Clergymen, hand-in-hand for a safe environment

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Clergymen, hand-in-hand for a safe environment

By Fr. Rif'at Bader

What is the relationship between clergymen and the environment? The clergymen are leaders in raising awareness on the importance of preserving the environment. From this premise, the initiative emerged for convening a four-day round of discussion between Muslim and Christian clerics in Germany with the participation of the minister of awqaf and Islamic affairs. This round of discussion was organized by the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, the Ministry of Water and Irrigation in cooperation with the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ). It was designed to deepen the vital “role” played by clergymen and to educate the “faithful” on how to pay special attention to major humane and mundane issues, most importantly is the environment.

This initiative has had multi-faceted importance. First: The delegation was composed of Muslims and Christians clerics. This initiative served to promote friendship between the two sides and furthermore focus on the common aspects, most importantly is the human relationships that exclude cheap compliments and the search for incomprehensible vocabulary, in addition to instilling the concept of constructive coexistence that serve the good of man. The trip to Germany has constituted a common ground for joint action, and founded a new phase of advanced “dialogue” in Jordan. It is a dialogue about life and viewing issues away from doctrinal considerations despite the fact that doctrines join people together rather than separate them, since doctrines confirm that creatures are the make of the one Creator. That is why clerics urge respecting doctrines and by doing so respecting the holy dignity of man.

Secondly, the tour in the German cities of Dortmund, Frankfurt and others provided an opportunity to get apprised of some religious institutions that have taken initiatives to preserve the environment and to use alternative energy.

Thirdly, the participants took note of the climatic challenges facing the universe, and members of the delegation talked about the security challenges caused on humans by wars and armed conflicts, which distort human dignity. They also took note of the destruction inflicted on the infrastructure of communities causing visible environmental pollution, as well as gas pollution that causes epidemics and diseases.
Here I recall a message by the former Pope in early 2009 titled: “If you want to make peace, protect the creation.” Pope Benedict said: “The attacks on human life are no less dangerous than the threats caused by lack of care or rather exorbitant exploitation of the Earth and the natural resources offered by God. For this reason, it is inevitable for humanity to renovate and consolidate the “alliance” between human beings and the environment, which should serve as a reflection of God’s love, the Creator, Who created us and Whom we seek.”

His excellency the minister and the accompanying delegation comprising Muslim and Christian clerics have returned from Germany. Each and every one of them will stand by the podium on Friday-- in the mosque-- or on Sunday--in the church—with German experience in mind to talk about the friendships that were made, the ideas that developed, and the plans that were set which are not strange to our mosques and churches--such as the exploitation of solar energy. What is needed is to formulate a joint religious discourse to raise awareness on the preservation of environment, and the purity of the green color. A safe environment represents a sound health.... consequently human dignity of man will thus be based on solid foundations.

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