God is Green: Evangelicals Are Taking A Stand on Climate Change

Yesterday, I was interviewed by my friends at NPR on the recent growing trend of Evangelicals taking a stand on climate change. Check out the report and interview below!

“On Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency wrapped up two days of public hearings on its proposed climate rule that would curb carbon emissions from the nation’s powers plants.

The comment sessions drew an audience more diverse than the usual make-up of energy executives, coal lobbyists, and environmental activists.

Among the crowd, and included as speakers, were a surprising number of faith leaders, Evangelicals and conservative Christians who were there not against, but in support of the Obama Administration’s position on climate action.

Brandan Robertson is the Founder of The Revangelical Movement and a representative of the growing number of those in the religious right who also see environmentalism as a religious and civic priority.

“Many conservative Christians pegged the issues around climate change as something that only liberals did or something that was actually opposed to the Christian message,” says Robertson. “This was mainly because conservative Evangelicals and Catholics tended to have a human-centered view that saw the Earth as an object that humans have been given to dominate and exploit for our own benefit. When it was all used up, Jesus would return, destroy the world, and take Christians to heaven. That is, of course, an oversimplification.”

Robertson says that a new wave of conservative Christians and religious organizations have begun taking leadership roles, adding that the views of climate change denialists are inadequate, destructive, and even “unbiblical” in some senses.

“Throughout The Bible, there are clear passages that describe the sacredness of the Earth,” says Robertson. “The Bible paints a picture at the end that says humanity will actually exist on our planet forever.””


  • Artistree

    It’s interesting to read about Climate Change in the Book of Enoch, a book which is not canonical but is quoted from in the Epistle of Jude.

    • Robb

      artisree . . . what is the reference in Jude?

      • Artistree

        Hi Robb,
        Jude, verses 14 and 15 quote the Book of Enoch 1:9. But I’d have to go back and read my copy of 1 Enoch to find chapter and verse where he talks about the various ice ages.

  • http://thinkunity.com/ John Kuykendall

    Our the Evangelicals strong enough to vote Christian or Republican? The GOP seems to manipulate them with social issues every election.

    • Artistree

      If Evangelicals are strong enough to vote Christian, they could not vote either Republican or Democrat, but third party. For Republicans and Democrats are anti-familists and embrace the Culture of Death.
      Sure, third party candidates cannot win, but at least when I vote I do not vote anti-Christ.

      • Pixie5

        That is a rather bizarre comment. Does it really help to demonize both sides? This is exactly the kind of judgmental idea that keeps Christians divided. That is just as ridiculous as making climate and science denial into a doctrine and demonizing those who disagree.

        To say that those you disagree with are anti-Christ is just plain slander.

        • Artistree

          I just believe that Christians should uphold the Values of the Kingdom of God as revealed in the Word made Flesh, Jesus Christ. Since both major parties are hostile to the teachings of Jesus in what they stand for on some major issues in their platforms, how can I vote for either of them ? It is those who disagree with Jesus and his Bride, the Church who we need to influence with the truth of the Gospel of the Kingdom. St. John used the term “anti-christ” to describe certain people who embrace certain beliefs.
          Was he wrong to do so ? And, it seems to me that John Kuykendall’s comment implied that to vote Republican was not to vote Christian, and you gave him a thumbs up.

          • Pixie5

            Perhaps I should not have commented. Yes I am a liberal but I am not a Christian. However I do believe in God. But from an outsider’s point of view, I see good and bad on both sides. Calling both parties “anti-family death cults” seems to be rather harsh. But you can have your opinion. I should not have judged that.

            My upvote in Kuykendedall’s comment simply has to do with the fact that I see many conservative Christians doing unchristian things, but that does not mean that I think that they are not Christians. And no I can’t see that they are anti-family or “death cults”. I can see why some Christians may see liberal Christians that way, although I disagree.

            I am not going to argue dogma with you. I guess I was a bit irritated because what often happens is that people can’t see the good on either side. Although I am a liberal, my Dad is a conservative Christian and while I think he is misguided in his allegiance to the Republican Party, he is most definitely not anti-family (he has never been divorced and was faithful to my mother until her death, in fact he has never remarried) nor is he a part of a “death cult” I have no idea what you even mean by that. How is the Repub party a “death cult”? And how are they anti-family?

            I also believe in separation of church and state and the Constitution. Which is why even if I were a conservative Christian I would still be for gay rights and the rights of others that I might disagree with, such as people who have different religions and atheists as well.

            But each of us has to vote our conscience as we see fit.

          • Artistree

            Hi Pixie,
            Thanks so much for your open and honest comment.

            I should probably explain my comments in a more gentle way. Maybe I was harsh because, like you, I get really tired of Republican “conservative” Christians doing unchristian things, holding unchristian views claiming to be in the right. And I get tired of people who claim to be Christians on the left, ignoring the teachings of Historical Biblical Christianity. I can have a lot more respect for a person like you, who is liberal, but then does not pretend to be Christian.

            My comment about Republicans and Democrats being anti-family is that neither are Familists. Republicans tend to be Capitalists and praise the competitive individual . The Democrat tends to be more Statist or Socialistic.
            I would agree with you that your dad, God bless him, has been hoodwinked by the Republican Party. Although he may personally may be pro-family, his political party is not because it puts corporate Capitalism and the drive for material wealth above family. Likewise I believe that the Democrats puts a socialistic role of government above what is a family’s responsibility, thereby weakening families.

            My beliefs as a Familists, and not a Capitalist or Socialist, stem from my belief that God in His nature is a Family and not a solitude ( Father/Word/Spirit) or in Christian theological terms, the Holy Tri-unity).

            I stand for LIFE, that is why I can’t vote for war monger money and consumerism above the life of the planet Republicans, or Democrats who seem to put so little value on the sacredness of life and the Natural Law definition of pro-creative marriage.

            I apologize for being harsh with my language. I’m sorry.

            Blessings of Beauty on your journey !

          • Pixie5

            Thank you for your apology and explaining your meaning of your comments. So many misunderstandings can happen when people are not clear in their language. I know I often get emotional with my language and I figure everyone must understand what I mean, when often they don’t!

            You have an interesting point of view that I have not heard before. I am not sure I agree with everything you said, but thanks for sharing it. It is something to think about!

            Take care ;)

  • Pixie5

    I know when I first found out that climate denial was now part of the requirement of being a fundamentalist Christian I thought it was completely nuts. The merging of politics and religion at its worst. People need to have the freedom to disagree with some things, and I can’t see how taking care of the earth conflicts with the Bible. After all, most people agree that smog is a bad thing and that getting rid of it is a good thing or at least minimizing the problem. That making sure the ozone layer does not disappear is a good thing. That treating sewage before it is dumped in the ocean is a sensible thing to do. The problem is that Republican party has reframed itself as the “Christian Party” so therefore Christians are required to be in lockstep with it, even in things that are not part of Christian doctrine.

    Forgive me for being a bit crude, but I can easily see God saying “You poop in My back yard, then you clean it up!”

    Sorry climate denial makes no more sense than us throwing our trash in each other’s yards and then refusing to clean it up. In addition to being good neighbors, whatever we do to others and the earth, we do to ourselves. And that IS consistent with Christian teachings.

    In addition we are running out of fossil fuels. If we had heeded the people in the 70′s who warned us about that, then think how much better off we would be today. And maybe we could have avoided a war or two? And our air would be cleaner? It isn’t just CO2 that is a problem!

    Christians should not be led by the noses of those with financial interests. It is appropriate to question a party that wants to equate following oil companies with following Jesus.

    • Artistree

      Very good points ! Amen.
      Out of the entire galaxy God choose this planet earth to build His household. The Earth is God’s temple and we are living stones in that temple. We must , as Christians, treat the Earth as the Sacred Space that it is. The beauty of the Earth is a reflection of the Beautiful One and the beauty of the earth draws us to the Creator of that beauty. To pollute and trash the Earth is to distract people from Christ, for it is by the Word of God that this beautiful earth exists.

    • ucfengr

      I’m fairly certain that nobody denies that there is, in fact, a climate. I don’t think anybody denies that it’s changing. The disagreement is over how much we (the US) contribute to it. Whether or not the change is a bad thing. For example, warmer climates mean more land can be used to grow food and making the population healthier (The Black Death occurred during the Little Ice Age when growing season became shorter and food scarcer). And, assuming we are a large contributor, whether it makes more sense to try and stop “climate change” or is it better to mitigate its effects. There’s no way, in the short term, to stop emissions of “green house gases” without dramatically reducing our energy use. Is the trade off over radically changing our lifestyle (you like getting produce year round and knowing the light will turn on when you flip the switch) worth the trivial amount of impact we have?

      • Pixie5

        If 97 bomb experts told you that there was a live bomb in the building you live in, and 3 who said that it was a dud, who would you believe? That is the same amount of “disagreement” among climate scientists about climate change happening (and yes much of the public denies it is happening) and that it is mostly due to
        manmade activity. I don’t know about you, but if only 3 bomb experts said that the bomb was a dud, I’d get out of the building. Do you want to take the chance that 97% of climate scientists are wrong? Including the extremely smart people at NASA?

        There is a simple way of demonstrating that greenhouse gases such as CO2 and methane cause global warming. Venus is the hottest planet and yet Mercury is the closest to the Sun. The difference? Venus has greenhouse gases.

        As far as the climate changing, if it is rapid change, then it is automatically bad, Disrupting eco-systems causes mass extinctions as life simply can’t adapt that fast. That is the danger that we are facing today.

        And no a warmer climate is not automatically better. Dry deserts are a death sentence. Look at what is happening in California. Yes we often do get droughts out here but it is getting worse. I live in SoCal in the high desert and the weather was pretty bizarre this past year. We hardly had a winter to speak of. Now in LA they have temperate temperatures all year round. Not in the high desert and mountains though. Yet I never wore a jacket all. I have lived here 50 years and have never seen this before. One bad consequence of this is that we depend on snow melt from the mountains to carry us through a rainless summer. At least partially. We get most of our water from NoCal. But the drought is statewide. Los Angeles cannot exist without water up from up north. And central CA is devoted to farming. You can’t farm without water!

        The Colorado River is drying up and no longer empties into the sea. Now it stops in Mexico. Several states depend on piping water hundreds of miles from the Colorado River. Las Vegas has NO water supply of its own. It depends solely on the Colorado river.

        If you think that there will be no costs both ecologically and economically from climate change then you are sadly mistaken.
        Also at this point we are not looking at just warm weather globally. As counter-intuitive as it sounds. global warming can lead to COLDER weather in many areas. We have warm crrents and cold currents in our ocean and well as in the air. Melting ice caps change the ratio of cold and warm currents and also changes their directions. Heat rises also. Different patterns that can include cold fronts. We saw that happen also this past year in parts of the country. A polar vortex, which usually stays in the polar regions, became destabilized and came south. You also have to remember that global warming does not mean that we won’t have winters because of the tilt of the earth. Furthermore the heating of the earth is an average over the entire globe. That does not mean that it will be hot everywhere.

        As far as changing things, I never said it would take place overnight, BUT WE HAVE TO PUT PRESSURE TO MAKE THOSE CHANGES. It is time to stop procrastinating. We have the technology to switch to clean energy. Some of it is developed already and some needs further development.

        We had some of those resources way back in the 70′s. If we had developed them way back when, we would not be having this conversation right now. And a lot of it may be simpler than people think. We have a couple of farm states that are getting most of their energy now from wind energy.

        Unfortunately the rich fossil fuel industry simply is not going to make changes on their own. The government has to step in. Reducing C02 emissions is a start. And not all measures have to be draconian. The government is already giving tax deferments to energy companies that are developing clean energy. They still have to pay the taxes, but later on. While I often hate all the tax breaks that are given to big companies, this is a wise use of them.

        The government is also helping poor families to get solar panels on their roofs in CA. I am not sure whether it is a full subsidy or a discount. I am disabled, but I don’t qualify because I live by myself. I also have seen solar panels on senior apartment housing.

        In my area wind and solar farms are popping up everywhere.

        Seriously with all the complicated technology it takes to extract increasingly hard to find fossil fuels it is ridiculous to say that we don’t have the resources and technology to develop clean energy. It is simply a matter of priorities.

        • ucfengr

          Your bomb analogy is flawed because a bomb exploding is an immediate catastrophe with clearly imaginable impacts. “Climate Change”, in contrast has a timeline measured in centuries and unclear impacts. But, just say for the moment that your analogy isn’t flawed. What if the 97 experts have a financial interest in convincing you there’s a bomb in your house, whether there is one or not? That changes the equation a bit, doesn’t it, and that’s the situation we’re in now. The fossil fuel companies aren’t the only people with a financial interest. GE didn’t support banning the incandescent bulb because CFLs are less profitable.

          Wind and solar farms are unreliable producers of energy and create their own non-trivial environmental issues. If you want to be sure that when you flip the switch, the power will come on, you need either fossil or nuclear power plants; there are no viable alternatives at present. Most people aren’t willing to live in a society where only the rich have reliable power, which is what getting rid of fossil fuels will result in.

          • ucfengr

            Also, Venus has an atmosphere that is 96% CO2. Earth has an atmosphere that is 0.03% CO2. Even in the worst case scenarios, we’re looking at CO2 in the hundreds of parts per million range. Trivial amounts.