is “not kosher.” She offered a traditional Jewish blessing to be said when one encounters natural wonders.
Alycia Ashburn, climate change organizer for the Christian social justice group Sojourners, offered a rousing roll call of the groups present for the prayer service in sub-freezing temperatures with a 20 mph wind, including co-sponsor Interfaith Power & Light (MD.DC.NoVA), Catholic Workers, Franciscan Action Network, The Shalom Center, Christians for the Mountains, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, Green Faith, Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, Karuna Buddhist Vihara, Kids vs Global Warming, Maryknoll, and Green Hevra.
Sojourners’ Rose Berger fired up the group by saying, “Some people claim it will take a miracle to turn the oil companies around. Some people say it will take a miracle to reverse climate change. It’s a good thing we are people in the miracle business. We understand the mechanics of miracles and we are going to make it happen. As people of faith, we are the leaven, the yeast of this movement. We are the catalyst. Let’s move forward on climate in the wonder-working power of the Spirit.”
As the interreligious, multi-faith rally marched down the National Mall toward the Washington Monument, they joined forces with Unitarian Universalists and Jews for Peace as they all moved into the main body of the demonstration. On stage the Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus and Methodist environmentalist Bill McKibben stirred up the crowd by preaching “By God, we are going to stop this [Keystone XL] pipeline and get this country to take action on climate change.”
Correction: An earlier version of this post identified Mirele Goldsmith as with Greater Washington Interfaith Power & Light, which is now known as Interfaith Power & Light (MD.DC.NoVA).
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