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Guess Who Came to the Evangelicals' Dinner
The listeners were sympathetic. "We just finished a 122-page audit of our church to lower our carbon footprint," one pastor told the crowd. Another minister, Joel Hunter, rose to recommend his booklet, "Creation Care: An Introduction for Busy Pastors."
After the session, Cizik took on his critics with confidence. Sen. Inhofe? "God bless him," he said. And those who would have similar criticism about the dinner with Ban? "I would appeal to them to listen to his speech," Cizik said.
NAE President Leith Anderson has supported Cizik throughout, but he seemed a bit defensive when asked before the speech about the Ban invitation. "We're not here for the secretary general -- we're here for the people who are poor and hurting and war-torn."
After exposing the secretary general to some deafening Christian rock music ("I am a friend of God -- He calls me 'friend' "), Anderson gave him a brief and neutral introduction as "arguably the most visible leader of the world today." The 400 in attendance climbed slowly to their feet.
Ban may have confirmed some of his hosts' fears at the start of his speech, when he reminded the gathering that "the United Nations is a secular institution." He continued: "We have six official languages but no official religion. We do not have a chapel -- though we do have a meditation room."
Ban devoted himself at length to Cizik's pet subject: protecting "God's creation" from global warming. He urged the evangelicals to call for "local and national policies that will help solve our global problem."
But the secretary general knew his audience, and the bulk of his words were about what he called the "common cause" of his organization and evangelicals. "The United Nations is dedicated to ending war and building peace -- to making swords into plowshares, if you will. We are dedicated to helping the poor, to aiding the victims of conflict, famine, disease and disaster."
Ban then quoted from Isaiah: "If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday."
Strange words, coming from the Antichrist.