Faith spurs odd union to battle House bill

Quoting the Bible and citing biology, a new coalition of Jews and Christians aims to sink a sweeping revision of the Endangered Species Act in Congress. “What would Noah do?” asks an advertisement by the Noah Alliance, which unites liberal rabbis, evangelical Protestants and scientists from San Diego to New Hampshire The group has been sponsoring TV, print and radio spots as legislators debate the nation’s keystone law for protection of plants and animals. It’s hard to gauge the alliance’s practical power in Washington, D.C., where interest groups are swarming over two California congressmen’s proposed changes to the 1973 law…

But the coming-together of theologically diverse thinkers underscores a growing practice: faith-based groups striving to influence political debates about ecology while more environmentalists are casting conservation issues in moral terms. It also highlights a schism among Christians over their role in environmental causes and provides an emerging area for church-and-state watchdogs to target.

“There is heaven by and by, but God has given us a marvelous creation and we are supposed to take care of it,” said Mike Mooring, a member of the Noah Alliance and a biology professor at Point Loma Nazarene University. “It’s a moral obligation.” The Noah Alliance isn’t the only religious group to wade into controversies about conservation. Recent faith-based initiatives have involved global warming, undeveloped land and recycling.

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