Rev. Hunt Priest
Rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church on Mercer Island, Washington
“The teachings of the world’s great religions are clear: issues related to the environment have moral and spiritual implications and there are consequences to the decisions we make about how we live our lives.
“Our state, our nation and our world are at a crossroads and the decisions we make in the next few years will determine the sort of world we leave for our children, grandchildren and all who follow. And frankly, there will be judgment on us as stewards of all that we have been given. At this point, it’s not looking particularly good, and if projects like this go forward, our future and our children’s future will be grim indeed.
“Even on a pure storytelling level, this project fails the common sense test. We mine coal in Montana, transport it through some of the Earth’s most beautiful and fragile ecosystems to huge container ships that then take the coal to the other side of the planet. When it gets there, it will be burned and pollute the air and water of China and its neighbors. And then eventually, because all of creation is connected and interdependent, the mercury and other toxins will return to us in the air, water, fruits, vegetables and fish. Instead of the “circle of life”, it’s the circle of death. I am afraid that is what the Christian tradition calls “sinful”, pure and simple.
“As a Christian, I believe that God is revealed in the Creation. By climbing to the top of a majestic mountain, sitting beside still water, or contemplating unanswered questions of the vast expanse of interstellar space, I experience the majesty and peace and mystery of God. And because I believe that God was made human in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, I trust that all that lives and breathes and sustains life is sacred.
“As so often happens, big business will try to make this a jobs vs. environment issue. Our elected officials and business leaders must do a better job of bringing prosperity to our communities without endangering the lives of the people who live in them. That too is a moral and spiritual issue, and as citizens we must learn to hold them accountable.
“Our reliance on fossil fuels is an addiction. Like any addiction, we continue with reckless abandon to use something that is killing us and slowly destroying all that we love and value. Following the spirituality of the recovery movement, we must first admit that we are powerless over that addiction. Then the deep work can begin. Because only when we as individuals say, “enough is enough,” will anything begin to change. The time is now.
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