Clergy send letter in support of monument

Las Cruces Sun-News report
April 27, 2012

LAS CRUCES — More than a dozen members of the clergy representing a broad diversity of faiths and congregations in Southern New Mexico sent a letter to President Obama on Friday urging him to support a national monument for the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region.

In the letter, clergy urge the president to create the monument on the grounds that the Organ, Potrillo, and Uvas Mountains are a crucial piece of the area’s culture and heritage, key to job creation and economic growth for the region’s residents, and are the gateway to New Mexico for generations of settlers and pilgrims, according to a news release.

Bishop Ricardo Ramirez said it’s important for people of faith to speak up on this issue.

“God gave us dominion over the land to act as stewards of it, not to ruin it and exploit it,” he said. “It does not bode well for our role as stewards of the land if we cannot collectively preserve this touchstone to our past and our history.”

Vince Petersen, pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Tortugas, said, “People of faith recognize that we are all responsible for taking care of God’s natural gifts and we all have a role to play in preserving these lands.”

The clergy members were meeting as a part of an event sponsored locally by New Mexico Communities in Action and Faith (CAFé), a faith-based non-profit community organization based in southern New Mexico that works on poverty issues and helping low- and moderate-income families shape public policy.