WATERLOO, ONT. – Religious people should make the preservation of the planet their first step in expressing their love for God, says former senator Douglas Roche.
"I do not believe that God created the world in order for it to be blown up by nuclear weapons, sullied by environmental degradation, or huge numbers of its inhabitants denied the fundamental requisites of human life and dignity," Roche said in his June 14 address to the convocation of St. Jerome's University.
Roche, the founding editor of the WCR, challenged the university's graduating students to work for peace and social justice.
"Peace is at the centre of our faith, the longing in our hearts, the greatest need in the world," he said.
A culture of peace, he said, "rejects violence of all kinds and fosters respect for life and the dignity and human rights of all people.
"It seeks social justice, or at least a more equitable distribution of the world's resources and goods than now obtains."
Roche spoke of a growing global conscience that challenges all to face four "over-arching questions:
Why is there so much starvation when there is so much food in the world?
Why are we polluting the atmosphere and waters and producing global warming when we have the technology to avoid this?
Why do we tolerate the existence of nuclear weapons, which threaten to destroy the processes of life?
Why do we have the United Nations and then refuse to empower it to stop wars and end starvation?
World politics, business, communications and nature are helping to build a single global society, he said.
Roche urged religious people to join "enthusiastically" with secular humanists to promote a global ethic that centres on the well-being of humanity.