Faith community calls on Messmer to hear climate bill

As a coalition of faith communities, congregations, and organizations present in the state of Indiana, we join together with a conviction and responsibility to care for our neighbors, the future of our communities and for creation. Because of this, we urge the Environmental Affairs Committee — Senators Messmer (Chair), Niemeyer, Baldwin, Buck, Garten, Gaskill, Sandlin, Zay, Yoder, Niezgodski, and Pol — to hold a hearing for Senate Bill 255, which creates a Climate and Environmental Justice Task Force.

While representing a diverse set of faith traditions we all recognize that climate change threatens the health of our society and damages our relationship with the world around us, a relationship that is one of spiritual significance. In Indiana, we experience numerous consequences of climate change including extreme heat days, severe storms, flooding and poor air quality. While only the 17th most populous state in the nation, we are the 8th largest emitter of climate changing gases. Our state needs to change its ways by looking toward the future and not remain tethered to outdated policies.

Indiana is uniquely poised to become a leader in turning the tide of climate change. We have major universities to discover new technologies and the industrial infrastructure to manufacture them. We are a leading agricultural state with many opportunities to implement carbon sequestration practices. With the right leadership we can build our economy, create jobs and improve the welfare of our citizens while lowering carbon emissions. Senate Bill 255, which has been introduced by Senator Ron Alting (Republican) and co-authored by Senators Mike Bohacek (Republican) and Fady Qaddoura (Democrat) could launch Indiana into that leadership role.

This legislation is the culmination of many months of hard work and dedication by Confront the Climate Crisis, a group of concerned high school students from across the state, and their collaboration with Senator Alting. These concerned youth will soon be voting and deserve to have their climate concerns addressed. SB 255 creates a task force made up of a diverse range of members to develop an Indiana climate action plan to address climate mitigation while promoting sustainable economic development.

This bill now sits in the hands of the Environmental Affairs Committee and will die if it is not given a fair public hearing. We are motivated by our faith, and a moral imperative to care for one another and for creation. Representing our communities in the state of Indiana, we, the undersigned call on Senator Messmer, as well as the other senators in this committee, to perform their duty as elected public servants by holding a hearing for SB 255 and allow their constituents to be heard on this urgent issue.

Dori Chandler, Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light

Tri-State Interfaith Conference on Creation Care

Presbyterian Climate Advocates of Southern Indiana

The Rev. Dr. Timothy C. Murphy, Senior Pastor & Teacher, Plymouth Congregational Church of Fort Wayne

St. Luke’s United Methodist Church’s Community for Contemplation and Justice, Indianapolis

Heliene Houdek and Gary Houdek,members of the Environmental Sustainability Committee, Unitarian Universalist Church, Indianapolis

Faye Snodgress, Global Educational Community

Reverend Mary Ann Macklin, Senior Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington

Reverend Emily Manvel Leite, Minister of Story and Ritual, Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington

Eran McCarty, member of Green Team at St. Thomas The Apostle of Fortville

Douglas Kaufman, pastor, Benton Mennonite Church, Goshen

Reverend Thomas Wyatt Watkins, Cumberland First Baptist Church

Richard L Dufour, Chair, Creation Care Committee, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Indianapolis Archdiocese Creation Care Commission

Pastor Ronnie Bell, Cumberland United Methodist Church

Pastor Bob Whitaker, Board Chair, Creation Care Partners and Senior Pastor, Christ Community Church (formerly Evangelical Community Church)


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