Cizik Warns of God's Judgment over Environment Issues

The Rev. Richard Cizik, vice-president of governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), is pushing to persuade evangelical Christians to care about global warming.

"The Bible is authoritative in our lives, in our personal actions,” he said in a Reuters interview. “… that's not to say that the Bible dictates one bill or another - of course it doesn't. But it dictates stewardship of our natural resources."

Cizik noted that most U.S. evangelical Christians tend to vote Republican and the environmental cause is more associated with the Democratic Party. And since the 60 million or so American evangelicals tend to be more concerned with such social issues as abortion and the war in Iraq, getting them into tackling global climate change or other environmental problems is not an easy task.

"There are people who disagree with what I'm doing ... within the evangelical community of America," he said.

"Simply for standing up and saying, 'Climate change is real, the science is solid, we have to care about this issue because of the impact on the poor' – why would that be controversial? Well, I'm sorry to say, it is controversial and there are people who want to take my head off."

Cizik is part of an overall ecological push by some evangelical Christians known as "creation care" – the notion that the environment is a divine creation and must be protected by humans.

This movement has included a highly successful pitch to evangelicals to use more fuel-efficient vehicles, dubbed "What Would Jesus Drive?" The title was inspired by the popular bromide favored by Christians including President George W. Bush – "What Would Jesus Do?"

When confronted with projections that half of all species may be extinct by the end of this century, Cizik sees a "biblical concern."

"God made 'em," he said of endangered species. "And He says we are to exercise a stewardship responsibility of this earth ... We're tenant-landlords and we will have to return it at some point, at the end of time, to God who made it. And are we going to return it in the condition it was made?"

Those who fail to care for the environment will face a divine reckoning, Cizik said.

"Never mind what the voters say or do, there will be a judgment by God Himself on these matters and it's a very serious consideration ... for this president, any senator, any House member, if you think about these issues in terms of what the Bible says,” he stated.

According to a report in Tuesday's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the planet's temperature has climbed to levels not seen in thousands of years and the warming has begun to affect plants and animals. Researchers noted that a report in the journal Nature found that 1,700 plant, animal and insect species moved poleward at an average rate of about 4 miles per decade in the last half of the 20th century.

Christian Post reporter Joseph Alvarez in Washington contributed to this story.