Monday, March 21, 2016

Fracking MORALtorium Speech, Harrisburg, PA

MORALtorium Rally and Advocacy Day
Speech by
The Rev. Dr. Leah D. Schade, PhD
Pastor, United in Christ Lutheran Church, Lewisburg, PA
Author, Creation-Crisis Preaching: Ecology, Theology and the Pulpit (Chalice Press, 2015)
Adjunct Professor in Religion and Philosophy –
Lebanon Valley College, Annville, PA; Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA
March 21, 2016; Harrisburg, PA

Almost exactly four years ago I stood in this very spot in the Capitol Rotunda as part of a broad spectrum of individuals who had gathered to express our distress and moral outrage about the passing of Act 13 – the so-called “fracking bill” that paved the way for the shale gas industry and its related processes to maximize profit at the expense of our citizens and the ecosystems of our state.

Photo by Meenal Raval
Some things are the same as they were four years ago.  I’m wearing the same shirt.  I’m still outraged that the majority of our legislators and government officials have ignored the science about the damage being done by fracking.  And I’m seeing many of the same people who have stood in solidarity since this assault on our state began.

But some things are different.  The things we had warned about in terms of poisoned waters, fractured communities, disrupted forests and farmlands, and compromised public health have not only come to pass, but are much worse than we anticipated.  Especially regarding the effects of methane gas worsening the climate crisis, the intrusion of pipelines spreading like cancerous growth across our state, and the occurrence of earthquakes in other states taking our fracked water to dispose in injection wells.

Photo by Meena Raval

But the biggest difference I see is the increasing number of faith leaders and people from diverse religious and spiritual traditions who have stepped up to embrace their prophetic role and hold our elected leaders accountable.  That’s why we are here today.  We are calling on our legislators to listen to science and protect public health.  This is one area where science and religion are actually in agreement.  Whether you are from the city or the rural areas, whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, we can certainly all agree that there are values we all hold in common that warrant the strictest protection for our land, water, air, communities and the health of our citizens. 

As a Lutheran Christian, I believe in a God of justice and truth and put my faith not in corporations and temporary, corrupting wealth, but in the God who fights for the oppressed, the voiceless, and in those who stand on the side of righteousness.  This is our history and heritage as Americans.  We invite you to join us in standing in solidarity with those who suffer, calling our leaders to accountability, and living into the vision of a clean-energy future where all children, women, men, and Earth-kin may thrive.

Photo by Meena Raval

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