Do you remember the day you found out one of your role models was imperfect? Perhaps you saw your mom punish the wrong sibling for breaking a vase, or you heard your kindergarten teacher swear. I’m finding myself just as disillusioned right now with several of our nation’s prominent Christians.
An impressive list of evangelical Christian leaders has recently signed onto the “Evangelical Climate Initiative” (ECI), a statement calling for Americans to do what they can to combat climate change.
Some of the statement seems reasonable and biblical. Yes, Christians are called to be stewards of the earth. Yes, we’re charged with caring for the poor. Yes, we want to stand for what is right, and even get involved politically when an opportunity arises. These assertions are agreed upon by nearly all evangelical Christians.
However, these Christian leaders step outside of their areas of expertise when they take on the issue of climate change. They assert, “Over the last several years many of us have engaged in study, reflection, and prayer related to the issue of climate change,” but the majority of them are not scientists. They are also not economists, so they seem to be totally unaware of the economic ramifications of the ideas they are proposing.
Let’s take the world’s poor as an example. The ECI states:
Poor nations and poor individuals have fewer resources available to cope with major challenges and threats. The consequences of global warming will therefore hit the poor the hardest, in part because those areas likely to be significantly affected first are in the poorest regions of the world. Millions of people could die in this century because of climate change, most of them our poorest global neighbors.
If indeed climate change was real (which is still in doubt), and if millions would die as a result, this would be an important issue for Christians to tackle (although I’m still not sure how the leaders came up with the not-so-precise estimate of “millions”). But is the ECI really the best way to help the world’s poor?