A Wesleyan Case for Fossil Fuel Divestment

When Methodist related colleges and universities or other Methodist related institutions invest in fossil fuels, they are in direct violation of John Wesley’s three simple rules: 1. Do no harm, 2. do good, and 3. stay in love with God.

Methodist related institutions cannot invest in the industry most responsible for our ongoing and worsening climate crisis and claim to be doing no harm. Their investments are not only supporting both fossil fuel industry today, they are being used to further the development of a fossil fuel infrastructure that will keep society more dependent on fossil fuels for at least another generation – a dependence that neither we nor the rest of the planet can afford if we hope to avoid climate chaos. Doing no harm requires divestment from the fossil fuel industry.

No one can deny the great good that is achieved by so many Methodist related institutions, including our many schools, colleges, and universities. The service and education provided by these institutions continues to uphold the Wesleyan tradition of viewing the world as our parish, and in the case of higher education we might also say that the world is our campus. Methodism should rightly be proud of the good it is doing for the beloved community around the world, though there is certainly potential for doing better. Whatever good that we do, however, will be fleeting if we continue to be a part of hurling our world towards climate chaos through our investment in fossil fuels. Doing good requires our divestment from the fossil fuel industry.

Some might question what divesting from the fossil fuel industry has to do with staying in love with God. To those persons I would say that when Methodist related institutions of service and learning contribute to climate chaos, this does not express love for God. As Christians we recognize the very good Earth and all creation as the work and ongoing expression of God’s love. When we are involved in activities and support systems that dishonor God’s creation and that bring suffering and injustice to God’s creatures, we are not expressing love for God. If we truly want to stay in love with God, we must honor all of God’s creation and work for climate justice and environmental justice for all. Staying in love with God requires our divestment from the fossil fuel industry.

Three simple rules. One simple action. Divest from the fossil fuel industry now!

2 comments

  1. Mark, you are talking about the institutions of Methodist learning, and Wespath. On the individual level, some people can not afford electric cars.

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