National Association of Evangelicals Names Cizik Replacement

The National Association of Evangelicals has named Galen Carey as director of Government Affairs. He replaces Richard Cizik who was forced to resign after making controversial remarks on same-sex unions.

Carey is a longtime employee of World Relief – the relief and development arm of the NAE – and is expected to bring "a fresh approach to evangelical advocacy in Washington," said NAE president Leith Anderson in an announcement Wednesday.

In his new role, which he will take up on August 1, Carey will represent the NAE – a body of about 45,000 churches and organizations – before Congress, the White House and the Courts.

There have been only three directors in NAE's 67-year history.

"I am excited to represent evangelical churches in Washington as we seek to protect children and families, promote religious freedom, peace and human rights, seek sustainable solutions to domestic and global poverty, promote a consistent ethic of life, and responsibly care for God's creation," Carey said in a statement. "These are goals shared by many people of good will."

Cizik, the immediate past director, had held the position for 28 years.

The long-time evangelical lobbyist resigned from his post in December 2008. He made some comments that month on National Public Radio that forced the NAE to do some damage control and reaffirm their stance on marriage and abortion.

In his interview, Cizik said he believes in civil unions for same-sex couples and admitted to be "shifting" in his support for gay marriage.

He also stated that a pro-life Christian could still find reason to support an abortion rights candidate, and admitted he voted for now President Barack Obama in the Virginia primary.

His comments sparked a firestorm of protest and criticism by pro-life, pro-traditional marriage Christians. NAE president Anderson reassured the groups and NAE members that the evangelical body stands firm on the pro-life position and traditional marriage.

In an e-mail to Christianity Today magazine, Cizik – who is still actively advocating for creation care – lauded NAE's pick and said "they couldn't have selected a better person."

According to the NAE, Carey is a leading evangelical voice on refugee, immigration, and international relief and development issues.

He has 26 years with World Relief under his belt and a formal theological education, and is an active, committed Christian, as Anderson highlighted.

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