Briefcase: Religious Environmentalism

Guest: Tracy Hester

The U.S. Supreme Court has protected religiously motivated actions in denying health care coverage and refusing to hire certain employees.  Tracy Hester, with the University of Houston Law Center, lectures on environmental law and discusses what this means for environmental protection.

“We’ve seen an increase in churches and communities protecting the environment and stewarding nature as a divine creation,” Professor Hester said. “Federal and state laws now give expanded power and deference to religiously motivated actions to protect the environment as an expression of faith.”

Hester says this hasn’t yet affected any decisions by the courts. “But, environmental groups, Indian tribes, and churches have already used these new legal protections to fight pipeline construction and overturn city bans on church-owned solar power systems,” he continued. “These fights will only multiply as evangelical environmentalism gathers steam.”