A voting statistic recently aired on CNN‘s Situation Room that reminded me of the massive power held by the leaders of the US Evangelical Christian movement.
Of the 126 million votes cast in the last presidential election, 24% of voters identified themselves as white/born again Christians, and 78% of that demographic voted Republican.
That’s a lot of people, and many (not all) are being fed a constant stream of climate change denial rhetoric.
And nobody does this better than the grand pooba of Evangelicals, James Dobson, head of the powerhouse Christian lobby group, Focus on the Family. To say Dobson holds sway, is an understatement – over $250 million in annual revenue, a daily syndicated radio show reaching 220 million a day in 164 countries and a monthly magazine with over 2 million subscribers.
And Dobson’s stand on the stewardship of our planet, on the protection of god’s green earth from what science tells us is an impending crisis on a global scale?
Deny, deny, deny.
Here’s a September 2007 article from Dobson’s website titled, New report: scientists not convinced about global warming citing “research” and accompanying quotes from the George C. Marshall Institute and the American Enterprise Institute, two DC think tanks that has received large sums of money from the fossil fuel industry.
And here’s a September 24, 2007 Focus on the Family newscast, slamming climate science as “alarmist.”
The tagline for Focus on the Family is “nurturing and defending families worldwide.” But it seems that all this nurturing and defending of the family falls short when it comes to caring for the very planet, without which the family, or any life form for that matter, can exist.
Its hard to maintain the structure of a family when your crop fails due to drought. Its hard to nurture family values when you can no longer access fresh drinking water.
Other Evangelical leaders get this. Last year, 86 leaders banded together to fight global warming, saying “millions of people could die in this century because of climate change, most of them our poorest global neighbors.”
That’s great. But until the powerhouses of the Evangelical movement, like Dobson, get on board, millions of people will continue to be fed the climate denial message, and the outcome of this denial could very well be a complete breakdown of the family values that the Evangelical leaders have charged themselves with defending.