I noticed two interesting stories about religion and the environment yesterday. The Vatican has listed seven new mortal sins, including polluting the environment, causing poverty, and accumulating excessive wealth. I'm a practicing Christian and my environmentalism and personal ethics come directly from my faith, so I'm delighted with this new list. I'm also very surprised to see the Pope (particularly this Pope) so in tune with my own thinking. I know a lot of people might find this news story totally irrelevant, but I found it very welcome.
The other story that attracted my attention was about the Southern Baptist Church in the USA. Church leaders have announced that man-made climate change is real and their members have a duty to prevent it. I'm not knowledgeable about American politics, but I know the Southern Baptist Church has a great influence on the Republican party in particular, and a knock-on effect on the Democrats as well since they cannot ignore what the Southern Baptists say and do. Another major influence on Republican politics is the energy industry, and green commentators have blamed this influence for President Bush's infuriating inaction on climate change. Now that the Southern Baptist Church has taken this position, it will be very interesting to see what effect it has on Republican policy.
Photograph by Agência Brasil, a public Brazilian news agency.