Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 23, 2006
By: Christina Larson

EVANGELICAL SPORTSMEN ... "Do you consider yourself an evangelical Christian?" On first reflection, that might seem an odd question to have been included in the National Wildlife Federation's recent poll of sportsmen's attitudes toward global warming.

Yet, 50 percent of American hunters and anglers identified as evangelical.

One enduring story has been that of evolving partnerships on green issues. In February, for instance, the Evangelical Climate Initiative announced that 86 evangelical leaders had signed a statement declaring climate change a moral issue. In early June, Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope and United Steelworkers president Leo Gerard christened a Blue-Green Alliance to address workplace hazards, alternative energy, and job creation. Last week, Sierra Club president Lisa Renstrom trekked to Lake Charles, La. for a national meeting of hook and bullet writers.

Typically these stories are covered as: environmentalists find a new ally.

But that overlooks the extent to which groups, motives, and identities already overlap. 20 percent of Sierra Club members are hunters. Half of sportsmen are evangelicals. The most popular section of the Steelworkers' magazine is the hunting and fishing section. Most people aren't drawn to green issues for a single reason, and concerns traditionally labeled environmental aren't only environmental.

UPDATE: In response to a query: the NWF poll was conducted by Mark Duda of Responsive Management, whose niche is outdoor recreation. Christina Larson 4:52 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (16)

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Somehow I got on Zogby's list of people willing to participate in web polls, so I've taken them maybe 10-15 times. To my memory, every single one has asked if I'm an evangelical Christian as part of the demographic info.

I don't know if the poll Kevin refers to was by Zogby. If so, I'm not surprised they asked that question.

Posted by: treetop on June 23, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Of course Global Warming is an issue of interest to Evangelicals! As every Evangelical knows, human peoples, men and womens, are all sinners. And where do sinners go? To H-ll! Global Warming has the potential to make this world a literal H-ll on Earth. What could be more fitting for all us sinners? Obviously, Global Warming is a good thing and can't happen soon enough for Evangelicals.

Posted by: Mooser on June 23, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

In February, for instance, the Evangelical Climate Initiative announced that 86 evangelical leaders had signed a statement declaring climate change a moral issue.

Evangelical Christianity has at least 86 "leaders"???

No wonder Evangelical Christians are so confused.

The real question would be to ask two groups of self-identifying Evangelical Christians the following questions.

Ask the first group: "Do you believe that the idea of global warming is environmentalist propaganda which could negatively affect job growth in certain sectors of the US economy?"

Ask the second group: "Nearly 100 Evangelical Leaders has signed a paper stating that the global warming is a serious environmental issue. Do you agree?"

My prediction: you'll get two contradictory sets of answers. And the way to interpret that data will be this: most polls suck ass and Evangelical Christians are easily manipulated.

The way that this country has treated the science of climatology for the past 6 years is utterly fucking disgusting and Evangelical Christians and their leaders (i.e., Dobson, Falwell, Robertson, etc.) should be ashamed that they let it happen.

But they aren't.

Posted by: George Deutsch on June 23, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Do Dobson et al represent Christians? I just thought they represented the permanently angry.

Posted by: Generic Righty on June 23, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Dobson and other high-profile evangelical leaders signed a pre-emptive letter in January declaring, "Global warming is not a consensus issue." Among the other signers were Charles W. Colson, the founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries and Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Their letter was addressed to the National Association of Evangelicals, an umbrella group of churches and ministries, which last year had started to move in the direction of taking a stand on global warming. The letter from the 22 leaders asked the National Association of Evangelicals not to issue any statement on global warming or to allow its officers or staff members to take a position.

E. Calvin Beisner, associate professor of historical theology at Knox Theological Seminary in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., helped organize the opposition into a group called the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance. He said Tuesday that "the science is not settled" on whether global warming was actually a problem or even that human beings were causing it. And he said that the solutions advocated by global warming opponents would only cause the cost of energy to rise, with the burden falling most heavily on the poor.

In response to the critics, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, the Rev. Ted Haggard, did not join the 86 leaders in the statement on global warming, even though he had been in the forefront of the issue a year ago. Neither did the Rev. Richard Cizik, the National Association's Washington lobbyist, even though he helped persuade other leaders to sign the global warming initiative.

Mr. Haggard, the pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, said in a telephone interview that he did not sign because it would be interpreted as an endorsement by the entire National Association of Evangelicals. But he said that speaking just for himself, "There is no doubt about it in my mind that climate change is happening, and there is no doubt about it that it would be wise for us to stop doing the foolish things we're doing that could potentially be causing this. In my mind there is no downside to being cautious."

(Except when you realize the far-left's idea of "cautious" would cause another recession, or worse).

Posted by: Ken Blackwell on June 23, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

"Do Dobson et al represent Christians? I just thought they represented the permanently angry."

Dobson, Robertson, Falwell, and a few others are notable because they are part of a heretical sect of Christianity known as Dominionists. Dominionists are politically motivated, have a vast amount of money to dip into, and have influenced the evangelical movement to adopt core Dominionist heresies that oddly enough is being merged with the Republican party's political platform. I find it hard to distinguish between the two now.

The most glaring of these heresies is works as a means to prove ones salvation. Another form of heresy is the "Right Belief" litmus test which is based on exclusivity and not the inclusive call of discipleship which Jesus had instructed his followers to adopt. There are others, but these two are the big ones.
However, the issue of Dominionists is that they have hijacked much of the media exposure and have provided a image of speaking for all of Christendom. Those of us who are in complete disagreement with the Dominionist hegemony are considered disgraced Christians who better get religion quick, or else.
So yeah, there's a lot of us who are angry about Dobson and his ilk.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on June 23, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

"Ken Blackwell" copied his post from a New York Times article dated 2/8/06. It is archived here: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0208-07.htm

Posted by: treetop on June 23, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

A related question is what percentage of the overall population would answer "yes" to that question as its phrased. I'm guessing not 50%, but it could be as high as 37% or more given no other alternatives were asked in the poll.

Posted by: Bug on June 23, 2006 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure Jesus would have dared you to pry his rifle from his cold, dead hands. Sheesh....

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 24, 2006 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

It never made sense for hunters to support a cabal that wants to destroy forests, increase population, and in general make it hard for those who enjoy the natural world - in whatever way that is.

The Republicans scare voters with stories of gun control etc., but think - of the two parties, which is *actually* more likely to take away *your* rights? The Dems will likely not take away gun rights etc. (except for a few highly liberal outliers), but Repubs will (more) really wreck the environment, make it hard for you to get redress about employment or products etc., take away your privacy in various ways, etc.

Posted by: Neil' on June 24, 2006 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

And why may we ask are these groups needing to find allies? The great uniter and his dreadful record on environmental regulation, development of oil and gas in western lands, promoting drilling in ANWR, obstructing action on global warming, and bankrupting our ability (via the opportunity costs of the Iraq war and tax cuts on the concentrators of the earth's bounty) to make life better on earth. This is truly ironic considering that shrub himself has put considerable energy into improving his own little patch of heaven at the Crawford rancho. Funny how his dedication to his own domain does not translate into national policy. And Cheney, an avid hunter and fisherman?

Posted by: lou on June 24, 2006 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK


What a arrogant comment. All fair minded people only call somone a member of a "heretical sect" by self-description. Example, I believe that Jehovah Witnesses are a heretical sect. People who are Jehovah Witnesses, however, proudly self-identify as JW's.

You seem to define a heretical sect not based on what people say about themselves, but on your opinion of what they say or what you have heard third hand. This is very dangerous and the type of thinking which shuts off debate and only shows your own arrogance and unwillingness to discuss ideas based on merits.

True Dominionism is probably self embraced by only a few nutcases who have very little influence.

My guess is that it is much easier for someone like you to label someone as Dominionist rather than actually pay attention to what they say. This makes it much easier to maintain your probably not to well thought out positions against the onslaught of rational thought.

Posted by: John Hansen on June 24, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Ken Blackwell wrote: Except when you realize the far-left's idea of "cautious" would cause another recession, or worse

That is 100% pure scripted, programmed right-wing bullshit, obediently regurgitated by a mental slave.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 24, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Creative Christians can show their faith in progressive fashion with Godhats!


Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

can I suggest that folks try talking with anglers.. perhaps then they will realise as anglers do all too well that rivers and lakes are so badly polluted - runoffs, acid rain, dissolved chemicals etc - that the fish they catch have all manner and to various extents scale lesions that they didn't have over three decades agao..

and oh yes, global warming does increase the measurable temperature of both air in the atmosphere, and water. This gives effect to minute though significantly changed animal environments that fish and animal feedstocks are changed. the foodchain is thereby altered and edibility let alone sportability diminished.

I'm merely saying that such changes relate well to both suspicion and fact. Given a Godly man and this all being part and parcel of the creation then their voice is surely deserving of expression without some of the overt condemnations I have read in these comments.

Finally and with no wish to prejudice what I have just said, it would be helpful for folks to distinguish Christians rather than either give impression they are all the same, or all divisive as some of the aforementioned most surely are.

thank you for the commenting opportunity.

Posted by: roman eos on June 25, 2006 at 3:56 AM | PERMALINK

I'm in total agreement with Anna Lourdes that the Left has been radically against religion to the point of hurting its political chances. Lourdes claims that it's the fringe preventing the Dems from winning and I agree.

Posted by: stuffEnuf on June 25, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK



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