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Thursday, Dec. 8, 2005 05:42 am

Evangelical environmentalism

Conservative Christians say the Bible tells them to be good stewards of the earth

It’s obvious to even a casual observer that the Lord works wonders in mysterious ways. Just ask Jim Inhofe. Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican who chairs the U.S. Senate’s environment committee, is the favorite pet of corporate polluters whose industrial emissions are cited by scientists as the leading cause of global warming. Not only has Inhofe stifled every congressional effort to control these emissions, but he also has called the very idea of corporate involvement in global warming “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”
So far, Inhofe has been able to ignore science, but now he finds himself confronted by a formidable and surprising new force: evangelical Christians. Within the National Association of Evangelicals — representing 45,000 churches serving 30 million members — is a burgeoning Evangelical Environmental Network that is taking seriously the Biblical mandate for humans to be good stewards of the earth. Indeed, these mainstream evangelicals are now considering a draft policy statement calling on Congress to pass mandatory controls on global-warming emissions. “Good God Almighty!” you can almost hear Inhofe shout. In his political career, he has always touted himself as a devout evangelical, and he certainly did not expect this curveball from God. So far, his reaction has been to assail the messengers. Sticking with his corporate sponsors, Inhofe calls the claim that Christians should work to stop activities harmful to God’s creation “something very strange,” and he dismisses the evangelicals’ Biblical citations for their work, saying: “You can always find in Scriptures a passage to misquote for almost anything.”
The evangelicals don’t choose to call their work environmentalism, preferring the phrase “creation care.” But forget the labels — it’s the message that’s important. Even if Inhofe doesn’t want to hear it, you can get the word at www.creationcare.org.
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