Southern Religion

British Baptists’ unprecedented letter to the Prime Minister

Appealing for action against global warming in an unprecedented, front-page letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown in the The Baptist Times, Britain’s only Baptist newspaper, the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS) wrote:

Prime Minister, we wholeheartedly support the personal commitment that you have shown towards ensuring that the crisis of climate change is addressed as a moral issue, and not just an economic or scientific issue. The poorest people in the world will suffer the most unless we, the richest, take a strong lead.

We therefore ask that you continue to do all you can to make sure that at the Copenhagen Conference the United Kingdom speaks for the interests of the poor of the world on these issues, and provides clear leadership to other nations in this regard.

Written in support of the PM’s efforts at the Copenhagen Climate Conference 2009 in December, the open letter is believed to be “the first time in its 217-year history BMS has written directly to a serving British prime minister.”

Signed by Baptist partners from 23 countries and representing a British community of more than a quarter of a million people in 2,500 churches, the letter makes no demands.
Instead, acting with biblical civility and defying the pervasive shrillness of our times, the signatories promise to pray for the PM and his efforts.
Like those who subscribe to Southern Baptist Creation Care, the letter takes the position that “we have a fundamental responsibility to care for God’s world and God’s people.” Thus it is in keeping with the BMS heritage “which led past generations to combat the evil of slavery, and more recently, support the Jubilee debt campaign … .”
In an editorial in the same issue, Baptist Times Editor Mark Woods adds:

Climate change has been described by leading scientists as a weapon of mass destruction. There is a widespread consensus that while there are of course natural cycles of global warming and cooling, the rate and pattern of change we are seeing now can only be adequately explained by the quantity of greenhouse gases we are putting into the atmosphere. Without the most strenuous efforts to reduce these quantities and mitigate the effects of the change which is now inevitable, the consequences for the world’s peoples – particularly the poorest peoples – are beyond imagining.

At the same time, we need to be aware of the psychological aspects of the climate change campaign. It is clearly wrong, for instance, to demonise those who deny the influence of human beings on climate change. To put them in the same category as Holocaust deniers, as some of the more intemperate campaigners do, is unacceptable.

Science proceeds on the basis of doubt, and progress is based on a willingness to think the unthinkable.

He concludes and in view of the evidence [1, 2, 3, 4] we agree without reservation:

The natural world takes no account of public opinion: the world will not grow cool again because enough people believe that it should. We should be prepared to be led by the facts … .

November 3, 2009 - Posted by | environment, Religion | , , , , ,

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