Following a decision last week by the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) not to take an institutional stand on global warming, an independent group of 86 Evangelicals calling themselves the Evangelical Climate Initiative took matters into their own hands to urge Congress to pass legislation curbing emissions of carbon dioxide, which most scientists agree is contributing to climate change. The signatories to the “call to action” include influential individuals as well as leaders of groups such as World Hope International and the Salvation Army.
In a press statement, signatories said that millions of people could die in this century because of climate change, most of them our poorest global neighbors. “Many of us have required considerable convincing before becoming persuaded that climate change is a real problem and that it ought to matter to us as Christians,” they said. “But now we have seen and heard enough.” The campaign intends to use newspaper and television ads to push its position.
Reportedly instrumental in George W. Bush’s re-election to the White House, Evangelicals are more often associated with taking conservative stands on hot-button issues such as abortion and gay marriage than with environmental sensitivity. But in 2004, National Association of Evangelicals did adopt a statement that humans have “a sacred responsibility to steward the Earth and not a license to abuse the creation of which we are a part.” That said, though, despite the publicity generated by the call to action signatories, most Evangelicals, including the NAE leadership, do not consider the fight against global warming to be a top priority.