We have completed maintenance on DiscoverMagazine.com and action may be required on your account. Learn More

Evangelicals and Climate Change

By Keith Kloor
Jul 30, 2014 11:49 PMNov 20, 2019 12:32 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Nearly a decade ago, I wrote a profile of Richard Cizik for Audubon magazine. He was, at the time, a prominent lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals and a member of good standing among social and political conservatives. But Cizik's views on a number of hot-button issues were evolving. In 2008 he was forced to resign, or as he later put it, fired for remarks he made on NPR:

In a broad-ranging conversation about my work to educate my fellow evangelicals about the impacts of climate change, I told Terry Gross, the host of NPR’s “Fresh Air,” that I could support “civil unions” for gays and lesbians and that government funding of contraception was morally acceptable as a way to avoid abortion.

As I wrote in my Audubon piece, Cizik had come to view global warming as an urgent, moral issue. History would judge the evangelical community, he believed, just as it had on another defining issue:

“It was to our eternal . . . ” he says, struggling to find the right words, “it was to our discredit that evangelicals didn't join [Dr. Martin Luther] King in the civil rights movement. It was forever a black mark on us that we weren't part of that. And I dare say—I could be wrong, I'm not a prophet—in a few years people will say, ‘Were the evangelicals engaged in the environmental issue?' And again, it will be to our discredit if we are not.”

I think it's still too soon to say, even nine years after he told me this, if the conservative evangelical community has fully embraced climate change as a morally compelling issue. But that day appears to be coming.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.