Evangelicals go green

News & Politics

Here is some eyebrow-raising news from the New York Times:

With increasing vigor, evangelical groups that are part of the base of conservative support for leading Republicans are campaigning for laws that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which scientists have linked with global warming.
In the latest effort, the National Association of Evangelicals, a nonprofit organization that includes 45,000 churches serving 30 million people across the country, is circulating among its leaders the draft of a policy statement that would encourage lawmakers to pass legislation creating mandatory controls for carbon emissions.
Environmentalists rely on empirical evidence as their rationale for Congressional action, and many evangelicals further believe that protecting the planet from human activities that cause global warming is a values issue that fulfills Biblical teachings asking humans to be good stewards of the earth. [LINK thanks to Robert Flamholtz]
Oklahama Republican James Inhofe -- who describes global warming as "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people" -- responded with the usual leaps of logic that we've come to expect from the GOP: one, going green is the equivalent of supporting abortion and gay rights; two, this is yet more evidence of a vast leftwing conspiracy to lead evangelicals "down a liberal path" by making them care about un-Christian issues such as the environment and poverty.

The greening of the evangelical movement is good news for the environment, but it raises a few important questions in the broader context of progressive movement-building. Would an alliance between environmental groups and the evangelicals offer more of the kind of single-issue politics that have undermined efforts to build a movement with a larger vision? How would this be any different from the entirely ill-advised and ultimately unsuccesful alliance between women's groups and the Christian right over issues like pornography?

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