The Times had some Questions for Richard Cizik: Earthy Evangelist:
As a leader of the National Association of Evangelicals, you are going up against tradition by trying to persuade your 30 million members to care about pollution, global warming and environmentalism in general.
The Scriptures themselves, right in Genesis 2:15, say watch over creation and care for it. The air, the water, the resources — all have been given to us by God to protect.
Yet evangelical Christians are famously suspicious of science, which has long been a synonym for atheism. Isn’t that why they reject both evolution and environmentalism?
A lot of conservative evangelicals have a problem with the environmental movement. I don’t call myself an environmentalist. I say I’m an advocate of ”creation care.”
”Creation care” sounds like a division of Medicare.
It’s still better than environmentalism.
What is wrong with that term?
It’s not the term. It’s the environmentalists themselves. I was recently speaking with the leadership of the Sierra Club and the National Wildlife Federation, and I told them, ”Gentlemen, I respect you, but at this point don’t plan on any formal collaborations.”
Why? Because they lean to the left?
Environmentalists have a bad reputation among evangelical Christians for four reasons. One, they rely on big-government solutions. Two, their alliance with population-control movements. Three, they keep kooky religious company.
What is your idea of a kooky religion?
Some environmentalists are pantheists who believe creation itself is holy, not the Creator.
I like how he dodged the science issue. The references to “kooky religion” is odd, given what’s on TV today.
For instance, Jenkins pointed out that the nun assigned to study the end times searches for a baby Jesus. “Regardless of where people stand on the interpretation of biblical prophecy, no one believes Jesus will return again as a baby,” Jenkins explained.
Of course not.
Anyway, everyone believes weird things. I think that a transcendental approach to religion can be integrated into a Christian worldview, and I certainly see no conflict. The interviewer also rightly questions how an evangelical can criticize other people for being “gloom and doom.” I think there’s room for common cause between environmentalism and creation care. It may just take some work to accomplish.