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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Moral component vitally relevant in pipeline issue

Power, faith and love in community. I experienced all that and more on Monday, June 4 in St. Paul.

A group of faith leaders delivered an interfaith letter opposing Line 3 to both Gov. Dayton and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. The letter, signed by over 500 religious leaders, calls their opposition to Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 replacement a moral issue: “because of the harm it would do to the Anishinaabe people.”

The event was more than just delivering a letter. It began with an invocation by a Dakota elder, followed by speakers from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and indigenous traditions, and words of wisdom from two of the Youth Climate Interveners. In many languages and across many faith traditions they shared their religious grounding for opposing Line 3. My heart felt the power of the spirit of community in those moments.

A list of signers from mainline Protestant churches include the bishop of the Minneapolis Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (the nation's largest Lutheran synod); the bishop of the Minnesota-Dakotas region of the United Methodist Church; the bishop of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota; a Ruling Elder of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies for the Presbyterian Church USA; and the head of the Minnesota Conference of the United Church of Christ. My heart is strengthened by this expression of faith acting in community.

Monday’s event was organized by the Minnesota Poor People’s Campaign (a national call for a moral revival highlighting the immoral nature and intersectionality of militarism, racism, extreme economic inequality and environmental degradation) and Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light (believes the active care of creation is integral to spiritual life and social justice) with the support of the Minnesota Council of Churches (building respectful, welcoming and just communities). My heart is renewed by the example of these leaders building relationships in our communities through love in action.

It’s easier for me, sometimes, to articulate the environmental dangers of this project than the moral dangers. Yet, the moral component is so vitally relevant. May we all reflect on what our faith traditions ask of us in how we treat our neighbors, how we steward creation, and how we act justly in the name of all that is holy.

Rita Chamblin