God's Green Earth: Faith-Based Interest in Environment Spreads

October 11, 2006


Source: Orange County Register


Margaret Henke and a couple of committed friends have grown their faith-based environmental group from a seedling effort that mostly preached to the converted into a force rooted in hundreds of members from a spectrum of faith communities.

And this year an October conference sponsored by the group, the Orange County Interfaith Coalition for the Environment, will include for the first time a smattering of self-described religious conservatives who've lately gained a sense of urgency about the fate of the planet.

"It seems like people are finally realizing what's going on," said Henke, 72, a coalition founder who has relentlessly advanced the idea that the fate of the environment is a religious issue.

"If religions believe that God is the Creator, then why are we trashing his creation?" said Henke, a member of Tustin's Aldersgate United Methodist Church.

The increased participation by evangelicals at the Oct. 21 conference reflects a nationwide trend. Although the veracity of the global warming crisis is debated among evangelicals, many leaders express regret at coming late to the "caring for creation" effort. They're urging the faithful to look at what they waste, what they drive, the problems caused by greenhouse gases as Henke does – as a matter of faith and a moral issue.