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Religious Leaders Rally The Faithful On Climate Change

Josh James

Moved by Pope Francis’ recent encyclical calling on the Catholic faithful to combat climate change, a diverse collection of local religious leaders gathered in Lexington Thursday to find common ground on environmental issues.

"May we as mutual people of faith find a mutual and united voice," Peggy Hines prays as about 30 local activists bow their heads.

The group, including representatives with the Pioneers for a Sustainable Future, the Islamic Society of Central Kentucky, Temple Adath Israel, and others speak to what they describe as a moral imperative to steward the earth through practical, everyday acts of conservation.

"We must discard a throwaway culture that sees both natural resources and other human beings, all living creatures, including nature, as disposable," Marc Bentley, a seminarian with the Lexington Archdiocese, entreats the audience.

While Tim Darst with Kentucky Interfaith Power & Light spotlights concrete practical steps that reduced his household's consumption of electricity by 70 percent, UK Islamic Studies professor Dr. Ihsan Bagby discusses a movement dubbed "Greening Our Ramadan."

Peggy Hines with the Kentucky Council of Churches says the faith community should have a seat at the table, where they can argue for "civility in how we speak with one another, how we talk to one another, a moral and ethical perspective of course, and scriptural [perspective]."

Organizers say they hope the meeting was the first of many to come. 

Pope Francis is set to visit Washington, D.C., New York, and Philadelphia in September.