Green evangelicals on page one (surprise)
Her conversion to environmentalism
is the result of a years-long international campaign by British bishops
and leaders of major U.S. environmental groups to bridge a
long-standing divide between global-warming activists and American
evangelicals. The emerging rapprochement is regarded by some as a sign
of how dramatically U.S. public sentiment has shifted on global warming
in recent years. It also has begun, in modest ways, to transform how
the two groups define themselves.
And this brings us to the key figure in the story:
“I did sense this is one of these issues where the
church could leadership, like with civil rights,” said Northland’s
senior pastor, Joel C. Hunter. “It’s a matter of who speaks for
evangelicals: Is it a broad range of voices on a broad range of issues,
or a narrow range of voices?”
Hunter has emerged among evangelicals as a pivotal advocate for
cutting greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are warming
Earth’s climate. A self-deprecating 59-year-old minister who can quote
the “Baby Jesus” speech that Will Farrell delivered in the 2006 movie
“Talladega Nights” as readily as he can the Bible, Hunter regularly
preaches about climate change to 7,000 congregants in five Central
Florida sites and to 3,000 more worshipers via the Internet. He even
has met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to talk about environmental
While he remains in a distinct minority, and a number of others on
the Christian right disparage his efforts, Hunter and others like him
have begun to reshape the politics around climate change.
other words, this man is smart and hip. He hangs out with people from
Great Britain. And media people, too! As you would expect, that leads
The “greening” of Hunter and others still elicits scorn
from many evangelicals, including Focus on the Family’s James Dobson
and Prison Fellowship’s Charles W. “Chuck” Colson. They question
whether humankind really deserves the blame for Earth’s recent warming
and argue that their battles against abortion and same-sex marriage
should take precedence.
And there is the giant hole in the story.
The Post team that produced this story does not tell us how
Hunter and the members of his flock who have gone Green link their
beliefs on this topic with any other doctrines, including moral
teachings that have been central to the Christian faith for 2000 years
or so. The implication is that this flock has gone soft on the life
issues and on moral theology about sex.