'Green patriarch' leads symposium on river

Religion News Service

NEW ORLEANS -- It is the religious duty of Orthodox Christians to protect an environment harmed by natural disasters and society’s modern way of life, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I said here Oct. 21.

“We are living in a moment in history when we must work for solutions in faith, in love, in hope, and in responsibility,” said Bartholomew, who is spiritual leader of nearly 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide.

Speaking from a balcony overlooking the Mississippi River, the subject of a weeklong conference of religious, political and academic leaders convened by the patriarch, Bartholomew kicked off the event by saying that the river is in need of repair -- just as the city is.

“The river is a microcosm of our planet,” he said. “In the water we observe many of the world’s ecological issues.”

Faith drives activism for gay rights supporters

WASHINGTON -- As thousands of gays and lesbians prepare to march on the nation's capital to push for equal rights, leaders from a range of faiths say it's time to stop using religion as a weapon to oppose same-sex marriage.

What's more, advocates for gay rights say their faith and a sacred belief in justice are what actually form the foundation of their support for gay and lesbian unions.