In the last year or so, the National Association of Evangelicals (yes, Ted Haggard's group) has begun to use its considerable political clout in support of environmental issues, especially global warming. This is just a matter of common sense and good theology, and if the NAE is late to the game -- mainline churches got there decades ago -- it is still a welcome player.
Except to James Dobson and his ilk -- the "Christianist Right," as my man Sullivan calls them. A group of influential political figures with church connections (Dobson, Gary Bauer, Paul Weyrich) sent a letter to the NAE's leadership calling for the ouster of the Rev. Richard Cizik, the association’s vice president for government affairs. They accuse him of using global warming to " divert the evangelical movement from what they deem more important issues, like abortion and homosexuality."
Hmm. Fate of the earth on one hand, buggery on the other. Which one is more important? Really?
Of course, the signers argue that global warming isn't really a problem, human beings can't affect it anyway, and so forth. How very 1999 of them. At this point, nobody -- not even President Bush -- believes their line of data-denying dithering anymore. Evanglicals are no more stupid than any other people, and realize that global warming is a grave and immediate danger which requires prompt political action. That's why the NAE will keep Cizik on, and probably give him a raise. He's leading them in the direction than most Americans, including American evangelicals, know we need to go.
So whence the letter? Simple. Dobson and Company have made their bones (as the mobsters say) on abortion and homosexuality. They have become famous, powerful, and wealthy by flogging those two ponies. And they don't know what else to ride. So they'll keep doing what they know how to do, even as the world changes around them, and wind up pathetic old remnants of an ugly period in American social history.
I can't wait.