Below the full text of the letter from 25 evangelical leaders requesting the dismissal of Richard Cizik, VP of Governmental Affairs at the National Association of Evangelicals. It is an extraordinary letter that shows how scared the old line evangelical political power players are – that they would go to this end to target Rich Cizik is remarkable. More on Monday:
Dr. L. Roy Taylor, Chairman of the Board March 1, 2007
National Association of Evangelicals
c/o Presbyterian Church in America
1700 North Brown Road, Suite 105
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30043
cc: Members of the NAE Board
Dear Dr. Taylor:
Although we, the undersigned, are not members of the National Association of
Evangelicals, our organizations interface with it regularly and consider it to be an
important Christian institution in today’s culture. From that perspective, we are writing the Board of Directors to call attention to what we perceive as a threat to the unity and integrity of the Association. The issue that is dividing and demoralizing the NAE and its leaders is related to global warming, resulting from a relentless campaign orchestrated by a single individual in the Washington office, Richard Cizik, vice president of government relations. While many of us consider Richard to be a friend, he regularly speaks without authorization for the entire organization and puts forward his own political opinions as scientific fact.
The existence of global warming and its implications for mankind is a subject of heated controversy throughout the world. It does appear that the earth is warming, but the disagreement focuses on why it might be happening and what should be done about it. We believe it is unwise for an NAE officer to assert conclusively that those questions have been answered, or that the membership as a whole has taken a position on a matter.
Furthermore, we believe the NAE lacks the expertise to settle the controversy, and that the issue should be addressed scientifically and not theologically. The liberal media has given wide coverage to Cizik’s views and has characterized them
as being representative of the NAE member organizations. We are not aware of any
evidence to support that assumption. More importantly, we have observed that Cizik and others are using the global warming controversy to shift the emphasis away from the great moral issues of our time, notably the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage and the teaching of sexual abstinence and morality to our children. In their place has come a preoccupation with climate concerns that extend beyond the NAE’s mandate and its own statement of purpose.
We acknowledge that within the NAE’s membership of thirty million, there are many opinions and perspectives about the warming of the earth. We are not suggesting that our beliefs about it necessarily reflect the majority of our fellow evangelicals. However, we do oppose the efforts of Mr. Cizik and others to speak in a way that is divisive and dangerous.
For example, he granted an interview with Fast Company, dated June, 2006, in which he said “We [proponents of global warming] are the future, and the old guard,” he continued, “is reaching up to grasp its authority back, like a horror movie where a hand comes out of the grave.” To paraphrase, Cizik apparently believes “the old guard” which defends traditional values is like a rotting corpse that will not die. Are these the words of a man who seeks to bring unity and understanding within the NAE?
Again, we recognize the wide diversity among scientists, pastors and laymen about the causes and implications of global warming. There are those who foresee disaster looming in the near future. Others reject that apocalyptic warning. The Interfaith Stewardship Alliance, for example, has engaged in a thorough analysis of the history of climate change science. It is very skeptical about the claims of those who have called for massive international interventions in free economies around the world. ISA’s report is titled, “A Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Response to Global Warming.” The list of those who signed the report is long and distinguished. (You can read more about this statement in the enclosed open letter.)
Mr. Cizik not only believes that global warming is an indisputable fact, but he also holds related views that he has not been willing to reveal to the membership at large. In an alarming speech he delivered to the World Bank in May of 2006, he said: “I’d like to take on the population issue, but in my community global warming is the third rail issue. I’ve touched the third rail but still have a job. And I’ll still have a job after my talk here today. But population is a much more dangerous issue to touch. We need to confront population control and we can — we’re not Roman Catholics, after all, but it’s too hot to handle now.” We ask, how is population control going to be achieved if not by promoting abortion, the distribution of condoms to the young, and, even by infanticide in China and elsewhere? Is this where Richard Cizik would lead us?
Finally, Cizik’s disturbing views seem to be contributing to growing confusion about the very term, “evangelical.” As a recent USA Today article notes: “Evangelical was the label of choice of Christians with conservative views on politics, economics and biblical morality. Now the word may be losing its moorings, sliding toward the same linguistic demise that “fundamentalist” met decades ago because it has been misunderstood, misappropriated and maligned.” We believe some of that misunderstanding about evangelicalism and its “conservative views on politics, economics and biblical morality” can be laid at Richard Cizik’s door.
We, the undersigned, want to state our position again. We believe the NAE lacks the expertise to take a position on global warming. That is the essential point of this letter. Richard Cizik also lacks this expertise, and to our knowledge, he has never been asked to speak for the rest of the Association in such areas of controversy.
We implore the NAE board to ensure that Mr. Cizik faithfully represents the policies and commitments of the organization, including its defense of traditional values. If he cannot be trusted to articulate the views of American evangelicals on environmental issues, then we respectfully suggest that he be encouraged to resign his position with the NAE.
Dr. Don Wildmon, Chairman
American Family Association
Tony Perkins, President
Family Research Council
James C. Dobson, Ph.D. Chairman
Focus on the Family
Gary L. Bauer, President
Coalitions for America
Paul Weyrich, Chairman
Jim Daly, President
Focus on the Family
Bishop Harry Jackson
High Impact Leadership Coalition
Phil Burress, President
Citizens for Community Values, Ohio
Dick Bott, President
Bott Radio Network
Rich Bott, Vice President
Bott Radio Network
Alan Chambers, President
Executive Vice President, Programming
The Inspiration Television Networks
Gary Cass, Executive Director
Center for Reclaiming America
Dr. Rick Scarborough, President
Tim G. Echols, President
Family Resource Network/TeenPact
Rev. William Owen, Founder/President
Coalition of African American Pastors
Micah Clark, Executive Director
American Family Association of Indiana
Martin Angell, President/Founder
Every Church A School Foundation
Diane Gramley, President
American Family Association of Pennsylvania
David E. Smith, Executive Director
Illinois Family Institute
Edgar Bonniwell, Chancellor
K ingswell Theological Seminary 0
Tom Shields, Chairman
Coalition for Marriage and Family
Dean Nelson, Executive Director
Network of Politically Active Christians
Dr. Ken Hutcherson, President
Mayday For Marriage
Gene Mills, Executive Director
Louisiana Family Forum