Vladimir Putin is not the answer. Hillary Clinton is not the answer either. Everyone else I listed is.
The National Wildlife Federation has contributed about $600,000 to the Christian Coalition since 2007, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation contributed about $150,000, and the Rockefeller Foundation contributed about $120,000. Meanwhile Oxfam has given about $500,000 to the American Values Network in that time, the Western Conservation Foundation has given about $150,000, and the Tides Foundation has given about $100,000. And a group founded by Al Gore, the Alliance for Climate Protection, has given close to $400,000 to a related evangelical group.
What's going on? Something very interesting.
WORLD, published by Gods World Publications, is a prominent right-wing evangelical protestant news magazine. Here are some excerpts from a recent article, "Rolling in Green".
The Christian Coalition of America, once a $26 million political bastion of the Christian right, has fallen upon hard times. Its budget has shrunk to about $1 million, including income from a companion 501(c)(3). It might not have survived at all but for environmentalist cash: From 2007 to 2014 it collected at least $3.4 million from groups identified with environmentalism or leftist politics: the Green Tech Action Fund, the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund, and the Energy, Hewlett, Marisla, and Rockefeller foundations.
Tax documents say the grants to Christian Coalition were approved for such purposes as educating conservatives and churches on “clean energy and climate issues”; to support the Christian Coalition’s energy platform, which embraces renewable power and efficiency standards in vehicles and appliances; and to promote energy reform among young conservatives.
There seems to be a strong division going on among evangelicals this century, especially between older evangelicals (who'd rather continue to focus on classic issues such as abortion, homosexuality, and porn) and younger evangelicals who see a wider world out there. One especially divisive issue is environmentalism.
Traditionally the religious right has seen this as a left-wing plot and derisively dismissed concerns about global warming. But many younger evangelicals see this as a legitimate and important Christian concern. There are a number of progressive Christian groups which have been actively addressing environmental concerns for more than 20 years. In the last decade the Christian Coalition has tiptoed over into their camp.
One of the major evangelical groups addressing environmental concerns (and the group, alluded to above, which Al Gore's ACP contributed to) is the Evangelical Environmental Network. Here's what they say:
Human-induced climate change is real and increasing international instability... Poor nations and poor individuals have fewer resources available to cope with major challenges and threats. The consequences of global warming will therefore hit the poor the hardest, in part because those areas likely to be signiﬁcantly affected ﬁrst are in the poorest regions of the world. Millions of people could die in this century because of climate change, most of them our poorest global neighbors.
The earth's natural systems are resilient but not inﬁnitely so, and human civilizations are remarkably dependent on ecological stability and well-being... Even small rises in global temperatures will have such likely impacts as: sea level rise; more frequent heat waves, droughts, and extreme weather events such as torrential rains and ﬂoods; increased tropical diseases in now-temperate regions; and more intense hurricanes. It could lead to signiﬁcant reduction in agricultural output, especially in poor countries.
Low-lying regions, indeed entire islands, could ﬁnd themselves under water... Millions of people could die in this century because of climate change, most of them our poorest global neighbors. Jesus said: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
While we cannot here review the full range of relevant biblical convictions related to care of the creation, we emphasize the following points:
❂ Christians must care about climate change because we love God the Creator and Jesus our Lord, through whom and for whom the creation was made. This is God’s world, and any damage that we do to God’s world is an offense against God Himself (Gen. 1; Ps. 24; Col. 1:16).
❂ Christians must care about climate change because we are called to love our neighbors, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, and to protect and care for the least of these as though each was Jesus Christ himself (Mt. 22:34–40; Mt. 7:12; Mt. 25:31–46).
❂ Christians, noting the fact that most of the climate change problem is human induced, are reminded that when God made humanity he commissioned us to exercise stewardship over the earth and its creatures. Climate change is the latest evidence of our failure to exercise proper stewardship, and constitutes a critical opportunity for us to do better (Gen. 1:26–28).
Love of God, love of neighbor, and the demands of stewardship are more than enough reason for evangelical Christians to respond to the climate change problem with moral passion and concrete action. Christians must care about climate change because we are called to love our neighbors.
Another evangelical group addressing environmental concerns is the American Values Network
. AVN is (to quote wikipedia
) "a progressive Christian lobbying organization". Here's what AVN says regarding climate change
There are countless issues regarding creation care that need to be addressed. From hydrofracking and toxic chemicals in our air and water, to mountaintop removal and unstable ocean ecosystems, there are many environmental issues that are worthy of our attention. However, the most pressing issue of our day, and perhaps the most critical issue facing our generation is global climate change.
The overwhelming majority of the scientific community is in consensus that our climate is warming and humans are the dominant force causing the warming.
The climate crisis is a multifaceted issue. Not only does it threaten our environment, it is an economic issue as America lags behind in the green economy and a matter of national security. Ultimately however, as Christians, climate change is a moral issue. The poor and least among us are the ones who are already suffering from climate change and we cannot sit on the sidelines. We need to be good stewards of God's creation and demand change.
These are the Christian groups which the Christian Coalition now finds itself -- somewhat uneasily, and not without a lot of internal dissension -- sharing a tent with.
The Christian Coalition appears to be straddling a fine line, trying to appeal to environmentally-concerned Christians without offending too many anti-environmental Christians. That means keeping their environmental position somewhat low-key, and adopting an all-of-the-above approach: supporting wind power and solar power, but also supporting coal power, nuclear power, fracking, and the Keystone XL pipeline.
If you look on the Christian Coalition site it's not easy to find anything about climate change. The most recent item I could turn up was this piece from February, in which Roberta Combs (the Coalition's current president) wrote:
At the Christian Coalition, we believe that America needs to develop its own energy resources, for the sake of national security and economic health. Right now, the United States sends about a billion dollars a day to other countries to pay for what former President George W. Bush called our “addiction to oil.” Much of that money goes to countries that do not share our values. Some of the money goes to regimes that we would consider our enemies. There is evidence some of it ends up in the pockets of terrorists, and even funding our troops’ opponents on the battlefield.
Now is the time to break our dependence on foreign oil. But more domestic supply alone cannot solve the problem. The United States uses about a quarter of the world’s oil, but only controls 2 to 3 percent of the Earth’s known petroleum reserves, and we cannot drill enough at home to bridge that gap.
If we want to build a stronger economy and a stronger nation, we need a comprehensive, “made in America” approach. That means everything from domestic oil and natural gas, to nuclear power, bio-fuels, wind, geothermal, and solar. We need to support home grown energy that will not run out, and that puts Americans to work while returning dollars to our own economy.
When one examines the words and actions of groups such as the Evangelical Environmental Network and the American Values Network it's not hard to see why liberal and progressive foundations would give them grants to underwrite their work. It's harder to see why they would give grants to underwrite the Christian Coalition.
But if it's hard for a progressive to be comfortable with groups such as the National Wildlife Federation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation giving money to the Christian Coalition, it may be even harder for climate change-denying conservatives to deal with.
Cal Beisner is the founder of the Cornwall Alliance, an evangelical anti-environmentalist group which claims that global warming is simply part of natural climate cycles and poses no real threat. In 2013 Beisner called the modern environmental movement "the greatest threat to Western civilization" because it combines "the utopian vision of Marxism, the scientific facade of secular humanism, and the religious fanaticism of jihad" into a pseudo-religion that undermines Christianity.
One of the comments following the WORLD article I quoted earlier in this diary is from Beisner. His comment there is fairly restrained. But in the comment he links to and requests that people read his 2014 article "Evangelical Environmentalism: Bought and Paid for by Liberal Million$$$", and that's a lot juicier:
Has evangelical environmentalism, aka “creation care,” grown up as a native plant among American evangelicals? Or is it an invasive, hybrid species that overshadows the cross of Jesus Christ, developed and planted by secular scientists and religious liberals, watered and generously fertilized by Left-wing foundations that share little or nothing of evangelicals’ theological and spiritual commitment but see them as a voting bloc ripe for the picking?
Federal tax returns and other sources reveal a previously hidden history that strongly suggests the latter...
All of these Left-wing foundations also support population control through government-run family planning including (often incentivized, sometimes forced)
sterilization and abortion—not to mention their support for government control of economies and the transfer of power from sovereign states to global institutions like the United Nations...
One argument which the evangelical environmentalists have made is that taking action on environmental issues is pro-life. This is one of the arguments conservative evangelicals such as Beisner especially take umbrage over:
In 2010 EEN launched a new initiative, Mercury and the Unborn, supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) moves to institute new, strict regulations on mercury emissions from coal-fired electric power plants. Claiming that 1 in 6 American infants were exposed in the womb to levels of mercury that put them at risk of devastating, permanent brain damage, EEN claimed that reducing mercury emissions is a “pro-life” issue.
In a radio, television, and billboard advertising campaign costing $150,000 just for the radio part, EEN praised as “sensitive to pro-life concerns” members of Congress who supported new mercury regulations—even some with 100 percent pro-abortion voting records. It questioned the pro-life commitment of members of Congress who opposed the regulations—even some with 100 percent pro-life voting records.
There's a definite rift here, and I suspect the rift is going to get much wider in the next few years. Here's what Beisner said about the Christian Coalition 2 days ago
the once-conservative now moderate-to-Left-leaning Christian Coalition receive[s] a major share of their financial support from Left-wing, pro-abortion, pro-population control, environmentalist foundations.
The Christian Coalition being called moderate-to-left-leaning? Wow! Pass the popcorn, please.
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