An article titled “Warming Draws Evangelicals Into Environmental Fold” by Juliet Eilperin in the Aug. 8 Washington Post is a welcome look at Rev. Joel Hunter and his role in the growing consensus among evangelicals that Christian faithfulness must include responsible stewardship and protection of God’s creation. But Eilperin’s effort to tell a compelling story and to outline evangelical creation care quickly, leaves the impression that Rev. Hunter is walking this road alone, and that he’s followig only British religious leaders.
In fact, Hunter became involved in climate policy as a signatory of the Evangelical Climate Initiative, a group of now 106 senior evangelical leaders who as a result of their commitment to Jesus Christ are calling for sound climate policy that will express a concern for the health and well being of our families today and for many generations. Here is the ECI statement that has captured this sentiment and was signed by 106 leaders.
(The public relations firm I head, Rooftop MediaWorks, is a partner with the Evangelical Climate Initiative and has handled the group’s communications campaign.)
I regret that the article did not mention that the signatories of the ECI included perhaps the best known evangelical pastor in America, Rick Warren (Saddleback), as well as megachurch pastor Bill Hybels (Willowcreek), the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Leith Anderson, the presidents of many Christian colleges and evangelical relief and development organizations, and several denominational leaders (here is a complete list of ECI Signatories).
Because the article is anecdotal, I’ve already seen blog responses that call this an indication of thin evangelical support for Christian action on climate and creation care. That impression is wrong. A national Ellison Research poll of evangelicals to be released next month (the top line results of which were part of a testimony by Jim Ball, president of the Evangelical Environmental Network, before the Senate Energy and Public Works Committee in June), showed that 70% of the evangelical population believes global warming will pose a serious threat to future generations, and 64% believe action should be taken immediately to curb global warming.
The Washington Post’s coverage of evangelical movement on environmental issues may reveal its sympathy for the cause. But the Juliet Eilperin article actually understated the extent and momentum of evangelical action on climate and creation care. Today, evangelical leaders and the community are embracing biblically based creation care without abandoning their worldview and speaking on environmental issues with a unique evangelical voice.