No. Cizik’s crime is…he’s an environmentalist.

Actually, the reason they went after Cizik (rather than someone like Rick Warren) is not because he’s an “environmentalist” but because he’s an advocate for population control. Cizik says one thing when he’s in front of the NAE crowd and another when he’s in front of secular groups like the World Bank. Cizik is not very popular with evangelical leaders in D.C. precisely because he takes a position that many think is unbiblical. Joe Carter Family Research Council, The Evangelical Outpost

Joe Carter was responding to David Darlington’s post at In the Agora regarding a letter send to the US National Association of Evangelicals calling for the resignation of NAE Vice President for Governmental Affairs – Rev. Richard Cizik.
The NAE represents about 30 million members and has been operating for 65 years.

The letter to the new NAE President Dr. Taylor is signed by evangelical leaders in the US who are not members of the Association. They belong to a group called The Interfaith Stewardship Alliance and in the letter, initially appear to object to Cizik talking about environmentalism.

The liberal media has given wide coverage to Cizik’s views and has characterized them as being representative of the NAE member organizations.

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We, the undersigned, want to state our position again. We believe the NAE lacks the expertise to take a position on global warming. That is the essential point of this letter. Richard Cizik also lacks this expertise, and to our knowledge, he has never been asked to speak for the rest of the Association in such areas of controversy.

The ‘liberal’ media covering Dr. Cizik?
Cited in the letter: Fast Company, June 2006.
Also USA Today. The Washington Post, PBS, The New York Times, Reuters, Fox News and Associated Press have also covered Cizik, the NAE and creation care.

The objection of the letters signatories and what Joe Carter is referring to is a statement Rev. Cizik made in a World Bank forum on sustainable development May 2006:

…World Bank in May of 2006, he said: “I’d like to take on the population issue, but in my community global warming is the third rail issue. I’ve touched the third rail but still have a job. And I’ll still have a job after my talk here today. But population is a much more dangerous issue to touch. We need to confront population control and we can — we’re not Roman Catholics, after all, but it’s too hot to handle now.” *

Christianity Today** and World Magazine (two decidedly not liberal media publications) have covered Cizik’s work and environmental statements the NAE has put out.

So this three page letter isn’t about the NAE or Rev. Cizik’s relentless campaign that is “dividing and demoralizing” evangelicals in regards to the environment?
Nope.
Carter is being far less disingenuous than the letter signers were.

We ask, how is population control going to be achieved if not by promoting abortion, the distribution of condoms to the young, and, even by infanticide in China and elsewhere? Is this where Richard Cizik would lead us?

According to The Director of Web Communications at The Family Research Council this is about population control.
So much for Cizik’s ‘relentless campaign’ against global warming.

This looks more like a relentless political grudge match, and environmental concerns are the football.
Evangelical Climate Initiative
Interfaith Stewardship Alliance
Institute on Religion and Democracy – Environment

NAE statement on joint co-operation
NAE statement on Civic Responsibility

*As far as I can tell the Cizik quote from the World Bank Sustainable Development Forum was first trotted out at the Focus on the Family Value Voters 2006 Summit by Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe. I cannot find a transcript of the World Bank Forum (May 2006) online to put Rev. Cizik’s quote in context.

**Christianity Today has noted Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family wants Rev. Richard Cizik fired for endorsing this book.

Update: World Bank Forum information is not released (see comments below) The Cizik quote came from Mryon Ebell, Director, Energy and Global Warming Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
The Cizik World Bank quote comes from an Ebell (personal email May 2, 2006) in this paper from The Acton Institute. From Climate Control to Population Control: Troubling Background on the ‘Evangelical Climate Inititive.’ A Joint Paper of the Institute on Religion & Democracy and the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty.

Published 8 months, 2 weeks ago
4 Responses to “Fire Richard Cizik, he isn’t one of us – The NAE and the US religious right”
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1Joe Carter on Mar 4th, 2007 at 9:58 pm
So this three page letter isn’t about the NAE or Rev. Cizik’s relentless campaign that is “dividing and demoralizing” evangelicals in regards to the environment?

Why do you think that the issue is so “dividing and demoralizing?” This isn’t about the “environment” or “creation care”–an issue that evangelicals care deeply about–but about the political solutions that stem from the global warming controversy.

Cizik is speaking out in a way that is contrary to the view of his own organization. And when he supports “population control” he is speaking out in a way that is contrary to Christianity.

I realize that when it comes to Dobson you take the “enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend” approach. But Cizik isn’t a guy you want to be defending.

2Bene Diction on Mar 4th, 2007 at 10:26 pm
Do you have the full text of Cizik’s remarks to the World Bank forum, May 2006?

Cizik’s ‘organization’ has already responded Joe. They respecfully disagree.

I appreciate you acknowledging the real agenda of the letter writers.

3Joe Carter on Mar 4th, 2007 at 10:46 pm
Do you have the full text of Cizik’s remarks to the World Bank forum, May 2006?

No, the World Bank doesn’t make the transcripts of their forums available online. The quote was transcribed by Myron Ebell, Director of Energy and Global Warming Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Cizik’s ‘organization’ has already responded Joe. They respecfully disagree.

Uh, no, you’re wrong about that. The NAE board has not responded yet. It will be surprising if they back him up considering that in January 2006 the NAE Executive Committee instructed NAE staff “to stand by and not exceed in any fashion our approved and adopted statements concerning the environment contained within the Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility.”

The Executive Committee took this action “recognizing the ongoing debate regarding the causes and origins of global warming, and understanding the lack of consensus among the evangelical community on this issue.”

4Bene D on Mar 5th, 2007 at 12:08 am
Thank you for the source of the World Bank Forum quote.

You are correct, there is no NAE board response on newsires, the full board had not received the letter as of Friday.

Here are some of the NAE interm director and Rev. Richard’s public response to the letter:

***
Taylor could not be reached immediately for comment. Cizik said, “I have no intention of resigning.” The NAE’s interim president, Leith Anderson, said Friday he expects the board to stand by Cizik, who directs the NAE’s Washington office.

“I’m supportive of Rich Cizik,” Anderson said. “I think that he is highly respected in Washington and is a forthright spokesman for creation care and that’s good.”

When read a list of the signatories, Anderson said, “We would normally look to our own constituency … and not to those who have chosen not to be members of the NAE … for counsel.” – CT March 2, 2007

***
But the Rev. Leith Anderson, president of the association, said, “We’re talking about somebody here who’s been in Washington for 25 years, has an amazing track record and is highly respected.”

“I’m behind him,” said Mr. Anderson – NYT March 2, 2007

***
“I speak with a voice that is authentically evangelical on all the issues, from religious freedom around the world, to compassion for the poor, ending oppression in Darfur and yes, creation care is one of those issues,” Cizik said yesterday. – Short News March 4, 2007

***
(T) the Rev. Leith Anderson, defended Cizik as “a great asset.” He also said that the Dobson letter was released to the news media before it was received by the board. “I guess that says it all,” he said. – Washington Post March 3, 2007

***
You might like to read about Marc Gunther’s dinner with Cizik March 2nd. There are several quotes from Cizik as he and the NAE prepare for their board meeting next week in Minnesota. Green Opinions Blog, March 3, 2007

I’m sure more will be forthcoming from the NAE privately and publically.