How has climate change shaped your views of the Republican party?

Richard Cizik is the former Vice President for Governmental Affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and one of the most prominent Evangelical lobbyists in the United States.  In his position with the NAE, Cizik's primary responsibilities were setting the organization's policy on issues and lobbying the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court.  Cizik also served as NAE's national spokesman and edited a monthly magazine, NAE Washington Insight.  Since 2003, Cizik has been active in a type of environmentalism he calls "creation care"; his stance on global warming has drawn both support and criticism from fellow Evangelicals.

In 2007, he and Nobel Prize winner Eric Chivian, as a team, were named one of the 100 most influential scientists and thinkers by Time.  On December 11, 2008, Cizik gave his resignation from his position with NAE after a December 2 radio broadcast of NPR's Fresh Air in which he voiced support for same-sex civil unions.  His comments and his resignation has generated both strong support and strong criticism within the evangelical Christian community.

  • Transcript


Question: How has climate change shaped your views of the Republican party?

Richard Cizik: Well I happen to think that as a lifelong Republican, that this party ought to pay attention to science. It ought to pay attention to the science of climate change. It ought to pay attention to the 40 percent, 50 percent of its base that are evangelicals. But most of all it ought to do it because it’s right. And so what do you argue on? Well you could argue on biblical basis. You could argue on political calculation. You could argue on a lot of different levels that this is important. Not the …Salvation of the earth itself is a good enough argument for some; but argue it based upon self-interest for Republicans if that’s what it takes. Because if you … I say to Republican lawmakers, “If you continue to deny that this is happening and hold up action, I think history will hold you accountable just,” I would say, “as history holds those who oppose Civil Rights accountable” Look, evangelical Christians sat on their hands during the great Civil Rights fight of the 1960s. They did, I think to their shame. And so if climate change is, as I say it is, the Civil Rights issue of the 21st century, I am not going to sit on my hands and do nothing on this Civil Rights issue. Absolutely not. Because history will judge who is right and who was wrong, so do what’s right.

Recorded on: 6/25/07