The Evangelical Climate Initiative
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Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 12:43:49 PM EST
It is good to see that The Evangelical Climate Initiative has received a great deal of media attention.
The interesting story here is that a group of relatively conservative Christians have come together to not only shake up the Republican status quo on environmental issues, but to directly challenge the loyal pro-Bush faction of the Christian Right.
The Bush loyalists felt it even necessary to write a letter to the National Evangelical Association to pressure them to not endorse this initiative. The NEA caved even though it is known that NEA's main leaders, Haggard and Cizik, agree with the initiative. Some quotes from the letter signed by Barton, Colson, Dobson, Kennedy, Land, Sheldon, and Wildmon:

We respectfully request, however, that the NAE not adopt any official position on the issue of global climate change. Global warming is not a consensus issue, and our love for the Creator and respect for His creation does not require us to take a position. [     ]

Evangelicals are to be first and foremost messengers of the good news of the gospel to a lost and dying world. We are to promote those things that please God and oppose those things in the world that clearly violate His righteous standard of conduct. We respectfully ask that the NAE carefully consider
all policy issues in which it might engage in the light of promoting unity among the Christian community and glory to God.

Translation: If you make a fuss about global warming you will interfere with our access to the Bush administration.

Some quotes from the statement released by the Evangelical Climate Initiative signed by Rick Warren, several academics from a Southern Baptist background and various other evangelicals:

We are proud of the evangelical community's long-standing commitment to the sanctity of human life. But we also offer moral witness in many venues and on many issues. Sometimes the issues that we have taken on, such as sex trafficking, genocide in the Sudan, and the AIDS epidemic in Africa, have surprised outside observers. While individuals and organizations can be called to concentrate on certain issues, we are not a single-issue movement. We seek to be true to our calling as Christian leaders, and above all faithful to Jesus Christ our Lord. Our attention, therefore, goes to whatever issues our faith requires us to address.

Translation: We are tired of the Christian Right's political power plays. We want to be free to practice Christianity as we see it.

We know that the Christian Left is beginning to increase their visibility as they offer fresh ways to understand and practice their faith. The Evangelical Climate Initiative is hopefully a sign that more conservative and moderate Christians are also beginning to offer their vision of Christianity independent from the political control of the Christian Right.

People who frequent the website of the Institute on Religion and Democracy - working to undermine and break up the mainline US
Protestant denominations - believe 2:1 that the uncertainties over Global Warming are too great to justify action.

Here's a link to the IRD's poll - which they've featured on the lefthand sidebar of their front page

by Bruce Wilson on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 02:57:51 PM EST

Speaking of the IRD, did you see their article?

A quote:

Wisdom added, "It would be unwise for evangelical churches to repeat the mistakes of liberal-led mainline denominations by adopting specific assessments--usually the most alarmist assessments--of the environmental situation and then lending their blessing to particular policy prescriptions--often statist and costly prescriptions.  Churches should be reluctant to attach the name of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to contemporary political agendas that lack a clear scriptural mandate and consensus among the faithful."

Wisdom expressed less concern about the 86 evangelicals who signed their own statement on climate change.  "These individuals mostly speak for themselves and not for churches," Wisdom said.  "I'm not sure that they all have such command of the science, and such certainty in long-range climatic predictions, and such clarity about the right policy that they should speak in such confident tones.  But I welcome debate among Christians on this and other important political issues, so long as the Gospel and the church are not unduly politicized."

The IRD is worried about politicizing the Gospel. Wow. I wonder if they have any idea how hypocritical they look.

by Carlos on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 03:09:21 PM EST

If a few hundred or thousand people meandered over to their site to vote "yes" on that poll ?

Would that impact their position ?

by Bruce Wilson on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 03:16:39 PM EST

For those interested in the attack on the the mainline denominations, unless a quiet deal is cut, there will be significant breaking news next week of improper use of Diocesan endowment funds in the Episcopal (Anglican) Diocese of Albany.  I can't say much more than that right now.  Just keep eyes peeled for breaking information.  

by tikkun on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 11:35:09 PM EST

Looks like the Evangelical group has done a 180"

Evangelical Association Decides not to fight global warming after all

You know all the fuss this past year over the evangelical Christian community becoming a powerful partner in the fight against climate change? Well, never mind. The 30-million-member National Association of Evangelicals had been expected to issue a public statement on the dangers of global warming, marking a potentially fatal rift in the right-leaning coalition of climate-change humbugs, but yesterday the organization said it's been unable to reach consensus on the issue and thus won't take a stand. The change of course came after NAE President Ted Haggard received a sternly worded letter last month from 22 Bush-friendly evangelical leaders, including James Dobson, pointing out that "Bible-believing evangelicals ... disagree about the cause, severity, and solutions to the global-warming issue." The subtext: Let's not forget on which side our bread is buttered. Amen.


by Lorie Johnson on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 09:12:29 PM EST

This may indicate that NAE head Ted haggard's committment to the environment mirrors what pols have suggested holds true for Americans in general : a mile wide and an inch deep.

by Bruce Wilson on Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 12:21:51 AM EST

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