The Rev. Jonathan Barker, an activist pastor working in Kenosha’s inner city, said Friday he is embarking on a 12-day fast in support of the Green New Deal.
Barker, who last week protested at a Department of Natural Resources hearing regarding We Energies’ coal-fired Oak Creek power plant, has also been active in Kenosha pushing for more aid for the homeless.
The Grace Lutheran Church pastor said he will abstain from all food and drink, except for water and taking Holy Communion, in order to draw attention to the impacts of climate change.
He said he chose 12 days because the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the world has 12 years to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions to keep the Earth’s climate below the “catastrophic level of 1.5 degrees warming.”
“I saw American teenagers boldly getting arrested in the Capitol and European teenagers boldly going on strike and realized that I was not taking this issue seriously enough,” he said. “Now is the time for decision and bold action.”
The Green New Deal is a resolution supported by some members of Congress calling for “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.” It also includes provision regarding health care, housing and labor protections.
“Jesus would support the Green New Deal,” Barker said. “At the heart of Jesus’ teaching, and his ministry, is the command to love our neighbor as yourself. At the heart of the Green New Deal, and in each of its proposals, is loving your neighbor.”
Barker said he realizes the Green New Deal is not supported by many lawmakers, but he said “that for 2,000 years, powered by God’s spirit and love, we have accomplished so much as Christians, often beyond what seemed possible at the time, to create a better world.”
“Now is the time for our generation of Christians to stand up for the Green New Deal so that our neighbors will be protected from fires, hurricanes, droughts and destruction caused by climate change.
“Christianity gives us the tools to engage this movement and seize this moment: prayer, fasting, bold faith, preaching, writing, marching, boycotting, organizing and holding to hope that God goes with us in our visions of love and struggles for justice. We are going to need all of this to bring the Green New Deal forward.”