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United They Evangelize

In one corner, we have “latte-sipping, Prius-driving, endive-munching, New York Times-reading snobs.” And in the other corner, “Hummer-driving, Bible-thumping, fire-breathing, snake-handling fundamentalists.”

Just another skirmish on Capitol Hill? Not quite. Rich Cizik, vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals, and Eric Chivian, a Harvard biochemist, were actually poking fun at the stereotypes associated with their respective camps in an NPR story this week. They’ve moved beyond their differences and are bringing science and religious leaders together to tackle the same issue: global warming.

Last year Cizik was the subject of Moving Heaven and Earth in Fast Company. He and Jim Ball call themselves environmental evangelicals. They made waves by insisting that reversing climate change is a Christian responsibility. Eighty-six evangelical leaders signed on, drawing criticism from Focus on the Family’s James Dobson and other members of the religious right. The other day Cizik was back in the news, forming an unlikely alliance with scientists. It’s part of a larger strategy to “transform the issue” for the 2008 election, he told me, from left-wing to mainstream. “We want candidates from both parties to come forward and say, ‘Here’s my climate-change policy,’ just as they would give their policy on anything else.”

You don’t have to look far – gas reductions in the State of the Union, the sessions at Davos – to see which way the winds are blowing.

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