Religious leaders join forces to defeat Prop 23 in California

29 October 2010, 1:58 AM

California Interfaith Power & Light Cooperation Circle Press Release

Today religious leaders representing a wide spectrum of faiths and regions across California announced they are joining forces to defeat Proposition 23, the November ballot initiative that aims to overturn California clean air and clean energy law.

“Texas oil companies should not be trying to influence air quality standards in California. Attacking California’s clean air laws will result in more children with asthma and more premature deaths due to air pollution,” said Rev. Canon Sally Bingham, President of the California Interfaith Power and Light. “We have a moral responsibility to protect the most vulnerable among us – our children, the elderly, the poor – who suffer the most from air pollution.”

Faith leaders from diverse religions stand together against Proposition 23 to bring new clean energy jobs to our communities, improve air quality, and bring a better quality of life for those most affected by health problems associated with air pollution.

“Stewardship of God’s planet is everyone’s responsibility, whether Californians or big-oil Texans,” said Rabbi Jonathan Klein, Executive Director of the Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice in Los Angeles. “Shame on proponents of 23, for taking advantage of the hard times to attempt to poison the planet through deceit, reduce workers to chattel through greed, and attempt to fool Californians with the noxious fumes of this horrible ballot measure”

The Religious Leaders Advisory Committee to defeat Proposition 23 includes leaders representing a wide spectrum of faith communities all committed to one common goal.

“The Islamic faith takes very seriously the notion that human beings are vicegerents and caretakers on Earth,” said Imam Jihad Turk, Director of Religious Affairs at the Islamic Center of Southern California. “As a leader in the Muslim community, I join my voice to those of many other communities of conscience in opposing Proposition 23 as we feel strongly that this proposition will detrimentally impact the environment of California.”

Rev. Albert G. Cohen, Executive Director of the Southern California Ecumenical Council said, “Church councils find a deeper unity in our common concern for the stewardship of God’s creation. We want clean air and a healthy environment; therefore we recommend a no vote on Proposition 23.”

Interfaith Power & Light Members of Religious Leaders Advisory Committee to Defeat Proposition 23:

• The Rev. Mark W. Holmerud, Bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod, Lutheran (ELCA)

• The Rev. Dean W. Nelson, Bishop of the Southwest California Synod, Lutheran (ELCA)

• The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, Bishop Diocesan of the Episcopal Diocese of California

• The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop Diocesan of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles

• The Rt. Rev. William Swing, Retired Bishop Diocesan of the Episcopal Diocese of California, Founder and President of the United Religions Initiative

• Rabbi Marvin Goodman, Executive Director, Northern California Board of Rabbis

• Rabbi Melanie Aron, Congregation Shir Hadash, Los Gatos

• Imam Jihad Turk, Director of Religious Affairs, Islamic Center of Los Angeles

• Rev. Felix Villanueva, Conference Minister of the Southern California Nevada Conference, United Church of Christ

• Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, Moderator of the 218th General Assembly Presbyterian Church (USA), Pastor of Mission Bay Community Church, San Francisco

• Rev. Earl Koteen, Consulting Minister for Climate Justice, Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry California

• Rev. Al Cohen, Executive Director, Southern California Ecumenical Council

• Rev. Stephen A. Privett, S. J., President of the University of San Francisco (Catholic)

• Revs. Susan Gonzales Dewey and Don Dewey, Co-regional Ministers, Pacific Southwest Region, Disciples of Christ

• The Rev. Canon Sally Bingham, President, California Interfaith Power and Light

Additional quotables: From Rev. Dean W. Nelson, Bishop, Southwest California Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: “My Christian faith calls me to care for my neighbor and all that God has created. Proposition 23 calls us to look back, not forward, and to cast a blind eye to the urgent consequences of our addiction to fossil fuels. These consequences include affects on human health, human-caused climate change and its threat to food and water supplies and densely populated coastal areas, and our economic vulnerability to global energy politics and prices.”

From Rev. Earl Koteen, Consulting Minister for Climate Justice, Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry California: “Unitarian Universalists believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity, and compassion in human relations; and respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. Proposition 23 violates all three of these principles. It threatens and destroys life by continuing the poisoning of our air, disproportionately harming the most vulnerable among us, including the elderly, children, and the disadvantaged.”

Contact: Danielle English 415-453-0430

# # # Interfaith Power and Light is mobilizing a religious response to promote renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation. For more information, go to


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