December 2, 2016

Letter to Congress: Protect the Arctic Refuge

The Disciples Center for Public Witness joined its ecumenical partners in calling on members of Congress to protect the Arctic Refuge by designating its Coastal Plain as Wilderness:

November 25th, 2016

Dear member of Congress,

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a special place in God’s creation that stands alone in its unique wildness, ecological integrity, beauty, spiritual significance, and recreational opportunities. As religious organizations representing millions of people in the United States, we supported President Obama’s Wilderness recommendation for the Arctic Refuge in January 2015, and urge you to act on this important recommendation by co-sponsoring legislation that would permanently protect the Arctic Refuge’s Coastal Plain for future generations.

Our communities have long opposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, not only because of our concern for stewarding God’s creation, but also because of our commitment to standing with the Alaska Native Gwich’in Nation. The exploitation of fossil fuels that contribute to climate change threatens the subsistence practices of the Gwich’in people, ten thousand year-old traditions that the Gwich’in depend upon to survive. Our commitment to protecting the Arctic Refuge is inspired by our dedication to defending all of God’s creation, including the fundamental rights of the Gwich’in people.

In October, leaders from diverse religious traditions delivered a petition to members of Congress signed by more than 110,000 people of faith calling for the strongest possible protection for the Arctic Refuge. This outpouring of religious support for the Arctic Refuge is unprecedented – both in its magnitude and its diversity -- and is the latest expression of the faith community’s ongoing efforts to ensure congressional wilderness designation. We strongly support S. 2341/H.R. 239 –legislation that would designate the Coastal Plain as wilderness –and urge you to stand up for the Arctic Refuge by serving as a cosponsor for this important legislation.

In the Scriptural creation story of the Judeo-Christian tradition, God proclaims each piece of creation good, and the whole of it – when viewed together and in relationship – very good. It is our hope that you will join us in recognizing that such a precious gift deserves our best efforts at stewardship and preservation by doing all that you can to safeguard the renowned and sacred wilderness of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Thank you for your consideration, and you remain in our prayers.


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