A Response to the Criticism

March 29, 2007 In preparing for the rebroadcast of this program, we invited Richard Cizik to comment on the recent criticism of his agenda at the National Association of Evangelicals.

Richard Cizik Richard Cizik in the documentary, The Great Warming

Hello, and warmest greetings. Thank you for your well wishes and the news of your intent to re-broadcast the program. This is terrific news, as it will coincide with our efforts to help promote "Earth Day" on April 22. Earlier that week in April, we'll be co-hosting a press event at the National Press Club (with LEEDS, Kathleen Rogers of "Earth Day," the Energy Star folks at EPA, and pastors) urging churches to seek status as "green buildings," and to devote some special attention that Sunday on biblical creation care. The controversy over my "speaking out" on these issues, while at times painful (after all, a few leaders in the religious right have sought to have me silenced or fired), has nonetheless prompted a very constructive and widespread conversation in our movement that is a longtime coming. It's an important conversation that really needs to occur. It boils down to this: How are we to fulfill God's commands to care for people ("love our neighbor as yourself") and this earth ("watch over and care for it"). The end result is that millions of evangelicals have risen out of their pews to say "amen" to a broad agenda of concerns in a way that wouldn't have happened otherwise. Your program was about the "evolution of evangelicalism" and this trend has taken off in a way not even I could have imagined. The Board of the Association on March 9, 2007 unanimously affirmed, once again, our commitment to all the principles in our 2004 document "For the Health of the Nation." These principles include religious freedom, human rights, sanctity of human life, protection of the traditional family, justice for the poor and oppressed, peacemaking and not least of all, creation care. The Board of NAE, was, in effect, also saying "amen" to my speaking out on all of these concerns. Why? Because they are God's concerns. Thus, I will continue to sound a clear trumpet about the threats to God's creation posed by climate change, habitat destruction, species extinction, pollution and the spread of human infectious diseases. And, I will also continue to speak out about global hunger and climate change, genocide, and all denials of human dignity, such as posed by torture. We are calling for "the whole counsel of God, from the whole people of God, to the whole world." (1968 NAE Resolution)

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is vice president for governmental affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals and editor of Washington Insight.