United Methodist Church, 1988, 2000
God’s covenant with humanity affirms that God is involved in the healing of individuals (Proverbs 3:7-8) and includes the mandate to protect the community from dangers that threaten the health and safety of the people. At the beginning of Methodism, John Wesley provided medicine and medical treatment at no cost to the poor in London and Bristol. In addition to pioneering free dispensaries in England, Wesley emphasized prevention of illness. In his book Primitive Physic, he dealt with nutrition and hygiene, as well as treatment of the sick. The first Social Creed, adopted by the 1908 General Conference of The Methodist Episcopal Church, declared that workers must be protected "from dangerous machinery, occupational disease, injuries, and mortality," and that working conditions must be regulated to safeguard the physical and moral health of the community. Today as well, the church is called to declare that the health of every individual is part of community health, including safe and healthy conditions in places where people work. The church has a responsibility to pronounce clearly the implications of God’s law of love for human health. Where human life and health are at stake, economic gain must not take precedence.
For more information on mainline Protestant perspectives on environmental health: