You heard right. Apparently conversative Christian leaders are mad at the Government Affairs guy for the National Association of Evangelicals (yep, the one Ted Haggard used to head). They seem to think fighting against equal rights for gay people and opposing abortion are more important than saving the world from blowing itself up. From NY Times
Leaders of several conservative Christian groups have sent a letter urging the National Association of Evangelicals to force its policy director in Washington to stop speaking out on global warming.The conservative leaders say they are not convinced that global warming is human-induced or that human intervention can prevent it. And they accuse the director, the Rev. Richard Cizik, the association’s vice president for government affairs, of diverting the evangelical movement from what they deem more important issues, like abortion and homosexuality.
The letter underlines a struggle between established conservative Christian leaders, whose priority has long been sexual morality, and challengers who are pushing to expand the evangelical movement’s agenda to include issues like climate change and human rights.
“We have observed,” the letter says, “that Cizik and others are using the global warming controversy to shift the emphasis away from the great moral issues of our time.”
Those issues, the signers say, are a need to campaign against abortion and same-sex marriage and to promote “the teaching of sexual abstinence and morality to our children.”
The letter, dated Thursday, is signed by leaders like James C. Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family; Gary L. Bauer, once a Republican presidential candidate and now president of Coalitions for America; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; and Paul Weyrich, a longtime political strategist who is chairman of American Values.
They acknowledge in the letter that none of their groups belong to the National Association of Evangelicals, a broad coalition that represents 30 million Christians in hundreds of denominations, organizations and academic institutions. But, they say, if Mr. Cizik “cannot be trusted to articulate the views of American evangelicals,” then he should be encouraged to resign.
Mr. Cizik (pronounced SIZE-ik) did not respond to requests for an interview yesterday, and the association’s chairman, L. Roy Taylor, was unavailable. But the Rev. Leith Anderson, president of the association, said, “We’re talking about somebody here who’s been in Washington for 25 years, has an amazing track record and is highly respected.”Ã‚Â
“I’m behind him,” said Mr. Anderson, who was named president in November after the sudden resignation of the Rev. Ted Haggard, the Colorado pastor caught up in a scandal involving a gay prostitute.
Mr. Cizik, who is well known on Capitol Hill, has long served as one of the evangelical movement’s agenda-setters. He helped put foreign policy on the evangelical agenda in the late 1990s, focusing on the persecution of Christians in other countries.
He said in an interview last year that he experienced a profound “conversion” on the global warming issue in 2002 after listening to scientists at a retreat. Now an emblem for a new breed of evangelical environmentalists, he has been written about in Vanity Fair and Newsweek and has appeared in “The Great Warming,” a documentary on climate change.
Evangelicals have recently become a significant voice in the chorus on global warming. Last year more than 100 prominent pastors, theologians and college presidents signed an “Evangelical Climate Initiative” calling for action on the issue. Among the signers were several board members of the National Association of Evangelicals; Mr. Anderson, who has since been named its president; and W. Todd Bassett, who was then national commander of the Salvation Army and was appointed executive director of the association in January.
Mr. Haggard, then the president, and Mr. Cizik did not sign, after criticism from some of the same leaders who have now sent the letter about Mr. Cizik.
In interviews, some signers of this latest letter said they were wary of the global warming issue because they associated it with leftists, limits on free enterprise and population control, which they oppose.
“We’re saying what is being done here,” Mr. Perkins said, “is a concerted effort to shift the focus of evangelical Christians to these issues that draw warm and fuzzies from liberal crusaders.”