One more hopeful sign in a week or two of positive events (including Bono's speech at the National Prayer Breakfast and Rick Warren's Nightline appearance)...
Evangelicals and Scientists held a press conference today in which they decried Global Warming and insisted that faith and science need to come together. Of particular concern to Christians is the fact that this warming trend will greatly impact not only the environment but also the poorest of the poor among humanity first.
"It doesn't matter whether you believe Darwin got it right or that the Genesis story is literally true," ABC News reported Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson as saying. "We can all agree that, however it got here, the living creation — on which we all depend for our existence — is something we don't want to see destroyed."
Eighty-six evangelical leaders signed on to the Evangelical Climate Initiative, as it is being called, including presidents of 39 Christian colleges and universities, leaders of various aid and parachurch groups, and even the afore-mentioned Pastor Rick Warren of "Purpose-Driven Life" fame. (I tip the hat to my own denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church, for their support of this idea.)
However, the usual suspects are rejecting the proposal. Chuck Colson (Prison Fellowship), James Dobson (Focus on the Family), and Richard Land (Southern Baptist Convention) -- ever the blind leading the blind, it seems -- lead the dissenters. Their argument is that "science isn't settled" on the issue, which seems pretty far-fetched when hearing from the afore-mentioned Edward O. Wilson. They recently mailed a letter to the National Assocation of Evangelicals to insure that organization would not back the Global Warming Initiative, nor allow any of its officers or staff to sign. It worked. The NAE, previously leaning in favor of the Initiative, went to a neutral position.
I have long observed the politics of Focus on the Family as being dictatorial. I well recall Dobson putting heat on the EPA (that's Evangelical Press Association, not Environmental Protection Agency) to discipline an EPA leader, Timothy Warner, who gently questioned Ronald Reagan's policies in an EPA Newsletter editorial. The threat from Dobson was straightforward. Discipline Warner or we'll quit the EPA. Of course, EPA buckled. So much for freedom of the press, eh? Focus was also involved in the attempted supression of Zondervan's TNIV, a gender-correct version of Scripture which removes excessive male-specific pronouns from the original text.
Charles Colson, as I've observed here before, is a real disappointment personally to me. (I doubt he loses sleep over that fact, but...) And Richard Land's denomination has consistently become more draconian in its measures against women, systematically removing them from roles of leadership since the 1990s and reinforcing the hierarchical marriage model widely rejected by other Christian teachers and denominations. Southern Baptist Missionaries are forbidden to allow the wife to teach or preach, even when not to do so would appear to any observer a waste of giftings and man (er, woman) power. Most recently, the Southern Baptists forbade any new missionaries on the mission field from praying in tongues -- even in the privacy of their own homes! Haala ki baraka! (Translation: Fascinatin' stuff. )
E. Calvin Beisner, whom I first encountered at a Christian conference as he railed at a panel of African Americans about their take on racism -- yeah, he'd know a lot more than they would about that topic -- also checked in on Global Warming. In fact, he's organized the opposition into what he calls "The Interfaith Stewardship Alliance." Hehehehe.... I love that. I hear they have a picture of James Watt on the wall.... remember the "Jesus is coming back so what me worry about the environment" Watt? He was Ronald Reagan's evangelical in the cabinet, until it turned out his china was cracked.
Hey, it's a blog. I'm venting. Trott needs a muzzle. Somebody get the Tazer...
Anyway, enough about the dissenters. Hoorah for the folks with eyes to see and ears to hear.
It really has been a good week.