Time ran article entitled Pro-life Christians Challenge Congressional Republicans on Mercury Regulation which provides some encouraging voices showing that being pro-life is more than being anti-abortion:
You might not expect evangelical Christians to get involved in a political fight over mercury regulations. But when the Environmental Protection Agency proposed in March to tighten limits on industrial mercury emissions, the move caught the attention of an influential group of religious environmentalists who are now butting heads with pro-business Republicans seeking to weaken the regulations in the House on Friday afternoon. . .
Yet this delay faces strong opposition from the rule’s supporters, including evangelicals who argue that mercury pollution is an immediate crisis for the unborn. At the forefront is the Evangelical Environmental Network, a coalition of religious leaders that calls its work “grounded in the Bible’s teaching of the responsibility of God’s people to ‘tend the garden’” of Earth. The group’s leader, Rev. Mitch Hescox, is a registered Republican who worked in the utility and coal industries for 14 years before becoming a pastor.
Taking the fight to Republican critics of the EPA move, the EEN is mounting an ad campaign targeting Republicans Whitfield, Upton and Barton for opposing mercury restrictions while running on pro-life platforms. “I expect members of Congress who claim that they are pro life to use their power to protect the life, especially the unborn,” says a local pastor and mother in one of the ads. “I can’t understand why Congressman Ed Whitfield is fighting to stop the EPA from enforcing its plan specifically meant to protect the unborn by cleaning up dangerous mercury pollution.” The ads have run on 120 Christian and country radio station in Whitfield, Barton and Upton’s districts for the week prior to the Train Act vote. More than 100 evangelical pastors and leaders have also signed the “Evangelical Call to Stop The Mercury Poisoning of the Unborn,” including representatives from over 10 Christian colleges, National Association of Evangelicals President Leith Anderson and Christianity Today’s Editor-in-Chief David Neff. The United States Council of Catholic Bishops submitted similar concerns. “A national standard limiting mercury and other toxic air pollution represents an important opportunity to protect the health and welfare of all people, especially our children and poor and vulnerable communities,” wrote Bishop Stephen Blaire. “While there are short-term costs involved in implementing this standard, the health benefits of such a rule outweigh these costs.”
However, when Christians do not toe the GOP partisan line, listen to the disdain aimed in their direction:
Even so, some of the Republicans under pressure are suspicious of the EEN’s motives. “This is an activist environmental group parading under the banner of evangelical Christianity and the right to life,” Whitfield’s chief of staff John Sparkman told TIME. “I don’t think it will have resonance in our district.”
We see which issue has greater priority for these “pro-life” legislators: the commands of their corporate masters.
Unfortunately, the TRAIN Act passed the House on Friday afternoon with a 249-169 vote, but President Obama has indicated his willingness to veto this type of legislation if it passes the Senate.
That’s thrilling news to pro-life evangelical leaders who differ with Obama on plenty of other issues, including abortion and stem cell research. But on this issue, Obama and evangelical environmentalists agree that, as the EEN’s Hescox argued, the pro-life position requires protecting children and the unborn from industrial pollution. “‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these,’” Hescox said, quoting the Bible with emphasis. “We are denying our children a full and abundant life by threatening them with mercury.” If the bill passes the House on Friday, that’s a message Hescox and his allies are sure to bring to what they hope will be a more receptive Democratic-led Senate.
The Open Statement to Congress from these Evangelical leaders can be found here.