Why a Growing Number of Evangelicals Are Supporting Climate Solutions
Climate-conscious evangelical Christians held a series of events last week in North Carolina, voicing their firm support for climate action. Attendees recognized the role of humans in damaging the climate, and expressed their belief that “we are only stewards or trustees of God’s creation, and we aren’t to abuse or neglect it.”
Evangelical Christians who acknowledge climate change and espouse good stewardship aren’t new – climate scientist and Blessed Tomorrow Leadership Council member Katharine Hayhoe is a prime example – but they are relatively rare, compared to other major American religious groups. The North Carolina gatherings showed that this is changing. Along with the creation care message, event organizers pointed out a number of other reasons for supporting climate action:
• Protecting the most vulnerable among us, such as the poor and elderly
• Providing a safer, healthier world for our children and future generations
• Defending the freedom of individuals, communities, and businesses to generate clean electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar
These are values and benefits that resonate with the vast majority of Americans, regardless of religious or political affiliation. It shows that there is more common ground on this issue than is commonly believed – and it also highlights the dangers of continuing to preach to the choir. As this Climate Progress article points out, climate campaigns don’t generally target evangelicals. Similarly, people of color feel left out of the climate movement, even though their levels of climate concern are higher than white Americans.
Everyone has reasons to care about climate change, whether they know it or not. By seeking out common values, looking beyond the “usual suspects,” and helping those who feel marginalized to be heard, we can help more Americans feel personally invested in climate action.
By Jack Jenkins, contributor to Climate Progress
A group of evangelical Christians are organizing, demonstrating, and praying for action on climate change in North Carolina this week, bringing an unusual, faith-focused, “pro-life” brand of environmentalism to the Tar Heel State.
On Tuesday, a group of evangelical Christians gathered for a prayer breakfast at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina, which takes its name from the famous American evangelist. According to Rachel Lamb, national organizer and spokesperson for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (YECA), the event came about as a partnership with the Lausanne Movement, an evangelical organization inspired by Graham in the 1970s. She told ThinkProgress the gathering centered around a “Creation Care” liturgy that connected environmentalism with the Biblical call to care for God’s creation.
“We had a prayer of repentance, recognizing that we have participated in degrading creation,” Lamb said. “Then we had prayers for those most impacted by climate change, and also spent some time praying for our political leaders, hoping that they would take bold, courageous action — that people on both sides of the aisle will continue to recognize that climate change impacts us, here, and our generation disproportionately.”
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