The National Association of Evangelicals has not only reportedly “rebuffed” James Dobson’s call to censure their man’s trumpet warnings about climate change, but this weekend reaffirmed a 2004 position paper committing to, among other things, eradicating poverty and what it calls “creation care” – that is being stewards of God’s planet.
The 30-million member evangelical group’s action (or in this case non-action) comes after Dobson, of Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, and other hard-right Christian leaders demanded that the NAE stick to “traditional” issues, like abortion and same sex marriage. As Colorado Confidential reported last week, the rift has grown, in recent years, into a schism separating Christian activists.
The news, that the NAE has no plans to discipline Richard Cizik, its vice president of government affairs, for his outspoken stance on climate change, comes as the Associated Press is reporting that “the harmful effects of global warming on daily life are already showing up, and within a couple of decades hundreds of millions of people won’t have enough water.”The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change draft report, focusing on the effects of global change, was written by more than 1,000 scientists and is scheduled to be unveiled in Brussels next month.
Some influential conservative Christian leaders, like Dobson, along with Don Wildmon of the American Family Association, Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, Paul Weyrich of Coalitions for America and Gary L. Bauer of the group American Values, continue to maintain that global warming is “unproven.” Many others, including the signors of the 2004 evangelical Christian Health of the Nations position statement, have placed a high priority on the environment, poverty, overpopulation, and other social issues.
And, the group has made it clear that just because they have tagged global warming as a major threat, that does not make them “liberals.” In fact, they have posted an official statement answering that very question:
Does addressing climate change mean we’re becoming liberals?
No. We believe that creating a better future for our children and grandchildren by fulfilling our biblical call to stewardship and love of neighbor through reducing pollution is simply being a good biblical Christian. Climate change is not a liberal issue. It is a profound problem for people Jesus loves, people Jesus died to save.
Cara DeGette is a longtime Colorado journalist and a senior fellow at Colorado Confidential. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.