During a visit to the Holy Land, Mark Twain and his wife stayed in Capernaum near the Sea of Galilee. One beautiful night, he decided to take his wife on a romantic moonlit ride on that famous body of water. Dressed in his signature white hat, suit and shoes, he strolled down the pier and asked a man sitting in a near-by row boat the price for rowing them out.
Presuming that this cultured-acting man to be a wealthy individual from the states, the opportunistic oarsman said he would charge $25 American dollars. After thanking the man, Twain was heard to say as he and his wife turned away, "No wonder Jesus chose to walk."
It must have been something of this same sentiment against greed and corporate interests Pope Francis was meaning to voice in his recent encyclical Laudato Si', where he strangely censures the use of air conditioning. more >>
The United Church of Canada plans to invest nearly $6 million into alternative energy sources that it acquired from selling all of its assets in fossil fuels. The denomination views the move as a bold step toward stewarding the gift of creation.
"Care for creation and concern for the way that climate is impacting the most marginalized populations made this move an act of justice, of faith, and of solidarity with First Nations and other impacted communities," said Christine Boyle, General Council commissioner of the United Church and a veteran climate advocate, according to the National Advocate.
The church will sell off around $5.9 million in holdings from 200 of the world's largest fossil fuel companies. more >>
All of life requires water, it's something we take for granted, but shouldn't. Dirty water in our lakes, streams and headwaters remains a constant threat and we must work to ensure that kind of pollution doesn't harm our children and loved ones.
The Bible recognizes how profound our need for water is by using it to illustrate the most important thing we need to know about God: His steadfast love (Ps. 137:1, 37). And clean water is used by Christians to perform one of our most important sacraments: baptism, which symbolizes the cleansing of our sins. No one would want a child to be baptized in dirty water.
Is our water safe? Increasingly, the answer is no. Since the Reagan years, laws that govern which waters require protections and which ones don't have slowly and steadily eroded through a series of court cases and a lack of civic leadership, all of which erodes the ability of future generations to enjoy the gift of clean water. more >>
A Gallup poll has found that Pope Francis' favorability rating in the U.S. has fallen significantly from last year, and now less than half of conservatives have a favorable opinion of him. Gallup suggested that the change is due to the pope's strong messages on human responsibility in climate change and his condemnation of the world's "idolatry of money."
"This decline may be attributable to the pope's denouncing of 'the idolatry of money' and attributing climate change partially to human activity, along with his passionate focus on income inequality — all issues that are at odds with many conservatives' beliefs," Gallup analyst Art Swift wrote on Wednesday, according to Religion News Service.
Among all Americans who responded to the survey, most, or 59 percent, still held a favorable view of the pontiff, with 16 percent holding an unfavorable view, and 25 present stating they have no opinion. The level of support is down from the last poll from February 2014, however, where Francis enjoyed 76 percent favorable ratings. more >>
A major global poll by Pew Research Center has listed climate change, the economy, and ISIS as the top three greatest threats the world faces today. The Islamic militant group was the top threat identified by respondents both in the United States and Europe.
On a worldwide basis, respondents identified climate change as the top threat in the world today, with the majorities in most countries in both Latin America and Africa noting that they are very concerned about the issue.
"Publics in 19 of 40 nations surveyed cite climate change as their biggest worry, making it the most widespread concern of any issue included in the survey. A median of 61 percent of Latin Americans say they are very concerned about climate change, the highest share of any region," Pew noted. more >>
Pope Francis has called the unfettered pursuit of money "the dung of the devil" in a strongly worded condemnation of the global treatment of poor people. Speaking on Thursday at the World Meeting of Popular Movements in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Francis also told Christians it is their "commandment" to fight for the "just distribution of the fruits of the Earth."
Francis, who is on a tour of several South American countries, told the Bolivian faithful that as the scientific community warns, "irreversible harm" is being done to the ecosystem, which is "brutally punishing" entire populations. He then referred to the "unfettered pursuit of money" as the "dung of the devil," which leaves behind the service of the common good:
"Once capital becomes an idol and guides people's decisions, once greed for money presides over the entire socioeconomic system, it ruins society, it condemns and enslaves men and women, it destroys human fraternity, it sets people against one another and, as we clearly see, it even puts at risk our common home." more >>