Where Would Jesus Frack?

by Myron Ebell on January 18, 2012

in Blog, Features

Post image for Where Would Jesus Frack?

A Christian minister’s zeal in Pennsylvania to save Mother Earth from the indignities of hydraulic fracturing has caused her to go a bit too far.  Claiming that Jesus would oppose all fracking, the Rev. Leah Schade told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “God put human beings into the Garden to till it and keep it, not drill and poison it.”

The Rev. Schade overlooks the fact that we’re no longer living in the Garden of Eden, but in a world in which the hunter-gatherer lifestyle really won’t work for most people.  If Jesus really wants us not to disturb the ground, then there goes industrial civilization, which is based on digging stuff up.

(By the way, the Tribune-Review article describes the Rev. Schade as being a Lutheran pastor and also as ministering to a United Church of Christ congregation in Union County, Pennsylvania.  The United Church of Christ is the major denomination of Congregationalists, whose roots go back to the Calvinism of New England’s Puritan settlers, not to Martin Luther.  The green religion has taken hold in both Congregationalism and Lutheranism, as it has in many branches of Christianity.)

Below is the story in full.

HARRISBURG – A Lutheran pastor yesterday told environmentalists that there is a scriptural basis for opposing Marcellus Shale drilling and legislation pending in both state houses to regulate it.

The Rev. Leah Schade, pastor of the United in Christ Church in Union County, wore a hand-sewn white patch that said, “WWJF – Where Would Jesus Frack?” and dropped to her knees to demonstrate the power of prayer.

Asked later to answer the question on her blouse, Schade said, “I don’t believe Jesus would be fracking anywhere.” She cited Genesis 2;15. “God put human beings into the Garden to till it and keep it, not drill and poison it,” Schade said.

The Bible also counsels people to look out “for the least of these,” Schade said.

She was one of many speakers at a Capitol rally to oppose proposed legislation that would pre-empt local zoning in locating and regulating deep natural-gas wells. The groups attending were as varied as Clean Water Action and the Sierra Club. The legislation is pending in a conference committee of House-Senate negotiators. “Kill, the bill! Kill the bill!” people chanted.

Roberta Winters, speaking on behalf of the League of Women Voters, said the league “is appalled” that the General Assembly is considering H.B. 1950 and S.B. 1100.

“Pennsylvanians act locally to protect their communities,” Winters said. “Local ordinances reflect local values. . . . Elected officials need to be responsive to their constituents who vote, and not to corporate lobbyists who peddle financial influence.”

James January 18, 2012 at 10:34 pm

It’s United in Christ Lutheran Church in West Milton Pa. Has no affiliation with United Church of Christ. 100% Lutheran of the ELCA and it does go back to Martin Luther. Just for your information. It’s even a pretty neat story how they got their name.

Veronica February 8, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Rev. Schade is a thoughtful woman- well educated and currently completing her PhD. As a individual that lives near the banks of the Susquehanna River in Union County, AND who owns property under lease for gas exploration in Tioga County I have great respect for her knowledge on the topic of fracking and theology. Rev. Schade serves her ELCA congregation as Pastor and is fast becoming a leader in the community. I understand her position fracking, and struggle to reconcile what I have learned about fracking with the contract we signed more than 5 years ago. We have not profited from the gas industry- they have been far more interested in our neighbor’s land than ours and our financial gains total less than a mortgage payment each year. There are many reasons- financial, ecological, and social- to urge caution before advocating hydraulic fracturing. Some day I hope to build a home on our property in Tioga County, but I worry that the ground will have been harmed beyond repair before then. Without clean water we will have nothing. Fracking uses clean water to spoil the very ground it flows from. The situation demands better technology for the extraction of natural gas. But wouldn’t it be ultimately more fruitful to dedicate our efforts toward making renewable energy available and affordable for widespread use?

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