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.