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Evangelical Environmentalists Don’t Add Up To Much

This decade, there’s been a lot of talk about how religious organizations (“faith-based”, in politically correct jargon) are essential to social activism, and how no social movement could get along without them. Rather suspiciously, these claims usually come from religious organizations, the leaders of whom are jockeying for attention and access to financial resources.

How does this talk match with reality? A recent environmental effort provides some useful context.

A coalition of 331 organizations sent a letter to members of the U.S. Senate and to President Obama, asking that climate change legislation be strengthened by eliminating pro-industry provisions that were passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year. Religious organizations were actually only a small minority in this group – just 9.9 percent.

There has also been much made of the idea that Christian evangelical groups typically thought of as right wing and pro-industry are having a change of heart, and organizing to support environmental issues. That trend, if it really exists at all, was not seen in this effort. Of the 33 religious organizations that signed the letter, not one was an evangelical Christian group.

A Lakota group seeking to protect the sacred grounds signed the letter. A Jewish Vegetarian organization signed on. The Mennonites made an appearance. Evangelicals were not to be seen at all.

Only 0.3 percent of Americans identify themselves as Unitarian-Universalists, but the largest segment of religious organizations signing the letter was comprised of Unitarian-Universalist groups. There were 11 such organizations. The best-represented Christian group was the Roman Catholic Church. 9 Catholic organizations signed the letter. The only other Christian organization that was represented was the United Church of Christ. One group with that affiliation signed. 8 interfaith organizations also signed the letter.

This activist effort shows that it’s secular groups, not religious ones, who are in the lead when it comes to the environmental movement. Of the small number of religious groups who have gotten involved, non-Christians are in the majority.

The idea that some kind of progressive Christianity will play a major role in confronting the right wing agenda does not fit with the facts, in this case.

14 comments to Evangelical Environmentalists Don’t Add Up To Much

  • qs

    Climate change seems like just an another scam to me.

    The Federal Government’s scam it has going.

    Even if there is massive climate change going on, we’re still better off not allowing the government to try and fix it.

    • See, it seems like a scam to you. That’s a swell personal opinion, but it’s not a scientific perspective. Scientific studies on this matter have been going on for over two decades now, and they’re not just personal opinion. They’re peer reviewed and then replicated and tested over and over again. Scientists from a huge number of institutions, governmental or not, from nations all over the world, have confirmed that climate change is going on, and that it’s likely due in large part to human activity.

      So, if you really are going to make the accusation that it’s all a scam, it’s up to you now to tell us exactly who is organizing all these professionals from so many diverse backgrounds. Who has that power?

      You need to back up your statement, because climate change is not a matter of faith. It’s a matter of facts.

      • qs

        I meant how someone will profit off it when they pass a bill for this. Interest groups like those cap & trade companies will be ready to make a buck.

  • Tom

    RepublicOns, climate change deniers, corporate Amerikkka and the great mass of unconcerned people all have in common the desire NOT to change their lifestyles in any way for whatever reasons. As long as its possible to drive an SUV to the mall to buy crap shipped all the way from China they’re happy as clams (with the same level of intelligence).

    Ya see, by calling it all bunk, they can keep doing what they’re doing, while being concerned for the future of the planet takes energy, clear thinking, a desire to change things for the better, and some movement toward getting involved. Being lazy, fat, and ignorant is just too easy to keep doing. Hey, what’s on TV?

  • As president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America and director of Veg Climate Alliance, I want to stress that there is increasing evidence that the world is rapidly approaching an unprecedented catastrophe from global warming and other environmental threats, and a major societal shift to plant-based diets is an essential part of the essential responses.

    For more information, please visit JewishVeg.com/schwartz, where I have over 140 articles and 25 podcasts of talks and interviews, ASacredDuty.com, to see our acclaimed documentary, and VegClimate Alliance.org.

    • ReMarker

      Regardless of the efficacy of your proposition, earth population is at or near 7 billion atm (I didn’t do the counting)and will increase with time.

      It is inevitable that peoples and governments of the world must work in concert to overcome predictable negative impacts of expanding populations. (Isn’t this the position of the Democratic Party when they encourage America to become THE world’s leader in developing, producing, and distributing Green technologies)?

      The earth’s food strategy will surely take different forms in different areas. Ruling meat as a food source, in or out, and making “world laws” to regulate that, may not be the wisest avenue.

  • Kevin

    “The best-represented Christian group was the Roman Catholic Church.”

    well you should put in a disclaimer that catolicks are not really christians, but are rather pagan worshippers of the eastern Dagon fish-head god cult.

    as pagans, they care more about the earth than True Christians do.

    • Sure, sure, sure. And you, Kevin, are not really a human, but a hairy fish with legs.

      Please, can we stop this idea that huge Christian churches are not really Christian? Of COURSE they’re Christian, Kevin.

      • Jacob

        “Of COURSE they’re Christian”

        Please explain your line of logic on that?

        • Okay. Here’s why I think it’s reasonable to say that “OF COURSE” Roman Catholics are Christian:

          1. They call themselves Christian.
          2. So do almost all other Christians.
          3. Every non-Christian I’ve ever run across recognizes the Roman Catholic church as a Christian church
          4. Most current Christian churches are historical descendents of the Roman Catholic Church.
          5. Academics who study Christianity list Roman Catholics as Christians.
          6. Roman Catholics worship Jesus CHRIST

          Now, I’d like to see someone from one of the supposedly activist Christian churches who often claim to have an environmentalist ethos to explain to me why so much of Christianity is absent from environmental activism – their churches included.

  • Jacob

    I think the honest answer is that Christians are stupid… Most enviornmental reform is from groups that are so far left facing I believe many churches run from these things because they are afraid that the world will think that we agree with the rest of the policies of these groups. May not be true but thats my thought. I think the left is the same way. If someone like Pastor Warren had an enviornmental push that started meeting inside his church most liberals would not be a part of it. We are at a point in history were things are getting very polar (I believe this is predicted during the end times) and neither side wants much to do with the other. In so being they do neglect some very importent endevours

  • Kevin

    “2. So do almost all other Christians.”

    yes, other FALSE christians say that they too are christians, and try to confuse people, but True Christians know that the Pope Worshippers have corrupted the Word and are even worse than Hindus and Musselmen.

    Catolicks, like Mormons and gay Episcopalians are heritics, and deliberately so….

    That’s what all Baptists say.

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