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Is God Green? Resources . Documents

Below you'll find the central documents referred to in "Is God Green? and the MOYERS ON AMERICA Citizens Class and voices from both sides of the discussion over the involvement of religious organizations in environmental issues like global warming. You'll also find recent news coverage of the "greening of U.S Christians." For further information please visit the Timeline, Glossary and Sites of Interest sections of the site.

DOCUMENTS

"Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation"
The seminal document of The Evangelical Environmental Network, founded in 1993. The EEN statement of purposes reads: "As followers of Jesus Christ, committed to the full authority of the Scriptures, and aware of the ways we have degraded creation, we believe that biblical faith is essential to the solution of our ecological problems."

"The Cornwall Declaration"
The Cornwall Declaration was written in October 1999 - the creation of a gathering of 25 theologians, economists, environmental scientists and policy experts. The declaration, acknowledged that "concerns about the environment have grown in recent decades, the moral necessity of ecological stewardship has become increasingly clear." But it also criticized the aspects of the environmental movement for putting forth "certain misconceptions about nature and science, coupled with erroneous theological and anthropological positions." Many of those taking part in the Cornwall gathering are part of Interfaith Coalition for Environmental Stewardship (ICES) and the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance (ISA).

"An Examination of the Scientific, Ethical and Theological Implications of Climate Change Policy"
Authored by E. Calvin Beisner, a founding member of Interfaith Stewardship Alliance, climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama, and the energy policy analyst Paul Driessen of the Congress of of Racial Equality in 2005, the paper argues the uncertainties of climate change and urges readers to apply Jesus Christ's "principles of prudence" when considering the issue (PDF)

"Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action"
On February 8, 2006 the "Evangelical Climate Initiative" was announced with the backing of 86 Evangelical leaders, a major initiative that will include television and radio spots in states with influential legislators, informational campaigns in churches, and educational events at Christian colleges. The Statement begins: "As American evangelical Christian leaders, we recognize both our opportunity and our responsibility to offer a biblically based moral witness that can help shape public policy in the most powerful nation on earth, and therefore contribute to the well-being of the entire world. Whether we will enter the public square and offer our witness there is no longer an open question. We are in that square, and we will not withdraw."

"ISA Appeal Letter to the National Association of Evangelicals on the Issue of Global Warming" (PDF)
In January 2006, the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance sent a letter to the National Association of Evangelicals requesting that the group "not adopt any official position on the issue of global climate change" as "global warming is not a consensus issue, and our love for the Creator and respect for His creation does not require us to take a position."

"An Open Letter to the Signers of 'Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action,' and Others Concerned About Global Warming" (PDF)
In June 2006, the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance sent "An Open Letter to the Signers of 'Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action,' and Others Concerned About Global Warming," and a document it introduced and summarized, "A Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Response to Global Warming," to all who signed the Evangelical Climate Initiative's February "Call to Action," asking them to reconsider. On July 25 they publicly released their "Open Letter" and "Call to Truth" co-authored by a climatologist, an environmental economist, an energy policy analyst, and a theologian/ethicist, with signatures by 113 evangelical and 19 non-evangelical scientists, environmental economists, theologians, pastors, and other leaders. (PDF)

Bill Moyers' interview with E. Calvin Beisner (full transcript)

NEWS COVERAGE

"God's Green Soldiers," NEWSWEEK, Feb. 13, 2006

"Green Religion: A Shepherd Protects His Own Backyard," Vanessa Juarez and David Gates, NEWSWEEK, Aug. 29 - Sept. 5, 2005

"Is God Green?" Jill Kuraitis, BOISE WEEKLY, December 21, 2005

"Consider the Turtles of the Field," SOJOUNERS Magazine, March 2004

"Christians' burning issue," Katharine Mieszkowski, Salon.com

"Churches Go Green," Jane Lampman, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, January 23, 2003

"The Gospel of Green: Will Evangelicals Help Save The Earth"
Article by Bill McKibben in the Fall 2006 issue of ONEARTH MAGAZINE.

"Religious Environmentalism Goes Mainstream Associated Press"
BeliefNet.com documents how different religions around the global are "going environmental."

"Will White Evangelicals Desert the GOP?" Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, May 2, 2006

DISCUSSION

Those inside the Christian environmental movement gained a very high profile "convert" when Pat Robertson changed his stance on global warming. On his THE 700 CLUB television show Robertson said: "We really need to address the burning of fossil fuels...It is getting hotter, and the icecaps are melting and there is a buildup of carbon dioxide in the air." In October 2005, Robertson had castigated the National Association of Evangelicals, accusing them of teaming up with "far left environmentalists" on the subject of global warming. Read more from the discussion below.

The Faithful Debate Environmental Activism


Opposed to religious institutions involvement in environmental activism:In favor of religious institutions involvement in environmental activism:
"Religious leaders are right to remain skeptical of this effort to transform unsound science and policy into a moral crusade... Sound environmental stewardship requires reasoned, prudent judgments about the earth that take into account the best science available and the incentives for human action. Competitive pressures in the marketplace encourage energy conservation by entrepreneurs, especially when the costs of using a resource rise due to its scarcity in a time of great demand...Thus the market helps to see that the good environmental steward is properly rewarded for his efforts without harming the most vulnerable among us."

- "The Religious Community's Other Stand on Global Warming," Michael B. Barkey, BeliefNet.com

"A responsibility goes along with bearing the image of God. In its proper sense, man's rule and dominion over the earth is that of a steward or a caretaker, not a reckless exploiter. Man is not sovereign over the lower orders of creation. Ownership is in the hands of the Lord. God told Adam and Eve to cultivate and keep the garden (Gen. 2:15), and we may certainly use nature for our benefit, but we may only use it as God intends. An effective steward understands that which he oversees, and science can help us discover the intricacies of nature."

- "Christian Environmentalism," Dr. Ray Bohlin, Leadership U

"First, the fate of the planet is, ultimately, not in the hands of mankind. While humans are responsible for caring for the Earth (as per the 'Dominion mandate' in Genesis 1:26-28), we are not in control of the Earth. Rather it belongs to the Creator Himself (Psalm 24:1), who has made us His earthly stewards.

Second, the fate of the living planet is not the most important issue facing mankind. Ultimately, this decaying system will be replaced with a New Heavens and Earth anyway (Romans 8:20-22, 2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 21:1, Hebrews 1:10-12). Rather, the most important issue facing mankind is: Will the individual choose to acknowledge his Creator and be reconciled to Him? Romans 1:20."

- Answers in Genesis: What is the Bible's perspective on environmental issues?

  • Christians must care about climate change because we love God the Creator and Jesus our Lord, through whom and for whom the creation was made. This is God's world, and any damage that we do to God's world is an offense against God Himself (Gen. 1; Ps. 24; Col. 1:16).
  • Christians must care about climate change because we are called to love our neighbors, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, and to protect and care for the least of these as though each was Jesus Christ himself (Mt. 22:34-40; Mt. 7:12; Mt. 25:31-46).
  • Christians, noting the fact that most of the climate change problem is human induced, are reminded that when God made humanity he commissioned us to exercise stewardship over the earth and its creatures. Climate change is the latest evidence of our failure to exercise proper stewardship, and constitutes a critical opportunity for us to do better (Gen. 1:26-28). "

    - Statement of the Evangelical Climate Initiative

  • "According to environmentalism, modern science and economics tempt human beings with the power to "play God." As the Bible teaches, those who strive to be like God can expect divine retribution — floods, disease, famine, and other natural disasters. Thus, the current environmental movement predicts environmental catastrophes to replicate the old biblical prophesies. Environmentalism is a secular religion, and one that sees modern science and economics leading not to heaven on earth but, perhaps, to hell on earth, the punishment for human beings trying to assume God-like powers."

    - "Judeo-Christian Tradition Best Basis for Environmentalism," Robert H. Nelson, Ph.D, The Acton Institute

    "We believe the Risen Lord Jesus cares about what we drive. Pollution from vehicles has a major impact on human health and the rest of God's creation. It contributes significantly to the threat of global warming. Our reliance on imported oil from unstable regions threatens peace and security. Obeying Jesus in our transportation choices is one of the great Christian obligations and opportunities of the twenty-first century."

    - What Would Jesus Drive?

    Additional voices:

    "Evangelicals Misled On Climate Change," Jennifer Biddison, February 28, 2006, Townhall.com.

    "Global Warming Falsehoods," Rev. Andrew Greeley, Beliefnet.com

    "What Scriptures Tell Us About Environmental Stewardship," Samuel Casey Carter, National Center for Public Policy Analysis

    "Blessed Are the Greens?" Steven F. Hayward, American Enterprise Institute, February 10, 2006

    "Why We Love the Earth" CHRISTIANITY TODAY, June 21, 2001

    "Is God an Environmentalist?" Mary Zeiss Stange, USA TODAY, April 23, 2006

    "The Christian Challenge of Caring for the Earth," Sir John Houghton

    "A Christian Perspective and a Call to Action," Senior Pastor Tri Robinson

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