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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: Where have you been successful?
Richard Cizik: Oh it comes in a variety of forms, but look. When the nation’s most influential evangelical leaders, the presidents of 39 colleges, the pastors of our largest mega churches, the heads of the NAE come forward and say in the Evangelical Climate Initiative that this is God’s business to care for the earth, I think that’s a signal moment in history. I’ve even heard the former Vice President Al Gore and President Bill Clinton . . . I’ve heard them say that when the evangelicals came out to speak about the climate change – global warming – that’s when things began to change. Why? Because evangelicals have been the conservative moral custodians of our cultural climate. And when these conservatives say this, then the public begins to pay attention. Now that’s Al Gore and Bill Clinton. And arguably they could take a lot of credit. Al Gore’s movie or whatever. And I’m sure they have played an important role. They absolutely have. That is the movie An Inconvenient Truth. But we, the evangelicals . . . when we spoke on this issue, I think the public began to pay attention.
Recorded on: 6/25/07
Richard Cizik persuades conservative Republicans, which by and large most evangelicals are, that the very fate of the planet is at stake.