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 the environment has never had “political salience”. It’s never risen above single digits in terms of its political saliency, but it is already. Climate change is considered by some polls to be one of the top tier domestic issues in the ’08 election. And so for those candidates who are – let’s put it this way – climate deniers, I think they face political extinction. And for those that do reach out across aisles, across religious beliefs, across, you see, the cultural divides that exist in America to say that this is something together we can do; that green is the new red, white and blue; and that this generation, my generation, can only be the greatest generation if we are the greenest generation … Now that, I say … That’s a vision that we can live up to. We can live up to it. So I’m an optimist, absolutely. We don’t have any choice.
Recorded on: 6/25/07