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: Are you generally optimistic or pessimistic about the way the world is headed?
Richard Cizik: Oh I am very optimistic. Why? Look. The problem hasn’t been the Democrats, God bless them. I say this as a Republican. The problem has been the Republican Party and the evangelicals constitute between 40 and 50 percent of the Republican conservative base. And when the evangelical leaders say this is a priority – and not just a priority but a high priority – you can believe that we are going to influence our legislators. You’ve already seen this President, George W. Bush, move from being a climate denier to saying it is a global challenge. But ultimately there is not a candidate seeking the White House in ’08 . . . in 2008 who will not be told by the evangelicals that this is important, and what’s your stand on this issue? And so I don’t expect the next President of the United States to be anything but a green candidate.
Recorded on: 6/25/07