Before Royal Wedding Sermon, Rev. Curry Stood With Standing Rock Pipeline Opponents
Bishop Michael Curry, who delivered a passionate wedding sermon to royal newlyweds Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday, also gave a powerful message about two years ago to Dakota Access Pipeline protesters at Standing Rock, North Dakota.
On Sept. 24, 2016 at the Oceti Sakowin Camp, the reverend offered the Episcopal Church's solidarity with the water protectors, noting that, "Water is a gift of the Creator. We must protect it. We must conserve it. We must care for it."
"If we are God's children and this Earth is God's creation, then let us not tear one another asunder and let us not tear this Earth asunder," he said in an impassioned speech.
Ruth Hopkins, a Dakota and Lakota Sioux writer, and Levi Rickert, the publisher and editor of Native News Online, separately made the observation over the weekend.
Bishop Curry gave a sermon at the #RoyalWedding. Here he is at Standing Rock in September 2016 standing in solidari… https://t.co/fqTIC48SOI— R u t h H o p k i n s (@R u t h H o p k i n s)1526864662.0
Curry, the first African-American presiding bishop of the American Episcopal Church, also drew similarities between the Standing Rock movement to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, during which African Americans faced beatings from "angry mobs" during the Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches.
"Selma was a turning point in the struggle for civil and human rights in this country," Curry said. "And I want to suggest now that Standing Rock may be the new Selma."
Protests over Energy Transfer Partners' contentious oil pipeline was occasionally marked by terrible violence, with law enforcement using teargas, rubber bullets and even water cannons on the demonstrators.
During his visit to the reservation, Curry also spent an hour listening to people's hopes for the protest and for the church's role in supporting the pipeline opponents, the church said.
Despite months of protests, the Dakota Access Pipeline began transporting crude oil last spring not long after President Trump's reversed an Obama-era decision that halted the project. The system has already caused several spills.
Environmental stewardship is a core value the American Episcopal Church. In June, Rev. Curry reinforced the church's commitment to the goals of the Paris agreement after President Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the global climate accord.
"The United States has been a global leader in caring for God's creation through efforts over the years on climate change. President Trump's announcement changes the U.S.'s leadership role in the international sphere," Curry said in a statement then.
"Despite this announcement, many U.S. businesses, states, cities, regions, nongovernmental organizations and faith bodies like the Episcopal Church can continue to take bold action to address the climate crisis. The phrase, 'We're still in,' became a statement of commitment for many of us who regardless of this decision by our President are still committed to the principles of the Paris agreement."
In his royal wedding sermon over the weekend, Curry referenced Martin Luther King, Jr. and preached about the power of love changing the world. Similarly, at Standing Rock two years ago, the bishop also quoted MLK's famous words from Alabama's Birmingham jail.
"The truth of the matter is, we are all interconnected, we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny," Curry said.
Environmental causes appear to be important to the new royal couple. Markle wore an evening dress designed by eco-friendly designer Stella McCartney and Prince Harry, whose family is very dedicated to a range of conservation issues, drove a converted electric Jaguar for their wedding reception.
The couple also requested that in lieu of gifts, well-wishers donate to seven charities, including two environmental groups: Surfers Against Sewage and The Wilderness Foundation UK, CNN reported.
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It is undisputed that vitamin D plays a role everywhere in the body and performs important functions. A severe vitamin D deficiency, which can occur at a level of 12 nanograms per milliliter of blood or less, leads to severe and painful bone deformations known as rickets in infants and young children and osteomalacia in adults. Unfortunately, this is where the scientific consensus ends.
Where Does the Deficiency Begin?<p>Nobody knows exactly how much vitamin D a person actually needs. The question of when a deficiency starts is correspondingly controversial. However, vitamin D is becoming increasingly popular.Not only is the pseudo-scientific literature on the "sun vitamin" experiencing an upswing, but the number of published studies has also increased enormously in recent years. For example, in 2019 <a href="https://academic.oup.com/edrv/article/40/4/1109/5126915" target="_blank">a study found that</a> Vitamin D is responsible for keeping the skeleton functional and is associated with cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer. <br></p>
An All-Rounder<p>Vitamin D levels in the body rise and fall according to sun exposure. If sufficient UV rays reach the skin, the body is able to produce the vitamin itself. However, the human body only derives an estimated 10 to 20 percent of its daily requirement from food.</p><p>The vitamin D that we synthesize from sunlight or food is not biologically active at first. Before the kidneys can produce the biologically active form of the vitamin, known as calcitriol, and release it into the blood, some metabolic processes must take place beforehand.</p><p>In addition, many organs have receptors to which the precursor of calcitriol binds. Further, this substance is also present in blood.</p><p>From this precursor, the organs then produce calcitriol themselves, which the body then uses for countless other processes in the body. This form of vitamin D thus regulates insulin secretion, inhibits tumor growth, and promotes the formation of red blood cells as well as the survival and activity of macrophages, which are important for the <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/7/2502/htm" target="_blank">immune system.</a></p>
Low Vitamin D, Severe COVID-19 Disease?<p>A research study carried out <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352364620300067?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">at the University of Hohenheim</a> has now established a link between vitamin D deficiency, certain previous diseases, and severe cases of COVID-19.</p><p>According to the study, "there is a lot of evidence that several non-communicable diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome) are associated with low vitamin D plasma levels. These comorbidities, together with the often accompanying vitamin D deficiency, increase the risk of severe COVID-19 events."</p><p>"This statement is completely correct," said Martin Fassnacht, head of endocrinology at the University Hospital of Würzburg. However, he qualifies that it is a pure association, "i.e. a mere observation that these events occur together.</p><p>Dr. Fassnacht is very critical of the hype surrounding vitamin D, but not because he denies the vitamin serves important functions. However, studies on humans have not been able to show that vitamin D has the healing powers many often propagate.</p><p>Fassnacht says, "If you take a closer look, the hopes that the administration of vitamin D has a healing effect have not been confirmed so far."</p>
Association Versus Intervention Studies<p>Many studies on the vitamin are association or observational studies. "By definition, these studies cannot prove the causal relationship, but only point to mere correlations," said Fassnacht. The physician tries to illustrate this with an example:</p><p>"Imagine two groups of 80-year-olds. One group is spry, active and does sports. If you compare them with another group living in nursing homes, the difference in vitamin D levels will be dramatic. Life expectancy would also be extremely different."</p><p>But to try to explain the difference in fitness by vitamin D status alone is far too simplistic. "Vitamin D levels are a good measure of how sick someone is. But not more," says Fassnacht. </p><p>According to Fassnacht, none of the intervention studies carried out to date -- that specifically examined the effect of vitamin D on various diseases -- has been able to confirm the previous association and laboratory studies or the presumed positive effect of vitamin D.</p>
Further Research Is Needed<p>"If a coronavirus infection is suspected, it is therefore absolutely necessary to check the vitamin D status and quickly correct any possible deficit," said the recommendation of the paper published by the University of Hohenheim.</p><p>"Studies are underway to see whether vitamin D helps in COVID-19 infection, but I personally do not believe that this is really the case," says endocrinologist Fassnacht. Nevertheless, he says it is of course useful to carry out these studies.<br></p><p>"I don't want to rule out that there are actually subgroups of people who benefit from an additional vitamin D dose," he says. After all, this has been proven to be the case with a severe deficit.</p><p>In view of the study situation, Fassnacht does not think much of preventive, nationwide vitamin D substitutes. "My belief that the vitamin helps somewhere is very low. But, of course, I can be wrong."</p>
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