Richard Cizik Shifts His View on SSU and Is Asked to Resign

On Fresh Air with Terry Gross, National Association of Evangelicals vice president of governmental affairs Rich Cizik admitted that his views on same sex unions are shifting.  While he made it clear that he does not favor same sex marriage, he did affirm the that he favors same sex civil unions.  Cizik also admitted that he voted for Barack Obama in the primary election, although he did not reveal for whom he voted in the general. 

As a result of these comments, NAE president Leith Anderson asked Cizik to resign, which Cizik did.

Cizik has been a leading figure in the evangelical world over the past several years, battling evangelical lions like James Dobson and Charles Colson on several issues, most noteably the environment.  As a result of Cizik’s tireless efforts, the NAE affirmed care for creation as one of its chief concerns.

Cizik is a loss for all progressive evangelicals who still think the NAE is a potentially potent force.  But he’s a gain for those of us who are post-evangelical, post-religious right, post-moral majority, post-polarized politics, post-discrimination, and post-closedmindedness.

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  • Wow, a thinking person with an open mind who has not figured out all the answers to life or all the proper interpretations of the Bible. How refreshing! So sorry for him losing his job, especially in light of these tough economic times, but maybe he is better off. The NAE is one more example of the Christian Right that puts what they think is right beliefs over the well-being and care of one of their own. Very Christ-like NAE! NOT!!!!

  • Jeff

    The NAE actually willing to stand up for the Truth of scripture? … It’s very simple, you are either for Christ or against Christ; no middle ground … sometimes the lump of yeast has to go so it doesn’t spoil the whole body. It was Mr. Cizik’s choice to step away from scripture and forfeit his job with NEA, although it is a greater loss for him to lose scriptural perspective than it is to lose his job. I too pray that he will reconcile with the NEA, reconciliation is what it’s about.
    Peace, Jeff

  • In times of fear and doubt, certainty (even at the expense of sincerity) tends to be humanity’s fallback position. Sadly, Rich is a casualty of our fear driven propensity to exclude those who think in terms of relationships instead of propositions. May Jesus give us the strength to weather “economic hardships” with faith in order to keep us from rebuilding the dividing walls which Jesus tore down.

  • Your Name

    I thank God for Rich Cizik’s courage. He was just out here at Azusa Pacific University where I now work and spoke some good words. I am like him, for civil unions for homosexual and heterosexual, with the church making theological decisions about marriage within each denomination.
    This goes to show that the NAE is less evangelical or Christian and more a political tool for right wing politics masked in an insipid form of religious Christianity.
    You can be sure that when a Christian disowns another Christian brother or sister over how they voted politically, you can be sure those who disowned the brother or sister are not Christians in the way of Jesus.

  • Duh-sciple

    NAE means…
    No Arrogance Excluded
    Arbitrary, biased interpretation of scripture
    Closing off other voices
    Welcome, Richard, to the family of Jesus followers who don’t have all the answers
    Following the “conversion of Peter” in Acts 10-11
    Think about it- it was Peter, not Cornelius, who experienced the deeper conversion
    And it is the Church, often more than the “world”, that needs to be “converted”
    Sorry, I’m disappointed in the NAE, if you can’t tell
    Peace, Duh-sciple

  • A now happy man

    we do have all the answers…its the Bible. If you’re interested, it’s the book you have stuffed on your shelf behind Deepak Chopra and the latest Oprah magazine.

  • Duh-sciple

    Now Happy Man,
    What Chopra book and Oprah magazine are you talking about?
    And… the Bible is more accurately a book of God’s question of us rather than His answers for us
    From Genesis…
    Adam, where are you?
    Through the Gospels…
    What are you looking for?
    Simon, do you love me? (3x)
    Who are my mother and brothers?
    Why do you look for the living among the dead?
    Do you see this woman?
    Which of these three was neighbor to the robbery victim?
    Why do you obsess about the splinter in your brother’s eye when there’s a big fat log in your own eye?
    Sorry, didn’t get those questions from the “authors” you cited, although both are beloved of God.
    Got to go… have to return to answering God’s questions.

  • thebob.bob

    Gayness is a biological fact. Discrimination based on Biology is bigotry. Until the radical right-wing evangelicals stop selectively using the bible for political purposes, they’ll stay in the wilderness.

  • Nathan

    James Dobson will have something to be happy about again.

  • The real issue is whether evangelicals will be kept focused on sexual-morality issues (gay marriage, abortion) or whether they will expand their understanding of Christian morality to include economic and ecological issues as well. The “Mammonists” who are in charge of the GOP are relying on the former to provide them with a constant source of footsoldiers and funding. The latter is a threat to their control of the evangelical movement, since it’s pretty hard to make a case for merciless, laissez-faire capitalism from a Gospel-based perspective.

  • Jeff

    “Gayness is a biological fact.” It’s funny that a ‘biological fact’ from a hundred years ago (pre DNA knowledge) is now actually laughable; but at the time it was a FACT. By the way, what biological periodical calls gayness a biological fact? The only thing that doesn’t change is God … He will always be Factual and never changing.
    Peace, Jeff

  • Your Name

    I am so disappointed with the NAE… I disassociated myself from them a long time ago. The leadership needs to get back to the basics and read the Bible… all of it… and embrace the theme throughout! As Jesus said, the greatest is Love!
    Civil Unions allow for shared property rights, the ability to visit in a hospital, to act on a loved one’s last wishes, etc. It does not equal marraige. May I humbly suggest if the NAE is concerned with the sanctity of marraige it start with the families in the church. The divorce rate is 60% nationally, and is no different for Christians. Now that would be an effort that Jesus would support!
    The NAE has a forest in their eye!

  • Joel

    Why is the evangelical establishment so determined to alienate their friends and allies? Their childlike faith has devolved into childlike reasoning – that is, a black-and-white pattern of thinking which discounts the complexity of human experience and attempts to force consensus rather than to build it.

  • Dave

    I’m a pastor at a church in the Mpls/St.Paul metro area. The church I serve has a conservative protestant evangelical heritage. My wife and I were both very surprised and encouraged by Cizik’s interview on Fresh Air. We thought he demonstrated a thoughtful perspective, realistically addressed the tension between his personal views and the NAE, and showed a healthy appreciation for the need to recognize the difference between political policy and religious convictions.
    His resignation underscores why we were right to be surprised. In pressuring Cizik to resign, the NAE just reinforced the negative attitudes so many people have against them. Cizik’s leaddership could have changed that, but the NAE seems determined to continue it’s downward spiral toward diminished influence and relevance.

  • Raoul

    Thank God I’m an atheist.
    All the tired, impoverished dogma is long behind me and I’m free to be an open, honest human.
    All you folks trying hard to be angels, have you actually read the Bible to know what God’s perfect agents represent: Murder, genocide, pestilence, and mass destruction.
    Good luck with that. I’m happy to be post-Christian.

  • Johnny d

    Raoul, congratulations on your liberation. Although it is curious that you would even be visiting “Beliefnet” after you had put all that stuff behind you so long ago.
    No worldview has a corner on truth, but the message of Christ is as sorely needed by Christians as it is by atheists … or any one else for that matter. The situation in China is a good case in point; merely flipping the coin over introduces a new set of problems. We need new currency.
    Cizick’s spiritual insight and bravery are a God-send, a bright foreshadowing of a new pluralism beyond the red/blue; black/white; Christianist/Atheist false dichotomies of the cultural moment.
    God bless you, Rich