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.
Question: What should we do to reduce our impact on the environment?
Richard Cizik: Well I think that the Bible is authoritative. I believe it’s infallible and inerrant in the original autographs. It is my basis for life and conduct. And what that means is that if the Bible from Genesis to Revelation says that we’re to be stewards of the earth, then we are to be stewards of the earth. If in Genesis it says that we are to protect and care for it, and yes, exercise dominion over all living things – the birds of the air, the fish of the sea – and exercise a dominion that’s balanced with this kind of stewardship … And then it also says in Revelation that God will judge those who destroy the earth. In fact it says in Revelation 11:18 that God will destroy those who destroy the earth. That is a warning. That is a warning to all of those who would say this doesn’t matter. And so for those who have an argument on this issue, I say, “I’m sorry. Your argument is not with me. Your argument is with God, because either His Word says this or it doesn’t, and it does.” So if it says we are to be a steward over all of it, and that we someday have to give it back to Him, and will be held accountable in what shape we give it back to Him … therefore if that’s the case, we have no right either to plunder, or pillage, or destroy it, or allow others to do that in our name. And so for those who think, “Well it’s not my duty,” or, “It’s not my responsibility,” or, “I won’t be held accountable.” Au contraire. I say that’s not right. You will be held accountable by God’s word. Because at the end of time, we’ll either be found to be a steward – “Well done my good and faithful servant,” the Lord will say – or He will say otherwise. “Why didn’t you do that which I commanded you to do? What was it? Were there blinkers on your eyes that allowed you to just say, ‘Oh well this is just a Democrat or blue state issue.’ Or ‘It’s the greens, the environmental issue. It’s their duty, not my duty.’” I don’t think God lets us off the hook that way.
Recorded on: 6/25/07