Stop driving SUVs

There are many passages in the Bible that affirm an ethic of environmental stewardship. Much of Genesis and passages such as Psalms 8, 104, and 148, Job 38 and 39, and Romans 8:18-25 commands Christians to respect nature and to recognize the intrinsic value of its many creatures. By making room in his ark for all species, the Biblical hero Noah reaffirms the value of conservation. Given the environmental stewardship ethic advocated in the Bible, the National Council of Churches’ ad campaign “What would Jesus drive?” – a campaign that notes that Jesus would find sport utility vehicles immoral given the disproportionate environmental damage they cause and the availability of cleaner cars and minivans – is a wonderful expression of the Christian faith that all should celebrate. SUVs are an egregious affront to all of creation and it is time for Christians – and everyone else – to stop using them.

govenor-elect Tim Pawlenty learned a valuable lesson this week: Do not bite the hand that feeds you. Last year, as a Republican legislative leader, Pawlenty helped orchestrate budget cuts that obviated the $200,000 fund earmarked for gubernatorial transition expenses. Without these transition funds, the formation of the governor’s office staff and cabinet promised to be halting and incomplete. However, apparently without any strings attached, Minnesota’s Democratic Attorney General, Mike Hatch, donated $250,000 of his office’s budget to the Pawlenty transition effort. All Minnesotans should commend Hatch for his act of generosity and the smoother transition of state power that the gift will facilitate. Let us hope Pawlenty learns a few more lessons from this transition escapade, namely that budget cuts are not always in the state’s best interest and not all Democratic party initiatives are inefficient or selfish.

those disappointed by the failure of the second coming at the dawn of the year 2000 might have hope yet. The creator might walk among us; but it’s not some theological figure but two scientists. Craig Venter and Hamilton Smith are planning to create a single-celled organism unlike any currently alive. The organism will have an incomplete set of genes, but could quickly begin feeding and dividing so that it will reproduce, although it will be engineered so that it is incapable of surviving outside a petri dish. The creation of this synthetic organism requires society to pause and consider: Just because we can do something, should we?