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'God's Mandate': Putting The White House on Notice

Sunday, February 6, 2005; Page A16

Frustration with the Bush administration's environmental polices is bubbling up from mainstream churches and synagogues, as reflected in a statement signed recently by more than 1,000 clergy and congregational leaders in about 35 states.

Called "God's Mandate: Care for Creation," the statement says that "there was no mandate, no majority, or no 'values' message in this past election for the President or the Congress to rollback and oppose programs that care for God's creation."

Analyses of the November election have found that President Bush's victory owed much not only to strong support from white evangelicals, but also to gains in support from conservative Catholics, mainstream Protestants and Jews.

In a conference call last month, some Catholic, Protestant and Jewish leaders came up with the idea of a strong statement on the environment to warn the White House and Republicans in Congress that there are limits to the support they can expect from the religious community, according to Paul Gorman, executive director of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, an alliance of Catholic, Protestant, evangelical and Jewish organizations.

"People of faith are deeply and religiously alarmed," Gorman said.

The statement objects to Bush's policies on global warming, toxic emissions from coal-fired power plants and lack of emphasis on conservation. The National Council of Churches is circulating the statement to 250,000 clergy and lay leaders across the country.

-- Blaine Harden

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