Published on March 30th, 2019 |
by Steve Hanley
March 30th, 2019 by Steve Hanley
Religion and politics can be an explosive combination. A number of religious organizations, including Tennessee Interfaith Power And Light, have presented a petition to a local Ford dealer asking Ford Motor Company to support the fuel economy standards put in place by the Obama administration.
There is not a chance in hell of that happening, as Ford and every other major car maker in America has cravenly begged the Trump maladministration to roll back those standards — even though they all agreed to them back in 2012. If left unaltered, the regulations would hamper their ability to build ever larger and thirstier trucks and SUVs for American consumers who feel they have a God given right to plunder the Earth for their own personal benefit.
Let’s see: protect the human race from extinction or drive a big hulking gas guzzling machine to work and back? That’s an easy choice for most people. The only question is, what’s better for me, me, me. Case closed.
On March 28, United Methodist Women, Tennessee United Methodist Women, and Tennessee Interfaith Power and Light went to Wyatt Johnson Ford in Nashville to speak with Katherine Cannata, who heads the dealership. They asked her to forward a number of letters they call collectively “Faith To Ford” directly to the company.
The groups want Ford to endorse the following statement: “We at Ford support and will implement the federal greenhouse gas reduction and fuel efficiency Clean Car Standards as they were adopted in 2012. We do not support any effort to roll back their benefits, whether through policymaking, legislation or litigation. We do not support the federal administration’s proposal for a weaker clean car standard.”
“I support you. I support Ford. I support the environment,” said Cannata. “I especially support The United Methodist Church. I grew up Methodist. My dad helped rebuild Madison Street United Methodist Church in Clarksville after a tornado. I will send the letter to Ford on your behalf.”
The letter delivery effort is part of the United Methodist Women’s “Just Energy for All” campaign, which seeks to highlight and end the harmful impacts of climate change on children and frontline communities.
“The United States emits 15 percent of greenhouse gases annually, even though we only represent just four percent of the world’s population,” said Harriett Jane Olson, CEO, United Methodist Women. “This is not the time for Ford Motor Company to retreat from its full support of the clean car standards that not only reduce air pollution but save families money at the pump.”
“We are uniting with other people of faith to urge Ford Motor Co. and its dealerships to recommit to the achievable Clean Car Standards that they once supported,” said Shannon Priddy, president, United Methodist Women. “We’re asking the company to do so for the common good of God’s Creation and our most vulnerable communities that suffer most from pollution and the effects of climate change.”
“Tailpipe pollution is a major contributor of air pollution. It has been linked to a variety of health problems, including aggravating asthma and other respiratory, cardiovascular conditions, and even premature death,” said Margaret Howell, president, Edgehill United Methodist Women in Nashville. “We are called by our faith to try to protect creation and protect life. That is why we want Ford to stop all efforts to weaken the clean car standards.”
“Undoubtedly, the health of low-income families and communities of the black and brown population is disproportionately damaged by tailpipe pollution,” said Rita L. Smith, president of the North Central Jurisdiction United Methodist Women. “Rolling back fuel economy and emissions standards means denying low-income children the promise of cleaner air and healthier communities – financially and environmentally.”
Despite the venom spewing from the lips of Senate majority leader Bitch McConnell about the Green New Deal proposal from Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the religious groups in Tennessee and what AOC are asking for are the same thing — stop poisoning our bodies and our environment with fossil fuel pollution.
“The efforts to roll back America’s clean car standards will force American families to give billions of dollars to oil companies for gasoline for the privilege of driving less-efficient vehicles, instead of spending the savings from more-efficient vehicles on food, housing, medical care and other things families need,” said Dan Joranko, coordinator for Tennessee Interfaith Power and Light.