Scott Pruitt is a man of faith. As a deacon at First Baptist Church of the Broken Arrow and trustee of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, he has made his faith part of his everyday life. He has taken stands on religious liberty, distributed Bibles in public schools, and stated his support for pro-life issues. Because of this, I consider him my brother in Christ.
But when it comes to environmental policy, Pruitt needs a biblical refresher. President Donald Trump nominated Scott Pruitt, currently the Oklahoma attorney general, to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If Pruitt affirms the tenants of his faith by acting as a steward of the earth and protector of its most vulnerable inhabitants, he could succeed as EPA administrator. If not, we will all suffer.
If Scott Pruitt embraces his own self-described pro-life stance, he should fight to protect vulnerable lives from birth to natural death — the lives of children born and unborn, the elderly, and people of color — from environmental pollution. He should work tirelessly to ensure that everyone has clean water and air. He should strengthen, not eviscerate, an agency equipped to honor God’s mandate to steward and care for the creation.
As Oklahoma attorney general, however, he has done the opposite. He had the chance to protect people from pollution and the harms of climate change. Instead, he brought multiple lawsuits against the EPA to overturn measures that would safeguard clean water and air. He had the chance to defend policies that cut the power plant pollution that fuels climate change and pollutes our air. Instead, he cast doubt on climate science and downplayed the moral imperative to safeguard our climate and environment. He had a chance to assist EPA in its mission to protect public health. Instead, he questioned its mission entirely and sought to defend industry from regulation.
If confirmed, Pruitt should walk into the halls of the Environmental Protection Agency with the same conviction of faith with which he walks into First Baptist Church of the Broken Arrow. He should promote policies to guard clean water and clean air, to protect children from pollution, and to safeguard all of us from the impacts of a changing climate.
As a young evangelical, I urge Scott Pruitt to embrace the moral imperative to protect creation.
The Bible calls on the faithful to love God with our whole hearts, to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, and to protect “the least of these” from oppression and exploitation. Environmental degradation and climate change harms the most vulnerable among us — individuals and communities that live on the margins of our society. It inhibits our ability to love God by damaging the creation which God loves. It diminishes our ability to love our neighbor by threatening our neighbor’s livelihood and well-being.
As EPA administrator, will Scott Pruitt heed God’s call to protect the poor, to love our neighbors, to love God by stewarding his good creation? Will he prioritize the common good over private profit? Will he embrace and live out his Christian convictions, not just on Sundays, but every day at EPA?
I pray that he does.