Bravo and a big amen to Religion News Service editor Kevin Eckstrom for a crisp bit of religion-label dissection work about a New York Times report that’s been creating buzz among GetReligionistas past and present (and future) the past 24 hours or so.
Eckstrom, who last time I checked does not carry an official right-wing identification card, noted one of those essential RNS morning listserv notes:
Where on God’s green earth …
Religious advocates were out in full force here in DC the past two days, testifying in support of proposed EPA rules to cut down on carbon pollution. The NYT describes them as “conservative.” Looking at the list of speakers, I’m not totally sure I’d agree.
Right, right! I mean, left.
What’s he talking about? Here’s a crucial chunk of that Times report:
The E.P.A. on Wednesday ended two days of public hearings on its proposed regulation to cut carbon pollution from power plants, and mixed in with the coal lobbyists and business executives were conservative religious leaders reasserting their support for President Obama’s environmental policies — at a time when Republican Party orthodoxy continues to question the science of climate change.
More than two dozen faith leaders, including evangelicals and conservative Christians, spoke at the E.P.A. headquarters in Washington by the time the hearings ended.
“The science is clear,” said Lisa Sharon Harper, the senior director of mobilizing for Sojourners, an evangelical organization with a social justice focus. “The calls of city governments — who are trying to create sustainable environments for 25, 50 years — that’s clear.”
OK, there is a very real sense in which many would call Sojourners an “evangelical” group, in large part because — as GetReligion has been saying for a decade-plus — the word “evangelical” has almost no (preach it, Billy Graham) specific doctrinal content in this day and age.
But would anyone, anywhere, call Sojourners or Sojourners — the magazine or the activist group — “conservative”? On what planet?
Reading on for more tone-deaf labeling: