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Oct 7, 2005

My First Time
This is quite possibly the first time I have agreed with an Evangelical Christian...Richard Cizik, the Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals, sees nature conservation as biblical directive, and completely in line with the Christian Conservative philosophy. He notes scripture which states we are the keepers of the Earth and that to not be conscious of conservation is a sin. He suggests that "creation care" is something that the 30 million Evangelical Christians in this country need to take to heart. He believes that
"much of the challenge is reframing the environmental issue for the evangelical community as a people issue. We have to say, for instance, that addressing climate change is a way of saying we care about the millions of people worldwide that might have to endure tremendous suffering and displacement from the drought, hurricanes, and flooding associated with global warming."

Ah, spin...

I have long thought there were many ways to interpret the Bible and that passages can be taken how you want and may not be expressed as they were intended. And to those ends, the Bible has quite often been used as a bouy for propaganda and agenda setting, but for once, I approve of the Bible being used in this way. In this case, the propaganda is for a cause greater than personal need. The cause is global survival. (But we will tell the Evangelicals, it's for the people...shhh...)

If Cizik was able to bring Evangelical Christian Conservatives and Left Wing Radicals together for a common cause, there is no telling how great the results could be. These two groups are, in marketing terms, the Innovators. Innovators are the small percentage of the population that take to a new idea or product first. They are the ones who test it out. While the Evangelical Christian Conservatives and Left Wing Radicals are on opposite ends of the political spectrum, amongst their liberal and conservative peers, they are the Innovators. If their ideas take hold, they trickle down to the rest of their party. This is why they are so dangerous, but in this case, if they were both working for the same goal from opposite ends, twice the ground could be covered in half the time. Both parties could speak to their own people in a language they each understand.

Good Luck, Cizik.
posted by Ty @ 10/07/2005
At 10:52 AM, October 07, 2005, Blogger Dylan said...

Anything I say in this comment is informed by the years I spent in the church, and is based on my observations during that time.

There's always been a strange disconnect between liberalism and evangelical Christianity. It's funny but, despite it's archaic systems steeped in tradition, the Catholic Church is leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of organized Chrisitiantiy when it comes to social justice. Catholicism, since the Second Vatican Council (well, this was at least true under the past couple of popes), has really sought to apply their religion to the real world, in ways that does good for real people and real communities. In this way, Catholisicm finds its spirituality in the bodies of people.

Evangelical Christianity, however, has typically found it's spirituality in another plane, and not embodied in the people who inhabit the earth.

Now, when I say this next part, understand that I'm referring to the more politicized sides of Evangelicalism, and not the everyday people who inhabit it.

I think a great deal of the reason that Rev. Cizik's environmental "spin" on scripture will have a difficult time taking hold in evangelical communities is not because of the "you are the keepers of the earth" verse, but the "The meek shall inherit the earth" verse. The meek are the most often left behind by Evangelical Christianity.

Especially in Southern Baptist circles (which, really, feeds the majority of the most politically active of the Religious Right), the emphasis of taking care of the earth around you, of being good stewards as the Old Testament tells us to be, is diminished by the all-consuming mission to "save souls."

It also feeds into the general feeling that has serverd as the adreneline of Evangelicalism for hundereds of years: at any time, we are mere moments from the End of Days. When you live your life under the influence of such a powerful philosophy, stewardship of the Earth is most irrelevant.

I highly recommend, if you are interested in learning more about the dual-nature of today's Christian, reading Jim Wallis' book, "God's Politics." There is a lot I disagree with him about, but it is one of the more thought provoking books to deal with the intersection of religion and politics.

I'm probably going to have to use this comment as a post! :)


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