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: Why are some evangelicals suspicious of climate change?
Richard Cizik: I think it’s in part an anti-intellectualism and a suspicion of science. In other words it goes like this. Scientists believe in evolution. Scientists tell us climate change is occurring, so I’m not gonna believe what they say. So it’s a . . . it’s an innate suspicion against science per se. And yet what I’m saying and what others are saying – those of us that signed The Climate Initiative – is that science is our ally. Science enables us to understand what creation is telling us about itself – about itself and about its maker … God from our vantage point. And so science can be our ally rather than our enemy; and yet there are tens of millions of evangelicals who don’t see it that way. Now they’re coming on board. Let’s face it. Seventy five percent of evangelicals now believe that climate change is real, that it will impact the poor, and we have to do something about it. So that’s a big change from just two years ago.
Recorded on: 6/25/07