by Bryan Fischer, Executive Director, Idaho Values Alliance
A wing of the evangelical movement, headed by Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals, is hopping on the trendy environmentalism bandwagon, and linking arms with environmentally activist groups. An evangelical church in Boise is hosting a national conference on the environment this week, and the Sierra Club is actually providing scholarships for college students to attend.
It’s important for evangelicals to recognize that, as appealing as it may be to join forces with environmentalists on the left, there are profound differences in worldview that one day must be faced head on. Evangelicals who believe these differences can be held in tension indefinitely are fooling themselves.
Something will have to give, and fundamentalist environmentalists are not about to budge on their deeply held convictions. Ultimately, evangelicals will have to sacrifice their deeply held convictions if they are to continue to team up with dogmatic environmentalists.
As Rabbi Daniel Lapin observed on Dr. James Dobson’s radio program, the whole purpose of the environmental movement is to do away with Genesis 1-3.
... [Here he gives seven 'reasons' to back up his point.]
It’s naive for evangelicals to think they can keep politics out of the debate. For environmentalists, it is relentlessly about politics, and about the use of the oppressive power of the state to force their views on the rest of us.
Eventually, in this unlikely pairing of evangelicals and environmentalists, something will have to give if the partnership is to be maintained. Unfortunately, it is almost certain that it is the evangelicals who will have to give up precious principles or find themselves dismissed from the movement.
Fischer, you need to re-evaluate what it means to be an 'environmentalist.' What is your definition of 'environmentalism?' Your statements seem to be analogous with a statement that Christianity and Feminism cannot coexist; that you cannot have a Christian Feminist. Dude, you really need to update your understanding of environmentalism. (Or are you saying that since environmentalism and Christianity cannot coexist that all environmentalists are sinners?)
You seem to have a very strict definition of environmentalism, and a similarly strict definition of Christianity (or a Jew, for that matter, since you make your arguments based on Genesis). However, if you assume that environmentalists may include people who have a strong (non-religio-centric) belief in maintaining their home in a holistic fashion (and not limiting it only to hippie tree-hugging, hashish-smoking, free-loving, tie-dye hemp-wearing, nature lovers), you might find that environmentalism is more than the straw man your blog puts up.
Would you consider members of The Nature Conservancy as environmentalists? What about Greenpeace? Environmental Liberation Front? The lawyers at the National Resource Defense Council? The lobbyists of the League of Conservation Voters? What about Trout Unlimited or Ducks Unlimited members? The civil servants working in the Environmental Protection Agency, or the Fish & Wildlife Service, or Forestry Service? What about the mayor of Chicago? All of these organizations and people can be labeled in some way as "environmentalist" or "pro-environment", but many of them won't fit under your straw man definition of 'environmentalist.'
On the flip side, who is a Christian? Is Richard Cizik a Christian? What about St. Francis of Assisi - the patron saint of (among other things) the environment? Would you consider the members of the Lord's Resistance Army as Christians? What about Spain's former dictator Franco? Is Bishop Gene Robinson a Christian? Is Pope Benedict XVI? What about the Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople? What about the "Hidden Christians" of Japan? The Copts? The Russian Orthodox? I doubt that many of these groups and peoples would be able to fit under your similarly stringent straw man definition of "Christian."
Next time, instead of making a straw man environmentalist to stand up against your straw man Christian, consider the breadth of the available definitions of the rather broad terms of 'environmentalist' and 'Christian.'