A push to convince the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to stop investing in fossil fuel companies won praise June 17 from the leader of an interfaith environmental group.
“I have never seen anything approaching the force of nature that Fossil Free PC(USA) has become,” said Fletcher Harper to those gathered for the Presbyterians for Earth Care luncheon at Fort Street Presbyterian Church.
Harper is an Episcopal priest and executive director of GreenFaith, Interfaith Partners for the Environment. He spoke at a luncheon sponsored by Presbyterians for Earth Care, a national eco-justice network which encourages Presbyterians to make creation care a central concern of the church.
Harper’s challenge comes as the 221st General Assembly will consider an overture regarding divesting from fossil fuel. That overture asks the Board of Pensions and Presbyterian Foundation to immediately stop any new investment in fossil fuel companies, and over the next five years to divest any assets the denomination already has placed in oil, gas and coal firms.
“The truth of the matter is, with climate change the people who are wealthy will survive fine – it will be an inconvenience, but they will survive. It is the most vulnerable around the planet that won’t,” challenged Harper.
It is a battle that he believes is not on the periphery the church, but at the heart of the church’s concerns.
Bill McKibben, an environmentalist, journalist, and activist on issues of climate change, greeted the gathering by video.
“I’m grateful to see the work that is going on within the Presbyterian Church,” he said. “Do not think for a minute that it is a small step – it is a very important piece in this fight.”
“Standing up to power is really what we are called upon to do as Christians and there are times when we are called on to stand up to powers and principalities,” McKibben said. “In our time there are no greater powers and principalities than those that derive untold wealth from fossil fuel.”