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David Hales
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June 2016

Parliament Calls for Universal Rejection of Trump Censorship

posted on 2017-01-27, 11:50 am

A Public Statement from David F. Hales, Trustee of the Parliament and Chair of the Parliament of the World’s Religions Climate Action Task Force

CHICAGO, IL, USA - JANUARY 27, 2017 - The Parliament of the World’s Religions, in its continuing commitment to address issues of environmental degradation and climate change, expresses its urgent concern about reports that the new United States Administration is curtailing the free flow of scientific information and restricting the related exchange of ideas on these crucial problems.

History is replete with examples of those who have attempted in vain to deny scientific facts and restrict access to scientific knowledge in order to achieve their own political agenda.

Now, the United States of America is undergoing such a time when its new President, Donald Trump, ​seems to deny the reality of human-caused climate change, while ​seeking to suppress information and research on ​the consequences of climate change for humanity and the quality of life on earth. ​There also appear to be systematic attempts to intimidate those with whom the Administration disagrees and to stifle scientific research and knowledge which is demonstrably in the interest of the public.

In light of these alarming developments, the Parliament of the World’s Religions, in keeping with its 2015 Declaration on Climate Change, concludes that it is our religious and moral imperative to oppose any actions to censor or repress scientific research, knowledge and facts. We urge religious leaders and people of all spiritual orientations to join us in strongly opposing any efforts to curtail active, peer-reviewed research or any effort to restrict access to sound science.

We call for all executive orders, White House directives and Congressional actions that will repress science, control knowledge and disrupt the free flow of public information on climate change and related data to be rescinded, and we call upon the United States Congress to enact policies that guarantee the freedom of research, and its dissemination, on these issues.

The Parliament welcomes the support of religious leaders, spiritual communities, and all those who are moved by the following guiding words from our Interfaith Call to Action on Climate Change:

  • We are profoundly interconnected with nature, on which we depend for our existence.
  • We must respect and care for nature and all life.
  • We assert and defend the dignity and rights of every human being.
  • We must provide for the needs and well-being of all people.
  • We must act with love and compassion and for justice and fairness.
  • We are morally responsible for our chosen actions.
  • We have duties to future generations, who will bear the consequences of our action or inaction.

We, the Parliament of the World’s Religions, commit ourselves to take action and to act together, as one human community.
 

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The mission of the Parliament of the World’s Religions is to cultivate harmony among the world’s spiritual traditions and to foster their engagement with guiding institutions in order to achieve a more peaceful, just and sustainable world. Its origins are rooted to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where the historic first convening of the World Parliament of Religions created a global platform for engagement of religions of the east and west. Headquartered in Chicago, Il, USA, the Parliament of the World’s Religions is an international 501c3 NGO affiliated to the United Nations Department of Public Information.

The Parliament hosts the world’s premier interfaith convening in cities across the globe. Past Parliaments have convened in Chicago, IL, USA; Cape Town, South Africa; Barcelona, Spain; Melbourne, Australia; and Salt Lake City, USA. The host city and dates of the forthcoming 7th convening of the Parliament of the World’s Religions to be held in 2018 are soon to be announced.

About David Hales: 

David Hales served as President of the College of the Atlantic, Chair and President of Second Nature, the managing organization of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, and as Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He led environmental policy and sustainability programs for the US Agency for International Development. As a diplomat, he has represented the USA in numerous negotiations on climate change, urban affairs and policy, and biodiversity. He served in the Carter administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior. He was the first American to serve as Chair of the World Heritage Convention. He is serves on the Board of Trustees of the Parliament of the World’s Religions and as Chair of its Climate Action Task Force.
 
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