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The Greening of Evangelicals...

Here are excerpts from the Washington Post news story on evangelicals and environmentalism.

Environmentalism is one of the huge mandates from God to us all... Be a good stewards or caretakers for creation. Not a suggestion there by the way, but a command.

And especially as this issue is just absent from the voices of the Christian right -- the article mentions how many Christian advocacy groups give 100% ranking to congressmen that environmental groups fail -- it is even more crucial for progressive and moderate Christians to keep this issue as a core public moral concern. If we don't no one else in the church will.

But there are signs of hope as listed below:

"There is growing evidence -- in polling and in public statements of church leaders -- that evangelicals are beginning to go for the green. Despite wariness toward mainstream environmental groups, a growing number of evangelicals view stewardship of the environment as a responsibility mandated by God in the Bible.

"The environment is a values issue," said the Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals. "There are significant and compelling theological reasons why it should be a banner issue for the Christian right."

In October, the association's leaders adopted an "Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility" that, for the first time, emphasized every Christian's duty to care for the planet and the role of government in safeguarding a sustainable environment.

"We affirm that God-given dominion is a sacred responsibility to steward the earth and not a license to abuse the creation of which we are a part," said the statement, which has been distributed to 50,000 member churches. "Because clean air, pure water, and adequate resources are crucial to public health and civic order, government has an obligation to protect its citizens from the effects of environmental degradation.

Also last fall, Christianity Today, an influential evangelical magazine, weighed in for the first time on global warming. It said that "Christians should make it clear to governments and businesses that we are willing to adapt our lifestyles and support steps towards changes that protect our environment."

The magazine came out in favor of a global warming bill -- sponsored by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) -- that the Bush administration opposed and the Republican-controlled Senate defeated.

Polling has found a strengthening consensus among evangelicals for strict environmental rules, even if they cost jobs and higher prices, said John C. Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron. In 2000, about 45 percent of evangelicals supported strict environmental regulations, according to Green's polling. That jumped to 52 percent last year.

There is little to suggest in recent elections that environmental concerns influenced the evangelical vote -- indeed, many members of Congress who receive 100 percent approval ratings from Christian advocacy groups get failing grades from environmental groups.

At the same time, activists such as Ball from the Evangelical Environmental Network are trying to show how the most important hot-button issue of the Christian right -- abortion and the survival of the unborn -- has a green dimension.

"Stop Mercury Poisoning of the Unborn," said a banner that Ball carried in last month's antiabortion march in Washington. Holding up the other end of the banner was Cizik, the National Association of Evangelicals' chief lobbyist.

They handed out carefully footnoted papers that cited federal government studies showing that 1 in 6 babies is born with harmful levels of mercury. The fliers urged Christians not to support the "Clear Skies" act, a Bush administration proposal to regulate coal-burning power plants that are a primary source of mercury pollution.

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