U.S. evangelicals urged to put green preaching into practice

November 8, 2007

Solar panelsThe U.S. National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), which has broadened its agenda to include environmental protection and the fight against global warming, has decided to practice what it preaches by encouraging its members to take up a government- sponsored energy saving initiative.

The ENERGY STAR Challenge is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program aimed at improving the energy efficiency of America’s commercial and industrial buildings by 10 percent or more.

“If America’s more than 300,000 houses of worship cut energy use by 10 percent, they would save nearly $200 million each year – money that could be used for missions and other priorities,” said Richard Cizik, vice president of governmental affairs for the NAE.

“It would also prevent the annual release of more than 2 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which is equivalent to the emissions generated by about 400,000 cars , or the planting of over a half million acres of trees.”

Cizik has been instrumental in prodding the NAE — which by some estimates represents about half of America’s roughly 60 million evangelicals — to preach the green gospel , a position which has made many old culture warriors see red and does not have the support of all its members.

The late Jerry Falwell railed against it, while others see it as a distraction from their “core Richard Cizikissues” of abortion and the family. For some Christians with apocalyptic views, caring about the environment is a moot point if the world is about to end anyway.

But Cizik, who is also a staunch social conservative, supports the argument that humanity must be stewards of God’s creation. In his view, Christians have a special duty to fight climate change because it is seen hitting hardest at the poorest of the poor, especially in places such as Africa.

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