Academic Left Derails Evangelicals

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Academics finding common cause with left-wing activists are not a new story, particularly since they are frequently the same people. But their effort to influence Evangelical Christians suggests a new twist on an old cliché: If you can’t beat them, subvert them.

“For America’s evangelicals, reclaiming the faith would produce a social and political ethic rather different from the one propagated by the religious right,” Professor Randall Balmer writes in the June 23rd Chronicle of Higher Education supplement, The Chronicle Review. “Care for the earth and for God’s creation provides a good place to start, building on the growing evangelical discontent with the rapacious environmental policies of the Republican-religious right coalition.”

“Once the evangelicals challenge religious-right orthodoxy on environmental matters, further challenges are possible.”

Professor Balmer is the author of the forthcoming Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America: An Evangelical’s Lament. Dr. Balmer teaches American Religious History at Barnard College in Manhattan.

The “growing evangelical discontent” Dr. Balmer writes of consists of one man—Ron Cizik—who got many high-profile religious leaders to sign onto something called the Evangelical Climate Initiative early this year, almost on blind faith, as it were. “Thinking evangelicals,” meanwhile, have jumped off of the ECI after studying its contents.

“The executive council of the 30-million member National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) recently passed a motion saying there is ‘ongoing debate about the causes of global warming’ and acknowledging a ‘lack of consensus among the evangelical community on this issue,’” the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance revealed in a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D. C. on April 19th this year.

On the one hand, “effort[s] to cut greenhouse gases hurt the poor,” the ISA points out. “By making energy less affordable and accessible, mandatory reductions would drive up the cost of consumer products, stifle economic growth, cost jobs, and impose especially harmful effects on the Earth’s poorest people.”

“The Kyoto climate treaty, for example, could cost the world community $1 trillion a year—five times the estimated price of providing sanitation and drinking water to poor developing countries.” [And, one African dies every minute from malaria, thanks to the ban on DDT.]

“Climate models are suspect,” the ISA points out. “Our atmosphere and climate are so complex that meteorologists have only a rudimentary grasp of what actually causes storms, droughts, heat waves, cold snaps; and climate conditions have changed many times over the centuries.”

As for the so-called social issues that evangelicals have been vocal on, self-described evangelists such as Balmer and Cizik would have them shift focus and possibly even positions on them. “As for abortion itself, evangelicals should consider carefully where they invest their energies on this matter,” Dr. Balmer warns. “Both sides of the abortion debate acknowledge that making abortion illegal will not stop abortion itself; it will make abortions more dangerous for the life and health of the mother.”

“The other objection is legal and constitutional.” Many of us have failed in our quest to find abortion-on-demand or even a right to privacy in the U. S. constitution. Moreover, survivors of partial-birth abortions might be perplexed by Dr. Balmer’s “pro-life” defense of America’s abortion laws, which, author and policy analyst Carrie Lukas found, are the most liberal on the planet.

As for Cizik, he claims to be pro-life but Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute reports on comments that Cizik made at the World Bank that cast doubt on that claim. “I’d like to take on the population issue, but in my community global warming is the third-rail issue,” Cizik reportedly said. “I’ve touched the third rail and still have a job and I’ll still have a job after my talk here today but population is a much more dangerous issue to touch.”

“In my community, environmentalists are associated with pantheism.”

“I don’t agree with that assessment,” he allegedly added. “We need to confront population control and we can.”

“We’re not Roman Catholics after all,” Cizik supposedly assured his audience. “But it’s too hot to handle now.”

Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.