Originally published on EdenKeeper.org
Creation Care leaders are predicting the coming Trump presidency will prompt more ecojustice activism, including non-violent civil disobedience, within US faith communities.
Writing for Baptist News, Jeff Brumley states that “Faith-based protests of pipeline projects, global warming and other environmental causes won’t just be for the hard core anymore, thanks to Donald J. Trump.”
EcoJustice Is Inspiring Spiritually Motivated Protesters
With US global warming policies and treaties under threat, and anticipated boosts in fossil fuel use and production, dedicated ecojustice activists are confident that many more compassionate and spiritually motivated people will join movements to protect the Earth.
Noting that American Baptist Churches are already on the frontline of many faith-based protests in support of ecojustice causes, Brumley adds that stiffer legal penalties are also predicted from government authorities, especially against “spiritually motivated protesters.”
Tom Carr, a Co-Coordinator of the American Baptist Churches (ABC) Creation Justice Network steering committee, states, “I don’t think everyone is called to do non-violent civil disobedience — but I think more and more people will be.”
Predicting that more Christians will become activists on some level, Carr adds that a Trump administration will make it clear that “we can’t just sit by.”
Resisting A Presidency That Clashes With Our Values
Carr is actively involved in interfaith ecojustice groups and notes that Trump has chosen Myron Ebell, a well-known climate science denier, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition. He and fellow conservation-minded group members are very concerned that “Trump and his oil-industry allies will attempt to roll back years of progress on the environment under the Obama administration. And the door will be opened to exploit cheaper, dirtier forms of energy, restart the Keystone XL Pipeline, gut the EPA, push fracking and bail on the Paris climate accords.”
Ian Mevorach, Co-Coordinator with Tom Carr, believes that ecojustice movements in the US will be inspired towards greater collaboration under Trump. He explains, “Leaders of climate, LGBTQ, women’s, racial, immigrant and other causes already see that Trump’s cavalier attitude about the impact of fossil fuels and his penchant for dividing Americans will require more than their individual efforts to oppose.”
Mevorach, Spiritual Leader and Co-founder of Common Street Spiritual Center in Natick, Massachusetts, notes, “The different movements are saying ‘we need to work together for a broader vision of justice.” He adds, “I see these movements coming together even more in the next four to eight years to produce a resistance to a presidency that clashes with all of our values.”
Tom Carr agrees. “Interfaith movements are becoming stronger and stronger and stronger,” he says, “because we are uniting behind the one planet that we share.”
Betsy Sowers, Earth Justice Minister at Old Cambridge American Baptist Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, agrees about activists’ concerns over the coming Trump presidency. She states, “There are a lot of these conversations happening.” She adds, “But it’s not a woe-is-me vibe guiding activists.”
To the contrary, Sowers reports that ecojustice conversations are inspiring “a lot of individual introspection among activists about their own callings, strategies and expectations about consequences.”
“Jesus Got Crucified For Doing This Stuff”
Minister Betsy Sowers knows something about activism and consequences, after recently being arrested at a West Roxbury pipeline protest.
Sowers has real concerns that consequences may be different under Donald Trump. “For those of us who have some white and economic privilege,” she explains, “this work has been easy and relatively safe.” However, she continues, “Now when we say we are going to stand with people on the margins, people of color and the poor, that’s going to be real.”
“There may be real danger to people of privilege — and that may be a good thing for us so we’re not just dabbling in this.”
Tom Carr couldn’t agree more. In fact, he believes that the rise of Donald Trump “is a powerful spiritual moment for all of those concerned about the planet.”
Will people of faith step up to the frontline for ecojustice? Sowers offer an answer from the grassroots. She says, “The conversations I’ve been hearing this week are: ‘now we have to pass the test,’ and ‘Do I really believe what I have been preaching?’”
Pastor Sowers offers an inspiring example for all of us who care passionately about our religious responsibility for stewardship of God’s creation and creatures: “Jesus got crucified for doing this stuff, for speaking against empire and establishment.”
Carr offers, “This is a moment that God is saying ‘it is time to step into it’.”
“And we can either step into it and do what is good and right for all,” Carr continues, “or we can step away and continue this old, worn-out path that is leading us who knows where.”