Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Evangelicals, Scientists Unite Over Global Warming -- Except for the Usual Suspects

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.

7 comments:

JAC said...

Mr. Trott...just wanted to say I was saddened to see that the Cornerstone site is "no longer live"...feels like the end of an era...but I will check your blog with some degree of regularity, as I have respected your commitment to Truth and your ability to communicate it since the late 70's when I read my first issue of CStone. Good luck with the blogs and may God bless you.

Jon Trott said...

Yep, it is painful for me too to think of the mag being "in the past." But hopefully we will continue to find new ways to have a voice in the American Church. Blessings, and thank you very much for the uplifting remarks.

Whisky Prajer said...

I, too, am sad to see Cornerstone go. And while I'm grateful for JPUSA-related blogs ("click-and-publish" hath its charms), it's been difficult for me not to think of this gradual media transformation as representing a gradual and steady "decline" of sorts. There is a great deal to recommend digital art and media, but the substantial charm of Cornerstone Mag of the 80s (my youth) was its whole-package approach to readers: from the artwork, to the literary content, to the grade of paper, it was an offering that appealed to nearly all the senses (never tried eating it, so I won't vouch for its flavour).

But hey: keep blogging by any means possible. I'm just one reader among many who welcome your efforts at provocation and encouragement of the saints. Cheers - Darrell Reimer

Jon Trott said...

You guys are gonna make me CRY!!! WAAAA...

But seriously, I do appreciate the thoughts. And it is true that there is a difference both qualitative and quantitative between the mag with its large staff of writers and artists and our various little blogs and so forth.

Maybe a book or two will be forthcoming. That is one way I foresee some of the inequity of the present situation, quality-wise, being balanced out...

In Him,
jon

B-W said...

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.

Word choice is extremely important on this issue. The TNIV calls themselves "Gender neutral," and they haven't removed excessive male-specific pronouns from the originala text, but rather they have translated this version of the English text to more accurately reflect the inclusive intentions of the original authors where appropriate. For example, a word might have been tranlated as "men" in the past, but if the intention was obviously "people" (or some other way of saying "men and women," they have made that intention more clear here.

The intent is not to alter the original text in any way. If it were, conservatives would have a legitimate gripe against this translation. Rather, the intent is to more clearly communicate the original text to a people who do not read gender-specific plurals as inclusively as perhaps people once did.

Paul M. Kingery said...

Thanks for your thoughts Jon. I look forward to following your blog. Christians should be more careful regarding the environment. Take a look at the intro to this new online book at http://landofcanaan.info/book.php and let me know your thoughts.
Thanks.

Jon Trott said...

b-w.... what you said. Maybe it was because I like the other "naughty" (as in gender-inclusive) translation, the NRSV, better than the TNIV. A bit snotty of me... I like the literary vibe it has in comparison...