All posts from “Environment”

April 12, 2011

Effort to Curtail the EPA Fails Despite Southern Baptist Backing

The budget compromise approved by Congressional leaders last Friday made few evangelical leaders happy. The deal dropped the ban on funding to Planned Parenthood sought by social conservatives. Cuts to foreign aid and hunger programs remained despite outcries from relief organizations. Also dropped was an attempt backed by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) to curtail efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate green house gases.

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The fight against the EPA began last summer when the agency announced that it would begin regulating CO-2 emissions despite failed efforts in Congress to pass so-called “cap and trade” legislation. The Senate voted last year to stop the EPA, and despite lobbying by the ERLC, the American Family Association, and business groups, the effort failed.

With more Republicans in the Senate this year, the GOP leaders in the House and Senate tried again with a two-prong approach: stand-alone legislation to block the EPA and provisions in the budget negotiations that would strip the EPA of funds needed for the new regulations.

When the Senate voted on the stand-alone legislation last week, the ERLC sent an “Action Alert” urging people to ask their Senators to vote for legislation that would stop the EPA's plan to regulate greenhouse gases. The ERLC said that the regulations would unnecessarily hurt the economy.

“The poor would be hit especially hard,” the ERLC action alert said. “Making this worse, the whole basis for the policy—catastrophic, human-induced global warming—is not even settled among scientists, who are growing increasingly skeptical of such human impact.”

Continue reading Effort to Curtail the EPA Fails Despite Southern Baptist Backing...

July 7, 2010

Evangelicals Push Response to Arizona's Immigration Law

Evangelical leaders participated in a conference call with Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform today as the Obama administration heads into a legal battle over Arizona's immigration law.

Today's group included Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Joel Hunter, pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed, and Samuel Rodriguez, president of The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

The Obama administration filed a federal lawsuit against Arizona's new immigration law that focuses on why federal immigration laws enforced by federal agencies should take precedence to laws passed by a state. Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Utah are all preparing measures similar to Arizona's law, according to The Washington Post.

Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice will file an amicus brief in support of Arizona's law.

"It's troubling that the federal government, which has repeatedly failed to secure our nation's borders, is now attempting to punish the state of Arizona for doing just that," he said in a statement.

Dan Gilgoff reported on CNN which evangelicals attended President Obama's speech last week: Land, Rodriguez, the National Association of Evangelicals' Leith Anderson, and Willow Creek pastor Bill Hybels.

After Obama's speech, Land issued a statement praising the president. “In any marriage, you have to first have an initial proposal," he said. "The President proposed this morning. It’s up to the Congress to now accept that proposal or to construct its own proposal and to bring forth a bill that will consummate the marriage."

He discussed his support for immigration reform in an interview with NPR. "If the new conservative coalition is going to be a governing coalition, it's going to have to have a significant number of Hispanics in it," he said. "That's dictated by demographics, and you don't get large numbers of Hispanics to support you when you're engaged in anti-Hispanic immigration rhetoric."

Rodriguez wrote about evangelicals' partnership with Obama on the Washington Post's On Faith site. Associated Baptist Press reports on the number of Baptists who support immigration reform.

October 22, 2009

Senate Democrats Push Health Care, Climate Change on Moral Grounds

WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats framed their health care and climate bills with moral appeals and complained about Republican roadblocks during a roundtable discussion with reporters Wednesday.

"I want to get this off my chest," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is continuing to head up work on a health care plan this week. "We're trying to move forward to do something to take care of Medicaid. There are dozens of things they've held us up on and they're doing that because they're betting on our failure."

Reid was joined by senators including Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Ben Cardin (Maryland) and Bob Casey (Penn.).

Failure to reform health care will create a heavier burden for the faith community to care for the poor, sick and elderly, said Sen. Ben Cardin.

"The faith community is being called upon to provide more resources and do more things that should be in our system collectively," Cardin said.

Continue reading Senate Democrats Push Health Care, Climate Change on Moral Grounds...

December 16, 2008

What about green evangelicals?

Richard Cizik's resignation from the National Association of Evangelicals prompted a letter from more than 50 evangelicals who support Cizik's attempts to broaden the evangelical agenda. More people are signing the letter here.

I wrote a story on CT's site today about those who are celebrating and lamenting his resignation and what it means for environmental advocacy.

The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found a statistically significant comparison from 2006 to 2008 that shows a 12 percent drop in evangelicals who said they believe that there is solid evidence that the earth is getting warmer. Many evangelicals debate over whether global warming is man-made, but the drop in this survey appears to come from those who believe that global warming is caused by natural causes.

Will Richard Cizik's resignation as NAE vice president affect evangelical creation care? You can vote today here or comment below.

November 5, 2008

As the Country Goes, So Goes California

California completes the trend nationwide: abortion ballot measures lose, marriage measures win.

Both were tight: with 92 percent of the ballots counted, California's parental notification measure failed by less than 500,000 votes (out of nearly 10 million).

Proposition 8, which revokes same-sex marriage, is even tighter, winning by 363,639 votes (a 3.6 point margin). This is going to be a huge story today, since it's the first time that a state has barred same-sex marriage after allowing it.

Not close at all was California's measure regulating livestock confinement, which passed by almost a 2-to-1 margin.

October 6, 2008

Climate change natural or 'End of Days'?

In case you haven't seen it yet, Tina Fey included a small religion reference in her most recent Saturday Night Live skit.

"Gwen, we don't know if this climate change hoozie-what's-it is man-made or if it's just a natural part of the 'End of Days.'"

September 23, 2008

McCain and Palin divided over causes of global warming

John McCain has repeatedly said in his campaign that humans causes global warming while his running mate has publicly questioned scientists' claims, the Washington Post reports.

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin established a sub-cabinet to deal with climate change issues a year ago, but she has focused on how to adapt to global warming rather than how to combat it, Juliet Eilperin writes.

"She fought the administration's listing of polar bears as threatened with extinction because of shrinking sea ice" Eilperin writes. "Palin sued to overturn the decision on the grounds that it will 'have a significant adverse impact on Alaska because additional regulation of the species and its habitat . . . will deter activities such as commercial fisheries, oil and gas exploration and development, transportation and tourism within and off-shore of Alaska.'"

Several evangelicals have called for policies that care for the environment, but many are still divided over global warming. Christianity Today's earlier coverage of global warming includes news articles and opinion pieces.

August 30, 2008

Cizik's caution vs. Dobson's elation

I'm finally in Minneapolis (the airline lost my luggage, but at least I have my laptop), and I'm catching up on the Sarah Palin developments.

Although I've seen thrilling remarks in the press releases from conservative evangelicals, Suzanne Sataline from the Wall Street Journal talked with one evangelical who is more cautious.

Richard Cizik, vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals, said he was initially stunned because he had never heard of the Alaskan governor.

"Do we have a Dan Quayle on our hands? I'm open to being persuaded otherwise if she proves herself," Cizik told Sataline.

"I like some of the personal choices she's made, such as carrying a Downs child to term,'' Cizik said, referring the governor's infant son who has Down Syndrome. "So will millions of evangelicals.''

Cizik has been an outspoken advocate for environmental issues, which drew heavy criticism from some conservative Christians, including Focus on the Family founder James Dobson. Cizik said he and other evangelicals need more information about Palin's views on the environment and global affairs.

"I don't think evangelicals are going to vote for this team for superficial partisan reasons. I think lots of people are looking beyond labels this time around,'' he said to the Journal. He told Sataline he hasn't decided how he will vote.

On the other hand, Dobson is pretty excited. Even though six months ago he planned not to vote for John McCain, he told Dennis Prager, "But I can tell you that if I had to go into the studio, I mean the voting booth today, I would pull that lever."

He said in a statement: "Sen. McCain's selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is an outstanding choice that should be extremely reassuring to the conservative base of his party. She is a strong executive who hates corruption and puts principle above politics. After floating the names of Tom Ridge and Sen. Joe Lieberman in recent weeks ? selections that would have created consternation among pro-family Republicans ? Sen. McCain has chosen a solid conservative who has a reputation for espousing common sense."