These are anxious days in the trenches of the culture war. The Federal Marriage Amendment is dead. A rollback of President Bush's restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research appears likely after he leaves office. Human cloning looms ominously.
What's more, Christians who speak publicly on these vital causes are called theocrats and worse. This faith-hostile context makes productive debate over contentious issues, such as global warming, ever more difficult among evangelicals.
Little wonder, then, that evangelicals who dispute the cause of and remedy for global warming are critical of fellow evangelicals who signed the Evangelical Climate Initiative (ECI) statement last year. They have three complaints, outlined in a March letter to L. Roy Taylor, chairman of the board of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). First, they believe too many evangelicals are uncritically joining the global-warming campaign. Second, they criticize the campaign for adding another priority to our crowded agenda, shifting emphasis away from "the great moral issues of our time." And third, they argue that evangelical leaders lack "the expertise to settle the controversy, and that the issue should be addressed scientifically and not theologically."
The letter, signed by Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Don Wildmon of the American Family Association, and more than 20 other conservative Christian leaders, also attacks Richard Cizik, the NAE's vice president for governmental affairs, for his vocal public stance on global warming.
The letter accuses Cizik of orchestrating a "relentless campaign," speaking "without authorization for the entire organization," and advancing "his own political opinions ...1