- (Photo: The Christian Post / Pauline J. Chang, File)
The Rev. Richard Cizik, the face of the green evangelical movement, was named among Time magazine’s top 100 most influential people in the world for 2008.
Cizik, an ordained Evangelical Presbyterian minister and head of the Office of Government Affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), was honored alongside environmental partner Dr. Eric Chivian, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
“The bringing together of the scientists and the Evangelical Christians is a rather unusual event, since these two groups have really been at odds for a very long time,” Chivian said. “Recognition by TIME Magazine was an indication of how important it is to bring all groups together to capitalize on areas they agree on.”
The two met in 2005 and have since worked together to forge a partnership between the scientific and evangelical communities to care for creation.
“Science without religion loses its ethical guide, and religion without science lacks the means and resources to understand the world. Science enables us to better understand what creation is telling us about itself and its Maker,” Cizik said in a statement Friday. “This is an approach to the environment that draws on our mutual strengths.”
Cizik believes creation care is a more holistic understanding of the evangelical pro-life stance. He points to medical studies that show one out of six children born in America are afflicted with permanent disabilities because of air pollution caused by coal burning plants.
“If you are for the sanctity of life and ignore the health impact of the environment on the unborn, I think that is a limited understanding of how everything is connected in life,” Cizik had said to The Christian Post last fall.
“You can’t separate either these principles like taking care of the earth and the sanctity of life – they overlap,” the NAE leader contended. “So to say you are pro-life but to ignore what is occurring to the unborn from environmental degradation is an abomination.”
Cizik is no stranger when it comes to being at the forefront of the evangelical movement. Decades ago, Cizik drafted a letter to then-President Ronald Reagan that is said to be the inspiration behind Reagan’s “evil empire” speech, which helped boost the political influence of evangelicals.
He also was instrumental in major NAE initiatives, including the “Statement of Conscience on Worldwide Religious Persecution” and the landmark document “For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Engagement.”
"Richard Cizik's significant influence has been growing for more than a quarter century at NAE. He has spoken for evangelicals on behalf of the unborn and international religious freedom, against sex trafficking, for creation care and a long list of biblical values for many years," commented NAE president Leith Anderson.
Another Christian leader who made it on Time’s 100 list was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, who interestingly also was commended for his environmental activism.