For God's Sake, Let's Focus on the Earth

Read the Rice News article about Richard Cizik's lecture at the Baker Institute.

As vice president for governmental affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), Richard Cizik had primary responsibility for shaping and articulating the organization"s policy on major social issues and lobbying the White House and Congress on the association"s behalf.

After hearing scientist and fellow evangelical John Houghton present evidence on global warming in 2002, Cizik led in the formation of a type of environmentalism he called "Creation Care," rooted not in politics or ideology but in Biblical injunctions to stop and prevent activities that are harmful to the Earth and its inhabitants. Nearly 500 evangelical leaders, including the presidents of dozens of Christian colleges, have signed the Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation, a powerful endorsement of every Christian"s duty to care for the planet and of government"s responsibility for safeguarding a sustainable environment. 

Despite criticism from some prominent evangelicals who regard Cizik"s emphasis on environmentalism as a diversion from evangelicalism"s "traditional values," he has received widespread support and admiration, particularly from younger evangelicals. In 2007, Time magazine named Cizik as one of the nation"s 100 most influential thinkers.

In December 2008, Cizik resigned from his position at the NAE under pressure from evangelical leaders after an appearance on the NPR program "Fresh Air," during which he told host Terry Gross that he was willing to support civil unions for same-sex couples and observed that two-thirds of younger evangelicals are willing to vote for a candidate who disagrees with them on the issue of abortion.

Speaker William Martin
William Martin, Ph.D., is the Harry and Hazel Chavanne Senior Fellow in Religion and Public Policy at the Baker Institute and the Chavanne Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Rice University. His areas of research and writing at the Baker Institute focus on two major sets of issues: 1) the political ...

William Martin, Ph.D., is the Harry and Hazel Chavanne Senior Fellow in Religion and Public Policy at the Baker Institute and the Chavanne Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Rice University. His areas of research and writing at the Baker Institute focus on two major sets of issues: 1) the political implications of religion, particularly fundamentalist religions and the importance of the separation of religion and government, or “church and state”; and 2) ways to reduce the harms associated with both drug abuse and drug policy. His articles, most of which deal with aspects of religion, have appeared in such publications as Texas Monthly, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s and Esquire, as well as in professional journals. His book “A Prophet with Honor: The Billy Graham Story” is regarded as the authoritative biography of Billy Graham. An updated edition of his 1996 book “With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America,” the companion volume to a six-hour documentary PBS miniseries of the same name, was reissued in June 2005 by Broadway Books. He is a frequent guest on national and local news and discussion programs. During his 44 years at Rice, Martin has received numerous teaching awards, including a Lifetime Award for Excellence in Teaching. Martin received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1969.


William Martin

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When?

Tue, Feb. 24, 2009
5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
(GMT-0600) America/Chicago

Where?

Rice University, Baker Hall