Augustine on Environmental Justice and Eschatology in Revelation

Jonathan C. Augustine (Southern U. Law Center) has posted Environmental Justice and Eschatology in Revelation. The abstract follows.

The concept of environmental justice is not new. While some scholars and activists trace its origins as part of the ongoing American Civil Rights Movement—a movement which emerged within the interdisciplinary connection of law and religion—this Essay argues that the concept of environmental justice has deep origins in the Holy Bible. With a foundation in the Old Testament Hebrew scriptures, this Essay combines the disciplines of law and religion by arguing that the Book of Revelation should be read ecologically, as a clarion call to protect the environment in anticipation of the time the triune God will return to live on the planet earth, which will exist as a new heaven.

To support the thesis that the Book of Revelation calls members of Judeo-Christian faith traditions to be protective stewards of planet earth, this Essay is organized into five interconnected parts, undergirded by religious views on the environment and the concept of environmental justice. Part I is an introductory overview, which lays a foundation for the matters related to law, religion, and ecological eschatology detailed herein. Part II builds upon Part I by transitioning into a substantive analysis of environmental justice, as detailed by John in Revelation. Part III then moves in chronology from a time when Judeo-Christian morals influenced ecological eschatology, millennia before antiquity, by exploring the same influences on environmental justice in the post-modern era. Part IV outlines policy considerations related to the continuing environmental justice movement from a Judeo-Christian thought perspective. Finally, Part V of this Essay is a synthesis and conclusion, where the author attempts to harmonize the themes and theories detailed herein, all at the proverbial intersection of law and religion.

USCCB to Congress: Protect Food Aid & the Environment, Domestically & Internationally

On October 20, the Most Reverend Stephen E. Blaire, Bishop of Stockton, California, and the Most Reverend Howard J. Hubbard, Bishop of Albany, New York, penned a letter on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (“USCCB”) expressing concern about budget cuts to conservation, rural development, and international food-aid programs.

Bishop Blaire, the Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop Hubbard, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, wrote to emphasize that domestic and international budget considerations must take into account the “least of these” among us.  See Matthew, 25:40.  The letter focuses on the need, in determining government spending priorities, always to respect the fundamental right of the poor to adequate nutrition and the necessity of promoting responsible environmental stewardship.  The letter urges Congress, despite its legitimate fiscal concerns, not to lose sight of these priorities in its rush to cut spending.

Excerpts from the letter, addressed to the Chair and Ranking member of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, follow the jump. Read more

On Earth as in Heaven: Eastern Orthodoxy and Environmental Stewardship in Law and Policy

This month, Oxford University Press publishes On Earth as in Heaven: Ecological Vision and Initiatives of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, collecting the theological-environmental works of His All Holiness, Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch.  In this position, Patriarch Bartholomew is the spiritual leader of an estimated 300-million Orthodox Christians worldwide.  The Patriarch is also geographically situated to promote understanding and tolerance between Western Christianity, Eastern Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

Moreover, the Patriarch has championed an approach to environmental issues that combines spiritual command, scientific research, and political action.  For more on the Patriarch’s work in this area and specific undertakings, please follow the jump. Read more