Policy

Major evangelical organization says Christianity demands climate action

Associated Press/Carlos Osorio

The National Association of Evangelicals (NEA) called climate action a Christian responsibility in a 50-page report this week, a call to action for a demographic far less likely than the general population to consider climate change a threat. 

The NAE’s report, “Loving the Least of These,” addresses the scientific evidence for the reality of climate change and the role of greenhouse gas emissions in driving it, as well as examining and debunking common arguments against the objectivity of climatologists. 

The report goes on to address the issue from a theological and personal perspective, outlining biblical arguments for environmental stewardship.  

“The earth brings glory to God, and God continues to care for and sustain the natural processes of the world. The psalmist says: ‘Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, my soul’ (Psalm 103:22),” it states. “Because God’s glory is revealed in creation, we should be intentional about caring for his artistry.” 

The report also cites Matthew 22’s edict to “love your neighbor as yourself” in the context of the human suffering caused by climate change and environmental disasters and outlines personal experiences and examples of the human toll of those ongoing disasters.

It uses the case of Alliuddin, a Bangladeshi farmer whose livelihood depends on the continuing availability of an irrigation stream he uses to farm.  

The NAE, which represents 45,000 evangelical churches, has acknowledged the existence of climate change, notably in a 2011 edition of the same report. However, the faith itself is less likely to consider it a major issue than both the public at large and other denominations like mainline Protestants and Catholics.

A Pew Research poll earlier this year found that just over half of white evangelicals acknowledged the role of human activity in climate change, compared to 86 percent of Hispanic Catholics, 81 percent of Black Protestants, 73 percent of white Catholics and 72 percent of white nonevangelicals.  

White evangelicals are also one of the demographics that most reliably backed former President Trump, who has falsely claimed human-caused climate change is a “hoax” and unwound numerous environmental policies during his presidency. 

Despite the hurdles, however, lead author Dorothy Boorse said events since 2011 have illustrated both the reality of a changing climate and the necessity of action.

“These realities increase the urgency to understand the impacts of a changing environment on those who are increasingly vulnerable,” she wrote. 

Tags Catholics Climate change Evangelicals Hispanic Catholics national association of evangelicals natural disasters Trump

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