God's Politics

God's Politics


Jim Rice: Evangelicals and Creation Care

posted by gp_intern

David Gushee thinks he understands why some conservative evangelicals have opposed “creation care” (i.e., taking care of the environment). He writes:

… it seems to me that those who resist creation care sometimes are motivated by a misreading of scripture. I have been in conversations where people suggest that stewardship primarily means mastery of earth to use it as we please or need; or that human beings do not have the power to do real harm to creation; or that God has promised ever since Noah never to allow humans to do serious harm to creation; or that the earth will be destroyed by fire anyway, and soon, so what we do now to the earth isn’t really all that significant.

He goes on to name three other factors that have led to this conservative opposition to protecting our earth: a “profound mishandling of science,” an “inordinate loyalty to laissez-faire capitalism,” and an “inordinate loyalty to political leaders.”

He concludes:

I believe that all of these ideas are erroneous, and that we need to keep working deeply on the theology of creation care to move beyond them.

Gushee is convinced that if the great body of evangelical Christians get behind creation care, “our nation’s culture and politics will change rapidly,” which he thinks “will be one of the best contributions we will ever make to this country and to the world.”

Jim Rice is editor of Sojourners magazine.



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kevin s.

posted May 31, 2007 at 6:11 pm


I have seldom heard anyone say that what we do to the earth is not significant. This does not contribute to any real discussion.



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Billy Strain

posted May 31, 2007 at 7:01 pm


I think the reason many in the leadership of the Religious Right tend to fight this trend is that they see it as a threat to their political hegemony. They fear, no doubt, this might fragement their ranks and take away political support from the things they are consumed with, namely abortion and gay-marriage. It is only right, though, that christians should be concerned about this. We all drink the same water, we all breathe the same air, and we all eat the food our earth produces. Whatever our religious or political pursuasions, common sense should tell us that we should take what steps are needed to keep our world as clean and liveable as possible. After all, this is the only planet we’ve got. If we wear this one out, there ain’t nowhere else to go.



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Carl Copas

posted May 31, 2007 at 7:02 pm


I’d like to see more discussion of Gushee’s “three other factors.”



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Jeff

posted May 31, 2007 at 7:11 pm


I’ve been a “conservative evangelical” pastor for 20 years and have never met another pastor, church member, or church official who was pro dirty water, air and food. This looks like another SoJo straw man.



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D4P

posted May 31, 2007 at 7:53 pm


never met another pastor, church member, or church official who was pro dirty water, air and food That misses the point. They clearly prefer clean water, air, and food. But they either (1) deny that the cleanliness of these things is being threatened by human activities to the point that they cause health problems, or they (2) believe that the benefits of the human activities outweigh the health costs, or they (3) believe that humans have a “right” to engage in those activities regardless of the health problems they cause. One could just as easily say “People who think abortion should be legal aren’t pro-killing babies,” but that probably misses the point from the perspective of a person who thinks abortion should be illegal.



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kevin s.

posted May 31, 2007 at 7:54 pm


“Whatever our religious or political pursuasions, common sense should tell us that we should take what steps are needed to keep our world as clean and liveable as possible.” That’s fine. But the environmental movement hasn’t exactly done a stellar job of reaching out to conservative evangelicals (or moderates of any stripe). Fighting symbolic battles (e.g. ANWR) might animate the environmentalist base, but people will respond more to provisions and incentives that empower people to promote a clean environment.Democrats use this issue the way they accuse Republicans of using abortion. Leveraging the controversy to drive people to the polls, but making little substantive progress on the issue.



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D4P

posted May 31, 2007 at 7:56 pm


I have seldom heard anyone say that what we do to the earth is not significant Hmmm…I replied to this once, but it didn’t show up. I’ll try it again. I’ve seen the argument made plenty of times that humans don’t have the capacity to cause serious damage to the earth. Some even label it “arrogant” to believe that we do.



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Matt Channing

posted May 31, 2007 at 8:18 pm


kevin– the upshot of Ann Coulter’s take on the ecology has been exactly what Jim has been discussing. Her words–”We’re in charge. Rape it”.



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Steve Thorngate

posted May 31, 2007 at 8:23 pm


D4P is right–while it may be true that no one prefers a filthy environment to a pristine one, plenty of people have argued that the filthiness is not caused by/cannot be fixed by humans. And the larger point is that this is an issue area that is less about fundamental positions than priorities. It may be that nearly all conservative evangelicals prefer clean air and water, a more stable climate, etc. But unless this preference actually affects their personal life as consumers and their political life as citizens, what difference does it make?This is neither a straw man argument nor one against people who are “pro dirty water” but one against people who lace their op-eds, action alerts, and attempts to get Rich Cizik fired with sentences such as, “We believe that Christians should be stewards of the earth, BUT…”



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ronnie

posted May 31, 2007 at 8:30 pm


since the post references misreading of scripture in forming one’s eco-views, I’d be curious to know what the proper reading of scripture would be? Can someone shed any light? Thanks for your help.



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Tasiyagnunpa DuBray

posted May 31, 2007 at 8:36 pm


Wow, are you kidding me? I honestly think this article didn’t say enough about how Christians, especially the Righteous Right, have neglected the environment. I believe this is largely in part to a doom and gloom forecast based in pop-culture teachings of the end times. I have struggled with this myself, having a natural, indigenous respect for the earth and being a Christian. That’s when I figured out that God did not give us the right to steal from our children. This is exactly what we do when we misuse the earth so badly, places are no longer fit to live in, or the weather patterns, because of global warming, will be so bizarre as to make their lives difficult. We also need to look at how Western Civilization has devastated indigenous places, often in the name of manifest destiny and God. Now is the time to move ahead in research and progess, but we need to be a lot more careful implementing our ideas lest they create the kind of pollution the industrial revolution did. I am pro-life, ie. pro-baby, pro-trees, pro-whales, in short I’m for God and all His creation. The earth was His first gift to humanity, how dare we treat it so worthlessly??



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D4P

posted May 31, 2007 at 8:36 pm


A partial (not exhaustive) response to ronnie: One issue I think about with respect to the Bible and the environment are the commandments against being selfish and greedy. It seems to me that pollution, destruction of habitat, etc. are at least some of the time a result of selfish and greedy behavior (e.g. people wanting more and more money, with little to no concern for the impacts of their money-seeking actions on humans, wildlife, etc.). The tricky part comes from trying to distinguish between those money-seeking activities that are greedy and those that are not.



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Tasiyagnunpa DuBray

posted May 31, 2007 at 8:41 pm


As for scripture, some people misread the charge to Adam in Genesis to be the master of creation and to subdue it. They say that means God gives us license to do whatever we want. I find that in the Bible, that while God allows us our free will, He does not tell us to do what we want. He tells us to want His will on this earth, as it is in Heaven. As for the account of Noah, God sent the flood, not humanity though it was a consequence of their sin. God promised never to do it again, but He never said He would save us from ourselves, unless we asked for it. Honestly, I think we should all repent, ask God for forgiveness for our gluttony and then do the work of repentance (recycling, less gas and coal consumption, etc.).



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Payshun

posted May 31, 2007 at 8:56 pm


Also look at the old testament and the laws on using the land. It was a balanced approach where farming was encouraged but never to the point of over production. p



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kevin s.

posted May 31, 2007 at 8:57 pm


“the upshot of Ann Coulter’s take on the ecology has been exactly what Jim has been discussing.” Taking issue with Ann Coulter isn’t really perpetuating any discussion either.”plenty of people have argued that the filthiness is not caused by/cannot be fixed by humans.” This is not the argument that the article is addressing. How humans have damaged the environment, and what we can do to ameliorate the situation is at the heart of how we approach environamental policy. But this is far from a settled question, for conservative or even liberals.



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rickg

posted May 31, 2007 at 9:18 pm


This passage in Hosea chapter 4 vs 1-3 is revealing regarding the relationship between human activity and the health of the land.1 Hear the word of the LORD, you Israelites, because the LORD has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: “There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.2 There is only cursing,lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.3 Because of this the land mourns, and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea are dying.



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Mike Hayes

posted May 31, 2007 at 9:34 pm


Jim Rice, Thanks for pointing us to this encouraging article by David Gushee. I think he makes the point that members of evangelical faiths, similarly to what might be the case for many other sects of Christianity, are not “of one mind” about what is or is not “moral”. There is diversity of opinion about what “true beliefs” ought to be. And that apparently was the case back at the time that Christianity began, according to Elaine Pagels in “Beyond Belief”. George Lakoff (a liberal from Berkeley) utilizes “strict father” and “nurturing parent” models of families in “Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think”. I think Lakoff explains differences in moral thinking well, by testing out the models on a variety of specific moral issues. If Lakoff and Frank Luntz (a conservative, and author of “Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear”) would collaborate on a paper about “values” and “framing”, our society would benefit, greatly. Liberals and conservatives would have greater insight to how it is that we think so differently.



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CKC

posted May 31, 2007 at 10:22 pm


I think it does boil down to priorities and selfishness, both personal and federal.Part of the problem is cultural: our disposable society seeking happiness from the search for and the acquisition of tangible things. We choose convenience over sustainable choices. We choose selfishly rather than doing what is best for all. Part of the problem is people choosing not to be informed. There appears to be a widespread unwillingness to recognize how everyday choices we make are both part of the problem and part of the solution. Melting sea ice and polar bears and mountain topping and third world drought and war over natural resources seem very far away to the average American. It makes it easier for people to ignore the issue when they don’t see how they are affected by it or how they directly contribute to it. This hit home for me this weekend when we visited a colleague of my husband’s who lives in the “burbs.” The 3500sq ft of heated and cooled space, the two car attached garage with two SUVs, so far away from anything that you have to drive everywhere even to a park or elementary school, the story of the four trips to the grocery store that day for forgotten items, the bottled water I was given to drink, the new patio set from unsustainable, rainforest depleting sources, the garbage cans as tall as I am and no curb side recycling. It was a shocking and disheartening cultural experience. I realized for the first time the magnitude of what I was up against as a neighborhood activist who composts, recycles, has a vegetable garden, buys local and organic, walks to church, library, post office and every other necessity in our neighborhood, uses canvas bags at the bigger grocery store, dries clothes outside on sunny days, sold our SUV for a more fuel efficient vehicle, and knows and loves our neighbors. I think the solution starts with us – everyday people who believe change is possible. Being the change we want to see in the world and then changing the hearts and minds of others one friend, one congregation, one community, one politician at a time.



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TimR

posted May 31, 2007 at 10:23 pm


Or that the earth will be destroyed by fire anyway, and soon. Ha, I had to laugh at the hypocrisy of that comment. I have heard Al Gore and a number of other liberals predicting the end of our planet soon far more often than conservatives. The truth is America has made drastic improvements to our air and water quality over the last 30 years. We actually have clean air and water comparatively to other industrialized nations. It is the natural progression of nations that are free and CONTINUE to innovate and modernized. Conservatives do far more to conserve nature and the environment than they ll ever get credit for. If you live in a state with a large hunter and fisher population you ll know what I m talking about.The main reason, however, conservatives get bad grades on their environmental report cards is their refusal to embrace that man is causing global warming. I m sure liberals push this agenda because there is some actual concern for the environment, but the main reasons are two fold. This first is distain for the success of capitalism. After the USSR demonstrated the failures of communism liberals were stuck with an anti-capitalist ideology with no credibility. Luckily the global cooling talk was over and global warming came galloping in on its white horse. This can be demonstrated by the liberal promotion of all alternative energy except the capitalist choice and one that actually works: nuclear power. The second reason liberals are so adamant about humans causing global warming is because it is an opportunity to increase elitist power. They get to tell people what kind of light bulb to use, how big their car is, how their home is heated, ect. I don t mean to start a global warming debate in these comments. Rice discusses reasons why conservatives are opposed to creation care and I m outlining some reasons why liberals are for it.



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CKC

posted May 31, 2007 at 10:34 pm


TimR, I’m for creation care because I have two sweet little boys whom I love and who I want to be healthy. I’m for creation care because I am a mother and understand that every other child not only in my village or my state or my country, but in the whole world should have clean water to drink and clean air to breathe and unpolluted fish to eat. I don’t think it matters if global warming exists or whether you believe in it or not. Pollution is real and I challenge you to present a reasonable argument that says pollution is not caused by humans. I support creation care because it’s the right thing to do.



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CKC

posted May 31, 2007 at 10:38 pm


PS: And God wants us to do the right thing.



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Wolverine

posted May 31, 2007 at 10:49 pm


Very interesting how Gushee assumes that a political dispute must be a theological dispute. Also interesting, how he has absolutely no evidence or examples where evangelicals espouse the theology he attributes to them. I can do the same thing: It seems to me that the Christian Left thinks that the moon is made of green cheese. I have no quotes or documentation or any other evidence, but it sure seems they think that way. Go ahead, prove me wrong. Wolverine



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CKC

posted May 31, 2007 at 10:52 pm


TimR said: “The main reason, however, conservatives get bad grades on their environmental report cards is their refusal to embrace that man is causing global warming.” That seems like an oversimplification.Conservatives get bad grades on their report cards when they don’t support environmental policies. When they make pro-big business decisions, when they allow logging in federally protected lands, when they want to roll back progress on air pollution with deceptively titled bills, when they want to allow more snowmobiles in national parks rather than fewer, and refuse to mandate higher emissions standards on the automobile industry, and waste years of potential progress while paying their own scientists to support their own conclusions, that’s when politicians get bad marks on their report card.



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Steve Thorngate

posted May 31, 2007 at 11:08 pm


TimR: While CKC doesn’t really need any help taking you on point by point, I couldn’t let this one go by:’Or that the earth will be destroyed by fire anyway, and soon.’ Ha, I had to laugh at the hypocrisy of that comment. I have heard Al Gore and a number of other liberals predicting the end of our planet soon far more often than conservatives.” Yes, you’re right–like some end times-obsessed evangelicals, many environmentalists warn about the end of the world. But the fact that the environmentalists think this is a bad thing and would like to prevent it seems like a pretty important difference.



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D4P

posted May 31, 2007 at 11:16 pm


Whenever I hear someone say something like “We don’t have to do anything about global warming because Jesus is returning soon anyway,” I have to wonder: Why do we have to do anything about terrorism, then?



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CKC

posted June 1, 2007 at 12:17 am


Or the estate tax?



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Doug7504

posted June 1, 2007 at 12:18 am


No one argues that what humans do to the Earth, good or bad, isn’t significant. However, environmental protectionism has been protrayed, erroneously, as a “liberal” issue, thus allowing environmentalists to be demonized through association with those who are pro-choice. And that, friends, is an argument which has been advanced by conservatives for their political gain. I have many conservative friends who also are staunch defenders of the world around us, and aren’t confused about this issue. They believe, as I do, that our responsibility as Christians is to protect human life, born and unborn, as well as life IN THE FUTURE, and all that sustains it. That means protecting the temporal world around us. And while you may not find a specific Biblical passage which charges us with this task, does that then mean we can ignore such a healthy, and noble, task? Some in the enviromental movement substitute worship of the temporal for worship of the Divine, which is a tragic mistake, just as some evangelicals view material wealth as a sign that God blesses them above other, sinful men, and thus justify their exploitation of the world around them. Most of us look at the world around us and see His handiwork, and glorify Him therein.I am heartened that the voices of many evangelicals are being raised in defense of God’s world, which He has given to us to care for! Peace.



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TimR

posted June 1, 2007 at 12:55 am


I realized for the first time the magnitude of what I was up against as a neighborhood activist who composts, recycles, has a vegetable garden, buys local and organic, walks to church, library, post office and every other necessity in our neighborhood, uses canvas bags at the bigger grocery store, dries clothes outside on sunny days, sold our SUV for a more fuel efficient vehicle, and knows and loves our neighbors. I think that is why you support creation care. Your arm must be sore from so much back patting. Do you do Yoga? I appreciate your post because it reminded me that I foolishly forgot to mention self-gratification as a reason liberals support creation care. You are right! Pollution is caused by humans! But, since we can t eliminate humans we should probably include them in the anti-pollution equation. My point is that the US has cleaner water and air now because we moved forward in industrialization not backward. I was addressing the ideology of conservatives and liberals broadly. If you have some specific bills or policies you want to discuss, or if you want me to discuss your reasons conservatives get bad grades on pollution I can.



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Payshun

posted June 1, 2007 at 2:13 am


You are right! Pollution is caused by humans! But, since we can t eliminate humans we should probably include them in the anti-pollution equation. My point is that the US has cleaner water and air now because we moved forward in industrialization not backward.Me: I don’t understand this when the natural streams and rivers in our country are more poluted than ever and that has to do w/ population growth and pollution. p



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TimR

posted June 1, 2007 at 2:32 am


The natural streams and rivers in our country are more poluted than ever and that has to do w/ population growth and pollution.Do you have any statistics for this or are you just making up? Do you really believe that our rivers and streams are more polluted now than a generation ago? P.S. CKC- after reading my comment…It didn t sound like the lighthearted quip I intended it to be. So, sorry if I came across as rude



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Kris

posted June 1, 2007 at 2:34 am


“My point is that the US has cleaner water and air now because we moved forward in industrialization not backward. ” So, you’re saying that our air and water is cleaning now post-industrial revolution, than prior to it? Prior to factories dumping chemicals in the water ways, air through smoke stacks, and land through chemical fertilization?Oh, and no one is arguing that industry hasn’t done some good. Has it those yielded great benefit? Sure. Is there an environmental cost for those benefits? Definitely. I think the point of the environmental supporter is that these same benefits can be achieved through means that impact our earth less.



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John Mustol

posted June 1, 2007 at 3:18 am


Would you please send me the reference where Gushee said or wrote this? I am a theology student, and the Evangelical response to ecological issues is an area of research for me.



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moderatelad

posted June 1, 2007 at 3:58 am


Global warming Climate change Creation care Any other labels we need to put out there for discussion? Sounds like Al is coming up with new ways to disguise his plan for fuel indulgences of fossel funding. I think that Al Gore of John Kerry or for that matter Hillary Clinton spend more on their houses, lifestyles and travel than all the people on my block. We ‘evangelicals’ are not out there to screw the ecology, as a matter of fact I think we do support keeping God’s creation in as good of condition as we can and better than most. I don’t see Kerry, Edwards or Clinton being very ‘evangelical’ but they are buring fuel better and faster than the way evangelicals are accused of doing.Blessings – .



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CKC

posted June 1, 2007 at 4:16 am


Dear TimR, Thanks for the apology. It did come accross a bit meanspirited, but I kind of expected the backpatting comment from someone after I made my post. No I don’t do yoga. Wish I had the time. You say you think I support creation care because of the positive environmental things I listed that our family does. Actually we do the things I listed because we are pro-environment. As I said before, making a difference starts by putting your money where your mouth is. I used to be a staunch conservative, but after having children, I had a new perspective on some things. Thinking about those perspectives led me to make some changes about political and religious beliefs and those beliefs led me to make everyday changes in my life. I’m not really the hippie flower child that I might sound like. What I was trying to say in my post about the suburbs was that I thought I was mainstream until I had this rather eye opening experience over the holiday weekend. I don’t really want to discuss particular bills or policies. This string was started to try to understand where evangelical and other types of Christians fit into the environmental conversation. What I would like to ask is if you could provide some insight by discussing why conservatives, especially religious ones are so opposed to a pro-environment agenda, when as Doug7504 so eloquently points out that conservation and preservation of what God has given us supports the health and well being of people, not just today but our generations to come.



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Nuttshell

posted June 1, 2007 at 5:45 am


I often find myself searching out the various Sojo blogs to see what my fellow Christians have to say on matters but increasingly I am disheartened by the snideness and barely concealed contempt of the usual suspects (Kevin S., Wolverine and Moderatelad). Tim R. is today’s honorary member today. Your comments often suggest disdain for any Christian who isn’t willing to fall in lockstep with the Christian Right. I’ve got to wonder why you bother reading any of the Sojo articles? Considering how Kevin S. is usually the first one or one of the firsts ones to comment, I wonder is making your snarky remarks on this blog a part of your job? Are you part of a right-wing op research group meant to place counter arguments on left-leaning Christian websites? Or are you guys just like this in the blogsphere, otherwise, your sweet, meek types who are kind to animals and old people?



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Tasiyagnunpa DuBray

posted June 1, 2007 at 6:12 am


To Tim R., I know that the waterways are somewhat cleaner than say when I was born (1982), but they are not pristine by any means. DDT is not being sprayed in our country anymore for example, but when my mom was a kid she used to hang out in their barn while her dad sprayed the cows with it. She remembers the fog of it hanging in the air while she played with the barn cats. (1950s era) That being said, just because it’s a little better doesn’t mean we can stop trying. Humans are the problem and we are also the solution. As for influential people signing the NAE thingy, what about this quote on tnr.com?: “When James Dobson gets angry, people notice. And, in early March, the influential chair of Focus on the Family fired off a very angry letter to the board of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). Tony Perkins of The Family Research Council signed it. So did Gary Bauer. So did 22 other conservative Christian leaders. Their complaint? It seems that Richard Cizik, NAE’s vice-president for governmental affairs, had been sounding the alarm on global warming. For years now, Cizik has ruffled feathers by imploring evangelicals to pay more attention to environmental issues–”creation care,” as it’s called. But the foray into climate change proved a step too far; the letter-writers called it “divisive and dangerous.” A no-no.” Dobson, whose books I read for child-rearing advice, is a Republican conservative so obsessed with “family values” that he’s willing to sacrifice the dirt under our feet and the air above our heads. It’s nuts. Oh and by the way, I am not against capitalism. In fact, the greening in the business sector could be our saving grace. If everyone who could afford it would make simple green consumer choices than the world really would be a better place.



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Mick Sheldon

posted June 1, 2007 at 7:14 am


. Many Evangelicals care about the envirnoment . God invented the envirnoment . The problem is the use of Marxist methods to help the envirnoment , not the lack of suppiort for the envirnoment .Do The people who write these things read the Bible ? Look at what happened to people who stole the livehood of a person or the property of another . The Bible clearly points out you are stealing a person’s time , to take away a persons life , equated with their time resulted in severe penalties . It often appears my liberal brothers and sisters have more belief in humanism then Godism . . The use of property without compensation is against the Bibical understanding of The Old Testament for sure .At one time people hung horse thieves because you were robbing a persons ability to work . In many liberal areas car thieves receive just a litle more then a ticket . Result is a huge amount of repeat offenders . I suggest to the writer , if you care about the envirnoment , ask your legislators to stop stealing personal property and we all chip in to pay for it . There you will see a big difference in Evangelical support .



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moderatelad

posted June 1, 2007 at 2:43 pm


Nuttshell | 05.31.07 – 11:50 pm | #I’ve got to wonder why you bother reading any of the Sojo articles?So you only want to read postings by people who agree with you. SO much for discussion and trying to find middle ground for discussion. Please do not label remarks as snarky when they might show a deeply rooted passion on the topic. As long as the posted does not label the other as a ‘Nazi’ or whatever – it is OK in my book.My hang-up is that on the subject of ‘Climate Change’ you have to be a deciple of Gore or you are dismissed by most on this site.Wallis promotes the idea of working on poverty – I am all about assisting people, my brothers and sisters, lending them a helping hand. But then – with the other hand Jim slaps us evangelicals because we have opinions and convictions on subjects that he has deemed not as important as his subjects. We are wrong because we might have agreed with Dobson, Fawell or Graham and he does not.Why can we do it all? There is more than enough of us to make a difference on any subject that we believe God wants us to be involved with. We can work together on some issues while agreeing to be independant on others. I do not see this being the case with Wallis and Co. Have a great day – .



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CKC

posted June 1, 2007 at 3:05 pm


Mick Sheldon, I’m having trouble following your position. How is the stealing of personal property and enviromentalism linked? I read my Bible and do not have more belief in humanism than Godism as you say. I understand that one of the conservative arguments against creation care is elevating nature above God: glorifying the creation more than the Creator. And for non-Christian and non-religious environmentalists this may hold true. What Christian creation care supporters like myself are trying to convey to their non- environmental brothers and sisters is that in our reading of the Bible supporting policies and changes that provide for cleaner air, water, land and food are an extension of Jesus statement of the greatest comandment: Matthew 22:36-40. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Creation care supporters see environmentalism as a health issue, it is a human rights issue, it is a Christian issue because all of God’s children who live on this earth are our neighbors and are affected by it. Pollution hurts people. When we see harm coming to our neighbors, I believe God wants us to do the right thing and make changes; changes in our own personal lives, changes in the hearts and minds of others, including our government. It befuddles me to no end why some of my Christian friends believe God gave us this earth to have “dominion” over and to use as we please. How can actions that are wasteful, negligent, and harmful to other people and to ourselves be pleasing to God?



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CKC

posted June 1, 2007 at 3:36 pm


Dear Moderateland, I have to agree with you. I posted a similar comment on this Blog when the letter from Dobson et al criticizing Cizik first came out. There is more than enough of God’s work to go around. We don’t all have to work on the same issues. Do what you are called to do and do it passionately; but in so doing I believe it would be much healthier for the Body of Christ if its members did not find it neccessary to criticize each other because we all do not have the same calling. Romans 12: 3 -6a “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.” Not many of us have too much humility, a character trait I could stand to work on more myself.



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Steven Riggs

posted June 1, 2007 at 4:12 pm


Readers, don’t fall for the point given that to be pro-environment you must be against capitalism or business. I am aware of many people employed and businesses that prosper from trying to reduce pollution of land, air, and water. The environmental protection business with its products, services, and advice is a big one and growing fast. It’s even a good investment! Yes, some company made money selling those scrubbers and darn it, a scientist that invented the concept made money too. I know how the conservatives don’t like to see the scientists get any credit so I threw that in for today’s humor :)



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Jeff

posted June 1, 2007 at 4:32 pm


Nice insult Steven. Are you out there Nuttshell?



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Ben

posted June 1, 2007 at 4:40 pm


Laissez-faire capitalism is not hurting the environment. America is corporatist, which is just a soft word for fascist. Corporations get to have a government umbrella protecting them from responsibility for their actions. This is what allows them to dump poisons in other people’s water and food supplies without retribution. A return to actual laissez-faire, instead of government protectionism and interventionism, a return to the sanctity of individual property rights, a return to individual equality under the law, is sufficient to stave off the REAL environmental problems. If you are a Christian, you worship Almighty God. Why, then, are you looking to government, whose only power is the use of coercive force (steal, kill and destroy), to solve society’s problems?



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Nuttshell

posted June 1, 2007 at 6:13 pm


Jeff – I’m here for a bit. I’ll probably be back later (I do have to work). Dear Moderatelad, Heavens no do I think we all have to agree. I’ve been reading the blogs for quite some time and while I don’t necessarily think you are in attack mode as much as Kevin S., I don’t recall seeing a response by you or the Usual Suspects where you aren’t disdainful of the Chrisitan Left. You speak of passion but from where I’m sitting you “guys” (I’m assuming you’re all men) are dismissive and moderately contempuous of those left of you. I see so much of it from the Political Right that it is wearisome, particularly when Christian brothers and sisters adopt the language and ad hominem attack tools of the Christian Right. There is definitely a difference in how you guys attack folks on the Left. The Left is portrayed as anti-capitalist or Marxist. Thankfully, I haven’t heard the term wing-nut on here. Also, I believe that the Nazi slur should be barred from almost all dialogue. It’s not appropriate in all but the most heinous of situations involving genocide (i.e. Sudan). I also think it’s unfair to lump the Christian Left (CL) with the Political Left (PL). We’re talking about a whole different kettle of fish. Doctrinally, the CL is pretty much in lockstep with the Christian Right (CR). The difference from my POV is that the CR is much more judgmental. If the CR deems someone an “unworthy sinner” (Bill Clinton) as opposed to a “repented sinner” (Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay), they will not extend the hand of friendship or fellowship. And that also extends to any subject that the PL happens to speak about. I don’t believe that everyone who believes in “Creation Care” is a disciple of Al Gore. I’ve never seen an Inconvenient Truth but in the mid-90′s I began to be concerned about the Political Right (PR), with the tacit approval of the CR, and their desire to utilize every natural resource in this country for monetary gain. While this country is cleaner than when I was a small child in the late 60′s and early 70′s, it’s not been without whining and griping by Business. If there weren’t environmental laws, we would probably still have DDT and other environmental hazards on the market. You’d still have neighborhoods (particularly minority neighborhoods) residing on toxic waste dumps. Being on the CL doesn’t make one a tree-hugger (not that there’s anything particularly wrong with that as long as you worship God and not Nature). I don’t particularly like labeling myself as Left but I am defintely not a member of the Right. I am definitely not a Humanist as another writer mentioned (which I believe is meant to be an ad hominem attack) nor have I seen anything written which would make me think that the individuals on this blog are anything other than Christians of differing opinions.



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Nuttshell

posted June 1, 2007 at 6:32 pm


Ben said: “If you are a Christian, you worship Almighty God. Why, then, are you looking to government, whose only power is the use of coercive force (steal, kill and destroy), to solve society’s problems?” I take exception to that very broad brush about government. I am a government worker (Labor) and we assist people in finding jobs and paying out insurance money (unemployment insurance) to those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Not all government is coersive. I know those on the Right champion individual rights but there’s a certain amount of delusional romanticism underlying that banner. As a nation, we are a collection of individuals with some common interests and needs (national security, orderly access to commerce, education, transportation, etc.). If we didn’t have government, we would be Afghanistan with their tribal laws and governance.Believe me, I am often critical of government but as a public servant, I believe our role is to serve people by helping to restore them to self-suffiency, not unlike what the Church’s mission is.



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canucklehead

posted June 1, 2007 at 8:09 pm


Ben said: “If you are a Christian, you worship Almighty God. Why, then, are you looking to government, whose only power is the use of coercive force (steal, kill and destroy), to solve society’s problems?” Have another drink, Ben, then check out Romans 13:1-7. I assume you dispose of your garbage entirely by yourself, build your own roads, put out the neighbor’s house when it’s on fire, built the community school, et al.



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Billy Strain

posted June 1, 2007 at 9:40 pm


Nuttshell and canucklehead, I totally agree. The efforts of citizens should always to strive to improve and refine the instutions of our govenment, not to lable it as the enemy the way some people do.



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CKC

posted June 1, 2007 at 9:43 pm


James 4:17 NIV “Anyone, then who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it. sins.”



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Payshun

posted June 3, 2007 at 12:13 am


If you are a Christian, you worship Almighty God. Why, then, are you looking to government, whose only power is the use of coercive force (steal, kill and destroy), to solve society’s problems? ME: I don’t see government as a cureall just a way to make sure people are actually obeying the laws. This land is mythically built on them. We need oversight or people won’t follow them especially when it comes to the environment. p



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