This Tuesday, 15 January 2013, an interfaith coalition will hold a "Pray-In for the Climate" in front of the White House. (Yes, sadly, this will be in front of the White House rather than in it even though this is the sort of "Prayer Breakfast" that the President (and family) should join as part of a 'national conversation on the climate'.)
The day is powerful in its symbolism as the 15th is the date of Martin Luther King, Jr's, real birthday even as the Presidential inauguration will come on the following Monday, the Federal MLK holiday. When considering Martin Luther King's legacy, it is hard to imagine that he would not be in the front lines of interfaith efforts to help society see the moral (and survival and security and economic and ...) necessity of confronting climate change. King likely would have been among those arrested in front of the White House in summer 2011 protesting the proposed Keystone pipeline and he would join other religious leaders in front of the White House in this interfaith action (where at least some people are planning to get arrested for civil disobedience) "to bring attention to the urgent need for for action on climate change."
In a real sense all life is inter-related. All persons are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the inter-related structure of reality. ~Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On the 15th, the pray-in will meet at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church (1313 New York Ave, NW, WDC, 2005) with the religious procession to the WH (all of a five minute walk) scheduled for noon and, at 1230", a "Prayerful Vigil at the White House"
Asking that our President and our nation
find the strength and wisdom
to steer us away from
the Climate Cliff
From the pray-in's press release
"The way we respond to our warming planet is absolutely an issue of social justice, “ said Rev. Bob Edgar, CEO Common Cause and former head of National Council of the Churches. “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. often invoked 'the fierce urgency of now' in calling people to action, and nowhere are his words more relevant than in the moral
imperative we share as people of faith to take decisive action against climate change."
The President's offhand comments about the potential for a national conversation on climate change clearly aren't enough to lay these religious leaders' concerns to rest.
“President Obama needs to lead more than a conversation about climate change. It’s time he and our leaders recognize this threat and lead us toward a more energy efficient and sustainable future,” said Rabbi Arthur Waskow. “Some of us might be arrested, and frankly, it’s worth it — we need to show that this is an issue the President must address aggressively.”
Amid the struggle to foster societal attention to what might be the greatest threat that human civilization has ever faced, MLK Jr's words certainly are worth considering.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Martin Luther King, Jr
NOTE / UPDATE: Multiple commentators are challenging "prayer" and "pray-in". The people involved are people who, in their own lives / communities / etc, are taking tangible actions while seeking to foster change in broader society. From the announcement for Tuesday's event
What will we be urging that the President do to meet the needs of this critical hour in planetary time? He must break the silence by taking necessary actions, such as these:
1. Permanently refuse permits for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, because tar- oil is among the most dangerous of the planet-heating forms of carbon
2. Call a National Summit Conference on the Climate Crisis that includes leaders of business, labor, academia, religious communities, governmental officialdom, science, and other relevant bodies
3. Publicly support and advocate for a carbon fee that will generate hundreds of billions of dollars, with provisions to ensure that working families and the poor are not harmed by higher carbon prices; for an end to subsidies to the coal, oil and gas industries; and for substantial subsidies for research, development, and use of renewable, sustainable and jobs-creating clean energy sources.
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