Thursday, October 19, 2006

Global Warming Makes for Strange Bedfellows

A couple of weeks ago, I claimed that the issue of global warming had seriously cooled down in the run-up to the November mid-term elections. While some of you disagreed with me on that (and, thanks, Tom, for pointing to races where it's being discussed), it turns out that some evangelical Christians feel the same way as I do... really! According to the LA Times, several prominent evangelical leaders held a "Call for Action" today to encourage Bible-believing Christian voters to place climate change high on their list of priorities when deciding who will receive their vote:
At a news conference today, the president of the Christian Coalition and a board member of the National Assn. of Evangelicals — both groups closely tied to the religious right — will announce Call to Action, an effort to make global warming a front-and-center issue over the next three weeks for Christians in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado and several other states with pitched election campaigns.

Through ads on Christian radio, sermons from the pulpit, Bible studies, house parties and a documentary film, The Great Warming, Christians will be urged to view protecting the environment as a religious and moral issue every bit as urgent as opposing abortion and same-sex marriage.

"We're not abandoning our previous positions: We're still pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-morality. But one or two issues can't adequately express the Gospel," said the Rev. Joel Hunter, new president of the Christian Coalition of America.

Hunter is one of scores of evangelical leaders who have become convinced — often reluctantly, after months of study — that the planet is facing a crisis and that God expects Christians to act, in part by electing committed environmentalists to office. "I'm trying to make Christians ... look at candidates in a broader way, and look at individuals, not just parties," he said.
The article's headline would lead one to believe that these evangelicals are openly allying themselves with Democrats this time -- the article itself doesn't seem to bear that out, though. What Hunter and others are saying, though, is that they believe this is an important issue, important enough that the Republican party can't count on the allegiance they've received in the past from conservative Christians. That could lead to a political sea change, would might take a couple of different forms. We could see more evangelicals voting Democratic; we could possibly see more Republicans embracing the science on global warming, and, perhaps, even supporting efforts to fight it. What's really interesting is the choice to issue this call three weeks before the election -- I'm wondering if we'll see some major scrambling among the global warming nay-sayers to "clarify" their positions.

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