Richard Cizik resigned Wednesday night as vice president for governmental affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) during a week of growing uproar over his comments that he is shifting his views on same-sex unions.
"Although he has subsequently expressed regret, apologized, and affirmed our values, there is a loss of trust in his credibility as a spokesperson among leaders and constituencies," Leith Anderson, president of the NAE wrote to board members today. Cizik did not return calls for comment.
Last year, more than two dozen evangelical leaders sought to oust Cizik, who worked at the NAE for 28 years, because of his "relentless campaign" on global warming.
"For better or for worse, Rich became a great, polarizing figure," said Charles Colson of Prison Fellowship. "He was gradually, over a period of time, separating himself from the mainstream of evangelical belief and conviction. So I'm not surprised. I'm sorry for him, but I'm not disappointed for the evangelical movement."
Cizik spoke mostly on the environment in a December 2 interview with Terry Gross on National Public Radio's Fresh Air, but he made brief remarks about same-sex civil unions, gay marriage, and his early support of President-elect Barack Obama.
In a short portion of the program, Gross asked him, "A couple of years ago when you were on our show, I asked you if you were changing your mind on that. And two years ago, you said you were still opposed to gay marriage. But now as you identify more with younger voters, would you say you have changed on gay marriage?"
Cizik responded, "I'm shifting, I have to admit. In other words, I would willingly say that I believe in civil unions. I don't officially support redefining marriage from its traditional ...1