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Environmental Concern and the Christain Community

AlterNet: Election 2004: Did Jesus Wear Birkenstocks?

Wondering where the environment might fit into the Christian Right's constellation of moral obsessions, I called the Christian Coalition's Florida headquarters. Since the state has taken a biblical battering of extreme storms and droughts over the last few years, and since worse is predicted as ocean temperatures continue to rise, I thought the Christian Coalition Florida office might be ahead of the curve on the issue, at least compared to the mothership in Washington.

I asked Bill Stephens, executive director for the Sunshine State, what he thought about the fact that some Christians feel a religious duty to protect the environment. He didn't seem to understand the question, so I rephrased it. Could he imagine one day including the environment among the Christian Coalition's current stable of issues?

After a long pause, Stephens emitted a verbal shrug. "To be honest, I've never really thought about it," he said.

Other idea mills working to keep a biblical sheen on anti-green politics are the National Center for Public Policy Research and the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, both of which publish papers warning against the lure of "creation care." In one such article, Samuel Casey Carter decries the "swarm of seemingly mainstream Protestant organizations conjur[ing] support for their activist programs through specious readings of disconnected biblical texts." The truth is, writes Carter, "the whole of nature has been delivered over to man for him to use as he sees fit. Man is not simply the head of the natural order, rather, that order was made for him."



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