People around the world are joining in marches today to bring awareness to climate change and evangelical Christians are among their ranks. While there is an ongoing debate among evangelicals about the reality of climate change, a growing number of evangelicals not only acknowledge climate change but also feel it is their Christian duty to do something about it.
“We come at this work not because we’re environmentalist, even though some of us identify that way, and not because we’re Democrats or Republican,” says Kyle Meyaard-Schaap, national organizer and spokesperson at Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (YECA). “We come at this because we’re Christians and we believe that acting on climate change and calling the church to action and it’s just part of what it means to follow Jesus in the 21st century,” Meyaard-Schaap told Quartz.
Members of YECA aren’t the only Christians who are concerned about climate change. Scientist and evangelical Christian Katharine Hayhoe is working to change the mindset surrounding climate change in the church. She speaks to believers about the need to protect God’s creation and the mandate we have to help those who are “less fortunate than ourselves.” Caring for vulnerable populations is a big theme among climate change experts, who argue that the poor are the ones who stand to lose the most as the climate of the earth changes. Some scientists have even drawn a correlation between the rising violence in the Sahel region of Africa to the effects of climate change.
Hayhoe believes politics keeps many evangelical Christians in the U.S. from acknowledging climate change. She told Quartz she believes there are two types of evangelicals: political evangelicals and theological evangelicals. The political evangelicals’ “statement of faith is written first by their political ideology and only a distant second by what the Bible says,” Hayhoe believes.
Robin Veldman, the author of The Gospel of Climate Skepticism: Why Evangelical Christians Oppose Action on Climate Change, agrees politics sometimes get in the way of evangelicals engaging in issues of climate change. Speaking to Newsweek, she says:
Part of being a part of the evangelical community is showing that you keep good theologically conservative company, and environmentalism is associated with being liberal. In America, theological liberalism and political liberalism are kind of viewed as the same thing. So it does raise questions if you become interested in the environment.
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SOURCE: Church Leaders