By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Rebuffing Christian radio commentator James C. Dobson, the board of directors of the National Association of Evangelicals reaffirmed its position that environmental protection, which it calls "creation care," is an important moral issue.
Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, and two dozen other conservative Christian leaders, including Gary L. Bauer, Tony Perkins and Paul M. Weyrich, sent the board a letter this month denouncing the association's vice president, the Rev. Richard Cizik, for urging attention to global warming.
The letter argued that evangelicals are divided on whether climate change is a real problem, and it said that "Cizik and others are using the global warming controversy to shift the emphasis away from the great moral issues of our time," such as abortion and same-sex marriage.
If Cizik "cannot be trusted to articulate the views of American evangelicals on environmental issues, then we respectfully suggest that he be encouraged to resign his position with the NAE," the letter concluded.
The Rev. Leith Anderson, the association's president, said yesterday that the board did not respond to the letter during a two-day meeting that ended Friday in Minneapolis. But, he said, the board reaffirmed a 2004 position paper, "For the Health of the Nations," that outlined seven areas of civic responsibility for evangelicals, including creation care along with religious freedom, nurturing the family, sanctity of life, compassion for the poor, human rights and restraining violence.
On Friday, the association's board approved a 12-page statement on terrorism and torture. Anderson said that Cizik gave a report to the board on his work in Washington as vice president for governmental affairs and that there was no effort to reprimand him. "I think there was a lot of support from me, from the executive committee and from the board for Rich Cizik," Anderson said.