This is an archive of the old Stones Cry Out site. For the current site, click here.

« Evangelical Climate Initiative TV & Radio Campaign | Main | Tolerance and Multiculturalism Meet Reality »

February 27, 2006

New Poll Indicates Evangelical Shift on Climate Change, Environmental Concerns

As I mentioned last week, I have been providing public relations and communications counsel to the Evangelical Climate Initiative, in its national release of Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action.

The pronouncement has received significant attention in the media, most of which has pondered the variance in evangelical opinion on the issue of global warming, and weighed the influence of the 86 evangelical leaders who signed the Call to Action against traditional stalwarts who have not accepted scientific findings on climate change--such as James Dobson and Chuck Colson.

There are some indications that there is, indeed, changes in evangelical attitudes on climate.

Fortune magazine (Feb. 8, 2006): “With publications ranging from The Economist to Christianity Today urging action to curb global warming, there's little doubt about which way the winds are blowing, in both the business and evangelical worlds.”

The Associated Press referred to the initiative as "a historic tipping point" (Los Angeles Times, Feb 10) in evangelical response to climate change.

Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, said in the New York Times (Feb. 8): “There is no doubt about it in my mind that climate change is happening, and there is no doubt about it that it would be wise for us to stop doing the foolish things we're doing that could potentially be causing this. In my mind there is no downside to being cautious."

New Poll Results
And now details from a new poll of evangelical Christians seem to strengthen the call made the group of 86 evangelical leaders for action to reduce global warming.

In the poll, conducted by Ellison Research—-which frequently surveys church leaders—-70 percent of evangelicals said they believed global warming will pose a serious threat to future generations. Sixty-three percent of evangelicals believed that although global warming may be a long-term problem, since it is being caused today, the nation must start addressing it immediately.

In other findings from the Ellison Research poll, 95 percent of evangelical respondents agreed that “God gave us dominion over His creation, so we have a responsibility to care for it.”

--In the poll, 84 percent of evangelicals agreed that reducing pollution is a form of obedience to the biblical command to love your neighbor.

--92 percent agreed that “in the long run, it will be cheaper to protect the environment now than to fix it later.”

--95 percent agreed that “a healthy environment helps to keep your family healthy.”

--A majority of evangelicals—51 percent—said the U.S. should take steps to address global warming, even if there is a high economic cost.

--Two-thirds of evangelicals are either completely or mostly convinced that global warming is actually taking place.

The study was conducted in September 2005 by Ellison Research, a marketing research company located in Phoenix, Ariz. The study’s total sample is accurate to within ±3.1 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level with a 50 percent response distribution. The study was designed independently by Ellison Research and funded by the Evangelical Environmental Network.

Posted by Jim at February 27, 2006 07:37 AM

Trackback Pings


Go, Evangelicals!

For those who are concerned about the use of the term, global warming, perhaps it would be healthier to think of this in terms of this group saying that we need to be responsible for how we treat God's creation and, by extension, one another.

I'm sure most of these people know (have heard repeated enough by the opposition) that there is global warming that occurs regardless of human intervention. We understand that.

But there is unquestionable harm being done to God's creation by human activity and this ought to be a concern. There is evidence to suggest we'd be wise to keep an eye on human activity as it relates to global climate change and, again, as responsible stewarts, we ought to be concerned and err on the side of caution if we are going to err.

We really need to be driving less, paving less, reducing runoff and erosion, reducing our air pollutants. I'd hope that no one here would disagree with these notions.

This is, after all, our Creator's world. We're just passing through.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at February 27, 2006 12:53 PM

Pitiful, clueless evangelicals. The issue isn't a still brief warming trend that's been going since the late 1970s, following a cooling trend in the preceeding decades (that lead to a short hysteria about a 'coming ice age"). The issue is whether human behavior is of any significance in that trend or if the cause is like that which triggered similar warming trends in the past, the most recent being the period from roughly 1000-1300 when now-frozen Greenland really was green and settlers there could grow crops. That, incidentally, was a quite pleasant and prosperous time for humanity.

If only 10% of the global warming is due to human activity, as some believe, and if even draconian measures will alter the human impact by only 10%, then the best we'll accomplish is an insignificant 1% change in warming trends, and that at enormous costs to the poorer peoples of this planet. Yet another example of rich environmentalists feeling good at someone else's expense. And yet another example of stupid, try-to-look-niceism by evangelicals.

As a book of a few years ago noted, the "scandal of the evangelical mind" is that there's no evangelical mind, simply a preacher-induced naviety to anything that's asserted authoratively over a number of years. What was it the Washington Post about evangelicals being "poorly educated older women" who're "easily led"? All too true.

Sadly, evangelicals are jumping on this bandwagon just as the more secular world seems to be developing a bit of realism about the matter and beginning to realize that many of the changes will be good (i.e. longer growing seasons) and that the most sensible approach will be to adjust to the changes rather than fight them.

--Mike Perry, Inkling Books, Seattle

Posted by: Mike Perry at February 27, 2006 09:23 PM

But there is unquestionable harm being done to God's creation by human activity and this ought to be a concern.

Could be. But does that include any other country on Earth other than the United States?

Posted by: eLarson at February 28, 2006 06:07 PM

ummm...Yes. Why?

The ECI is, I believe, largely North American group and so they're preaching to themselves. Repentance begins at home, right? And to those whom much has been given, much will be expected.

It makes sense to many of us that the US should be leading the way, not dragging our feet. And Christians should be leading the way in loving God's creation.

What would be ideal is if we could find healthier ways to live that would be shared with other nations around the world to everyone's benefit.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at February 28, 2006 10:30 PM

Sad. Evanglicals are supposed to call people to faith in Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice. They are to cry repentance. Then individuals who receive God's grace change their lives to be obedient.

This environmentalism is a mission creep that trivializes the Gospel.

Posted by: al_miller at March 1, 2006 11:39 AM

Some see it that way. Some see that exactly the opposite, that failing to be concerned with matters of justice - including environmental justice - trivialize the gospel, which we remember Jesus defined as: Good News to the poor, liberty to captives, health for the sick, freedom for the downtrodden, and the proclamation of the Lord's year of Jubilee.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at March 1, 2006 12:52 PM

This is very sad.

I could go on for hours, but let's make this
as simple as 2004 it was announced
that the CO2 concentration measurements from
Mona-Loa DROPPED by 25% over a year.

Now what does this mean? It means this: The PRIMA FACIA measurement of CO2 increase on this Earth,
is being influenced by TRANS PACIFIC AIR TRAFFIC (which was DOWN marketly a that time).

Thus, instead of being at 350 PPM (compare, 180 PPM before WWII), truely the CO2 in the TOTAL atmosphere is probably 220 to 260 PPM. Now this would be a 30% increase since WWII, but I believe this is INSIGNIFICANT. (Whereas SOLAR OUTPUT definitely HAS gone up over the last 30 years!)

Thus, the new "cause celebrity" of the "evangelic leaders" is probably in error. It does not service the cause of the gosple.

Posted by: Mark Hugo at March 1, 2006 04:50 PM

"probably in error"?

Do you suppose that the increased cancer rate in the poorer section of my city where the factories have been placed are probably in error, too? That the increased mercury and other nasties in our catfish in the Ohio River is probably in error and that I probably can eat it safely?

Humanity is certifiably negatively impacting the environment, otherwise known as God's creation.

The poor, young, elderly and sick are certifiably disproportionately getting ill and dying as a result of this abuse of God's creation.

Bicker if you wish about whether global warming is a concern, but don't try to dodge the larger issue of how we treat God's creation and our brothers and sisters on this planet.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at March 1, 2006 05:36 PM

In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. (Psalm 102:25-26)

Posted by: JohnH at March 2, 2006 08:35 AM

Peace to you, fella folk. I hope you get the sort of world you want.


Posted by: Dan Trabue at March 2, 2006 08:47 AM

Well, here's a news flash Dan, we're all dying. Now before you trot off and suggest that I think it's OK to kill people, let's get it straight that that's not what I'm saying.

But, there is a point here. People in the industrialized west do die of diseases such as cancer, but they probably live longer. Is that better or worse than dying decades earlier in a pre-industrialized place like Africa where other diseases are rampant?

Posted by: JohnH at March 2, 2006 08:55 AM

“Now before you trot off and suggest that I think it's OK to kill people”

Oh, no! That wasn’t what I was suggesting at all.

One way I tend to view God and God’s Kingdom is as that which we are working for and on. We are praying and building “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”

Where our treasure lies, there also our hearts lie, you know? That kind of thing.

And so, I think we tend to get exactly that sort of Kingdom that we are working to build. I and my church are working for a kingdom by God’s grace that is built upon the notions of Jesus' proclamation that he has Come to preach good news to the poor, release for the captives, health for the sick, liberty for the oppressed. That sort of kingdom.

One in which we share water with the thirsty, food with the hungry, a kingdom where we don’t store up treasures or build many barns in anticipation of putting all our stuff in them and where we try to keep our lives free from greed and where we are on the side of the poor and of God’s creation.

Others seem to be more concerned about getting a kingdom where everyone believes as they do, where they are free to make as much money as possible in ways that aren’t necessarily kind to God’s creation or the poor. Where they’re not concerned about this ol’ planet because it’s just gonna be snuffed out in the end, anyway.

I'm not saying that's you, by the way. Just that this is the kingdom some are working towards.

I was just wishing us all well in finding whatever kingdom it is we hope to build and hoping that, when we inherit that kingdom, it’s one that we are glad to inherit.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at March 2, 2006 11:49 AM