Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Catholic and Evangelical Leaders Object to EPA Nominee

Pro-life Christians say Scott Pruitt will not protect the vulnerable

More than 70 Catholic and Evangelical leaders, backed by nearly 500 pro-life Christians from across the country, have written an Open letter to President-elect Trump asking him to withdraw the nomination of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and name someone with a better record of protecting human life from pollution.

The full letter is below, along with the names of the 70 faith leaders (to add your name, go to

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, President/CEO, The Evangelical Environmental Network, New Freedom, PA

The Rev. Dr. Jim Ball, Executive Vice-President, The Evangelical Environmental Network, Vienna, VA

Dr. Carol Bechtel, PhD, Professor of Old Testament, Western Theological Seminary, Holland, MI

Rev. Edward R. Brown, Executive Director, Care of Creation Inc., Madison, WI

Rev. Jenna L Brandsen, Pastor of Formation, Pillar Church, Holland, MI

Dr. Thomas Boogaart, Professor of Old Testament, Western Theological Seminary, Holland, MI

Rev. Randy Buursma, Senior Pastor, First Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI

The Rev. Dr. Dan Boone, President Trevecca Nazarene University, Nashville, TN

Byron Borger, Hearts and Minds, Dallastown, PA

Jeffrey P. Bouman, PhD, Director, Service-Learning Center, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI

Dr. Janel Curry, Former Board Chair, The Evangelical Environment Network, Wenham, MA

The Rev. Dr. Phil Covert, Associate Pastor, Pine Grove Church, York, PA

Kellan Day, Postulant for the Holy Orders (Episcopal Church), Sewanee, TN

David L. Dornbos Jr., Ph.D., Professor of Biology, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI

Jim Furnish, Former Deputy Chief, U.S. Forest Service, Silver Spring, MD

Rev. Justin Fung, Pastor of Teaching and Formation, District Church, Washington DC

Rick Gasaway, Author, An Inconvenient Purpose, Kansas City, KS

Luke Gascho, Ed.D., Director, Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center, Goshen College, Goshen, IN

Jeff Greenberg, PhD, Professor of Geology, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL

Herbert Grover, PhD, Former Dean of Mathematics and Sciences, Wayland Baptist University, Plainview, TX

Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox, President & CEO, Evangelical Environmental Network, New Freedom, PA

Cal Hickey, Creation Care Champion, Winchester, VA

Rev. Elizabeth Vander Haagen, Boston Square Christian Reformed Church, Boston, MA

Becky R. Haney, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI

Matthew Kuperus Heun, Engineering Department, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI

Joel Hogan, Director of International Ministries, Christian Reformed World Missions, Grand Rapids, MI

Roland Hoksbergen, PhD, Professor of Economics and International Development, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI

Kermit Hovey, Director of Operations and Development, Care of Creation, Inc., Madison, WI

Rev. Jeffrey Hubers, Associate Pastor of Youth and Worship, Mitchell, SD

Cheryl Bridges Johns, PhD, Professor of Spiritual Renewal and Christian Formation, Pentecostal Theological Seminary, Cleveland, TN

Joseph Kuilema, PhD, MSW, Assistant Professor of Social Work, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI

Han-luen Kantzer Komline, Assistant Professor of Church History and Theology, Western Theological Seminary, Holland, MI

Rev. Kate Kooyman, Immigration Organizer, Christian Reformed Church of North America, Grand Rapids, MI

Henry H. Knight III, Donald and Pearl Wright Professor of Wesleyan Studies, Saint Paul School of Theology, Overland Park, KS

Tom Lawrence, PhD, Senior Public Service Associate, University of Georgia, Athena, GA

John Lyon, President, World Hope International, Alexandria, VA

Rev. David McCullough, Church Consultant, York, PA

Rev. Dr. Suzanne McDonald, PhD, Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology, Western Theological Seminary, Holland, MI

Brother Brian McLauchlin, SVD, Divine Word Missionaries, Epworth, IA

Jonathan Merritt, faith and culture writer, senior columnist, Religion News Service, New York, NY

Douglas J. Moo, PhD, Wessner Chair of Biblical Studies, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL

David Neff, Christianity Today (Retired), Baltimore, MD

Rev. Tim Olsen, Executive Director, Ground Works-Midwest, Sioux Falls, SD

Rev. Efrain Pineda, Founder, R.E.D. Pastors & Leaders Conference; senior pastor, Christian Life Center, Amarillo, TX

Rev. Charles Redfern, Writer, Hebron, CT

Scott Sabin, Executive Director, Plant with Purpose, San Diego, CA

Noah Toly, PhD, Director, Center for Urban Engagement, Wheaton College, IL

Bill Patenaude, Co-Founder, Global Catholic Climate Movement, author,

Rev. JD Punch, Senior Pastor, Calvary Church, Holland, MI

Dr. Scott Rodin, President, The Steward's Journey, Spokane, WA

Dr. Thomas Roose, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics & Science Education; Chair, Physics Department, Trinity Christian College, Palos Heights, IL

John Roe, Professor of Mathematics, Penn State University, State College, PA

Sue A. Rozeboom, Assistant Professor of Liturgical Theology, Western Theological Seminary, Holland, MI

Scott Sabin, Executive Director, Plant With Purpose, San Diego, CA

Kyle Meyaard-Schaap, National Organizer and Spokesperson, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, Ann Arbor, MI

Dr. Ron Sider, President Emeritus, Evangelicals for Social Action, Lynwood, PA

Rev. Dr. Joel Scandrett, Assistant Professor of Historical Theology; Director, Robert E. Webber Center, Trinity School of Ministry, Ambridge, PA

Lynn Setsma, Office of Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI

Rev. Chris Charles Scott, Nevada Green Pastors Association, Las Vegas, NV

Nancy Sleeth, Managing Director, Blessed Earth, Wilmore, KY

Howard Snyder, Professor Emeritus, Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, KY

Rev. Jeremy Summers, Pastor, The Wesleyan Church, Atlanta, GA

Jonathan Twining, Assistant Professor Biology, Eastern Nazarene College, Quincy, MA

Peter Vander Meulen, Coordinator, Office of Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church in North America, Grand Rapids, MI

Fred Van Dyk, PhD, Executive Director, Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies, Mancelona, MI

Brian Webb, Director, Climate Caretakers

Rev. Travis West, Assistant Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament, Western Theological Seminary, Holland, MI

Rev. Jim Wallis, Founder and Editor of Sojourners magazine, Washington, DC

Lisa Rodriguez Watson, Development Director and Assistant to the CEO, Christian Community Development Association, Washington DC

*Signatories are acting as individuals and organizational affiliations are provided for identification purposes only.


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