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Once again, the hard-core Religious Right has gone on the attack, orchestrating a new campaign to advance their Far Right political views. In a letter to the chairman of the National Evangelical Association Board, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer, and their cohorts claim that “The existence of global warming and its implications for mankind is a subject of heated controversy throughout the world.” And even more bizarre, there was another report this morning that in his sermon last Sunday, Jerry Falwell claimed the debate over global warming is a tool of Satan being used to distract churches from their primary focus of preaching the gospel. Falwell, Dobson, and their friends are wrong, and this time their attack shows just how far outside the evangelical mainstream the Religious Right’s views have become.
The truth, which almost everyone except them acknowledges, is there is little reasonable doubt left about the threat posed to the earth by climate change. There is an international consensus among scientists, religious leaders, business leaders, and economists that we must act, and act now, to preserve a world for our children. Just a month ago, the leading international network of climate change scientists, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, concluded for the first time that global warming is “unequivocal” and that it is with 90% certainty due to human activity. The New York Times called the report “a bleak and powerful assessment of the future of the planet….” You can read the full report.
But the Religious Right is also now personally targeting the NAE’s vice president for governmental affairs, Rich Cizik. They claim that Cizik is “dividing and demoralizing the NAE” by orchestrating a “relentless campaign” opposing global warming. And they end by suggesting that “he be encouraged to resign his position with the NAE.”
Cizik, far from dividing evangelicals, is part of a broad evangelical consensus on global warming. He is a respected evangelical leader who is bringing Christians together to address the growing danger of climate change, and is literally a hero to a new generation of evangelical students and pastors. That new generation has made “creation care” a mainstream evangelical issue. A statement last year by the Evangelical Climate Initiative, signed by 86 national evangelical leaders, including 39 Christian college presidents, noted that “we are convinced that evangelicals must engage this issue without any further lingering over the basic reality of the problem or humanity’s responsibility to address it.” The statement added: “Love of God, love of neighbor, and the demands of stewardship are more than enough reason for evangelical Christians to respond to the climate change problem with moral passion and concrete action.”
Sen. John McCain, in an op-ed with Sen. Joe Lieberman, recently declared: “The debate has ended over whether global warming is a problem caused by human activity. … There is now a broad consensus in this country, and indeed in the world, that global warming is happening, that it is a serious problem, and that humans are causing it.” In a powerful commentary in this morning’s Washington Post, “The Climate Change Precipice“, David Ignatius wrote, “The scientific debate about whether there is a global warming problem is pretty much over. … Skeptical researchers will continue to question the data, but this isn’t a ‘call both sides for comment’ issue anymore. For mainstream science, it’s settled.”
But the Religious Right is so used to being able to veto debates by their proclamations that when they see they are losing, they go on the attack. So if they think the debate is not over, let’s have a debate. We will respond; stay tuned next week.