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Road to Copenhagen - Part 6: Money-Changers in the Temple of Democracy





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There is a scene in the New Testament (Matthew 21:12) where Jesus throws the money-changers out of the temple. We could use some of that in the halls of Congress.

While the U.S. Capitol is not the National Cathedral, members of Congress are the custodians of a sacred trust: to protect the vitality and integrity of the extraordinary experiment the Founders began. For example, the debate about climate change isn’t just about polar bears and energy prices. It’s about whether a free people will be a responsible people, a capitalist economy will be a caring economy and a democracy will protect the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for everyone, even those not yet born.

Some of this sacred trust is codified in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Some is unwritten and implied. And although the Constitution dictates that we keep government and religion separate, there are places in public policy where secular values and moral values overlap. Stewardship of nature and its resources – called “creation care” in religious circles – is one of those places.

Government’s stewardship responsibility is recognized in the body of laws past congresses developed once we realized that burning rivers, poisoned water, dangerous air, carcinogenic fish and toxic wastes were not in the national interest. In the landmark National Environmental Policy Act, for example, Congress declared:
It is the continuing responsibility of the Federal Government to use all practicable means, consistent with other essential considerations of national policy, to improve and coordinate Federal plans, functions, programs, and resources to the end that the Nation may . . . fulfill the responsibilities of each generation as trustee of the environment for succeeding generations . . . Continued...

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