An Open Invitation to Christians to take Climate Action

Dear friends,

Climate change has become possibly the defining moral issue of our time. One of the biggest problems we face is that Australia is addicted to coal. Coal exports are Australia’s biggest contribution to climate change. The greenhouse pollution from our coal exports exceeds all of our domestic pollution combined – and is set to grow massively.

This July we invite you to join us in taking action to put a stop to this madness.

A major ‘camp for climate action‘ will be happening in Newcastle from 10-15 July. The camp will be six days of inspiring workshops and direct action aimed at shutting down the world’s largest coal port.

We are hoping to gather a group of concerned Christians together to form an action team (or affinity group) for the blockade action. This will probably involve most (but not all) members risking arrest for a minor offence, although details will be decided by the group.

Attached is a FAQ sheet with information on climate change and Christian faith, why coal exports represent an urgent threat, the hows and whys of nonviolent action at the camp, and the history of Christian nonviolent action. We invite you to read the FAQ and consider whether God is calling you to become involved.

You don’t have to be willing to risk arrest to be involved. You don’t have to be available all six days to be involved – some people are just coming Friday to Sunday. You don’t have to be an experienced activist to be involved. You do need to be passionate about climate change and about what God thinks about us trashing the planet.

To help people think through the issues and decide if they want to be involved, Project Green Church and Pace e Bene Australia Nonviolence Service will host a few afternoon workshops over the coming weeks. These will cover details about the camp, the direct action, Christian discipleship and some nonviolent action training. You don’t have to attend one of these workshops to join us at the camp, but it will help. Details of the workshops can be found here.

If you are interested, we would love to hear from you.

Yours in Christ,

Jonathan Moylan, Rising Tide & Newcastle UCATSA
Miriam Pepper , Project Green Church
Wenny Theresia, Australian Student Environment Network
Justin Whelan, Pace e Bene Australia Nonviolence Service

(Note: organisation names are included for information only. We do not claim to represent them.)

US Soldier leaves to follow Jesus

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. soldier who said his Christian beliefs compelled him to love his enemies, not kill them, has been granted conscientious objector status and honorably discharged, a civil liberties group said on Tuesday.

Capt. Peter Brown — who served in Iraq for more than a year and was a graduate of the elite U.S. military academy West Point — said in a statement issued by the New York Civil Liberties Union that he was relieved the Army had recognized his beliefs made it impossible for him to serve.

“In following Jesus’ example, I could not have fired my weapon at another human being, even if he were shooting at me,” said Brown, who plans to continue seminary classes he began by correspondence while in Iraq.

While in Iraq, Brown processed insurgents and detainees, the NYCLU said.

Brown said he had no conflict between his faith and military service until after he graduated from West Point in 2004 and began to study scripture and his belief.

During his Iraq deployment he applied for discharge as a conscientious objector but the request was denied, the NYCLU said. In July 2007 the NYCLU and the American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal court in Washington, D.C., to order the honorable discharge.

“Before the court acted, the Army reconsidered the issue, this time granting Brown’s request,” said the NYCLU, adding it would now withdraw the lawsuit.

The U.S. Army was not immediately available for comment.