Dear President-Elect Trump:
Congratulations on your election as President. We write you as evangelical and Catholic pro-life Christian leaders who share your faith. We pray that God gives you the wisdom and compassion you need to be the leader He is calling you to be.
Psalm 72:13 says a righteous king “will have compassion on the poor and needy, and the lives of the needy he will save” (NASB). Jesus also teaches us to care for the vulnerable (e.g. Mt. 25), and when God created humanity he commanded us to be good stewards of His creation (Gen. 1:28; 2:15). Together these are linked in our defense of life: from the moment of conception until natural death a whole life ethic permeates both Catholic social teaching and the evangelical commitment to the sanctity of life, as articulated by The National Association of Evangelicals. Caring for God’s creation is a matter of life and our faith compels us to act, especially to reduce pollution. We have made important progress while our economy has continued to grow, but there is vital work still to be done.
More than half of Americans live in areas with unhealthy air. Air pollution has been linked to birth defects, low birth weight, premature births, stillbirths, and infant deaths. One-in-three children in the United States suffer from asthma, allergies, ADHD, and autism – all with links to fossil fuels and petrochemicals. Methane and other organic compounds leaking from natural gas production have been reported to cause birth defects and early term births, and these pollutants make it next to impossible for states like California, Texas, and Pennsylvania to reduce smog to safe levels. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges our nation faces, including health impacts like the increase of vector-borne diseases like Lyme disease, dengue fever, and Zika.
Given these threats to the vulnerable, who as Christians we are called to defend, we ask you to withdraw Attorney General Pruitt as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA Administrator plays a crucial role in defending all of us from the health consequences of pollution, especially vulnerable populations like the unborn, children, the elderly, those with heart and lung conditions, and others with special susceptibilities. Mr. Pruitt’s past actions suggest he would not defend the vulnerable from pollution.
All of us desire pure air and clean water and the opportunity for our children and grandchildren to aspire to the abundant life that Jesus’ brings. Unfortunately, that opportunity is hindered by pollution that poisons the minds, lungs, and hearts of our children, born and unborn.
Let us work together with all Americans to create a healthier and more prosperous future, one that the next EPA Administrator helps bring about. This will require another candidate in place of Mr. Pruitt.
We would be happy to discuss this with you. Thank you for considering our request.
The Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox*
The Evangelical Environmental Network