Posted by: NCC Poverty Initiative Director | August 5, 2011

A Pastoral Call for Chemical Policy Reform

Ministry is all about listening. If you have ever ministered to a family struggling with a debilitating, chronic disease, you know how heartbreaking their stories can be. As lay and ordained ministers, we pray, offer words of comfort, and help families cope. Many of us wish we could do more to alleviate the suffering. Scientists are increasingly finding links between chronic diseases and exposures to toxic chemicals found in everyday products such as cleaning supplies and personal care products. (Learn more here.)

In light of the growing body of evidence that toxic chemicals are linked to chronic diseases that are harming God’s people, the National Council of Churches is asking you to not just listen, but also to speak out. Go to the link below to sign a letter to your representatives asking them to protect families from dangerous toxic chemicals.

The text of the letter is also re-produced below.

Dear Representative,

As a community of Christians, we bear witness to a God who is the source of life for all Creation and who called the land, waters, air, plants, creatures, and human beings “good” (Genesis 1). We live in a covenant with God who has entrusted us to steward and care for every living creature (Genesis 9:8-10). We give thanks for Christ Jesus who came that we might have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). We also understand our responsibility to reverently care for human bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). In addition, we are called to care for the “least of these,” the most vulnerable (Matthew 25:40-45).

As chaplains, health workers, and clergy, we have a ministry of presence and listening. We conduct pastoral hospital visits for families with children in chemotherapy. We listen to the hidden anguished sobs of the couples who suffer from infertility and reproductive loss. We counsel new parents when they come to grips with birth defects. We advocate for youth with learning and developmental disabilities to be fully included in the life of the community. We remind children to bring their asthma inhalers with them to church and school. We help families adjust as aging parents and grandparents cope with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. We have been present and we have listened for years as incidents of childhood cancers, miscarriages, birth defects, developmental disabilities, asthma, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases have increased. We listen with heavy hearts, knowing that these conditions are linked to exposures to toxic chemicals.

The toxic trespass on our communities and all of God’s Creation must end. Therefore, as Congress considers national chemical policy reform, we call on our representatives to protect God’s people and God’s creatures from harmful toxic chemicals by testing current chemicals as well as new chemicals before they enter the marketplace. We ask policymakers to eliminate or reduce toxic chemical exposure to vulnerable populations such as children, women, the elderly, and communities of color and to invest in research to find safer alternatives. By committing ourselves to these principles we can work to heal our broken relationships with Creation and with each other, strengthening and renewing the entire body of Christ.

With Faith in a Healthier Future,

Click here to sign the letter.


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