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'All these issues matter' 

In 2004, following the Rev. Richard Cizik's leadership with support from Ted Haggard, then-New Life Church senior pastor and National Association of Evangelicals president, the NAE board unanimously adopted "For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility" (nae.net/images/civic_responsibility2.pdf).

With this action, the NAE formally expanded its mandate beyond pro-life and homosexuality-related issues to include "seek[ing] justice and compassion for the poor and vulnerable," "work[ing] to protect human rights ... seek[ing] peace and work[ing] to restrain violence," and promoting "care for creation."

On that last point, the NAE board wrote unambiguously: "We affirm that God-given dominion is a sacred responsibility to steward the earth ... We urge government to encourage fuel efficiency, reduce pollution, encourage sustainable use of natural resources, and provide for the proper care of wildlife and their natural habitats."

At a June speech at Princeton University, Cizik stated: "All of these issues matter. I have a huge hope for our church, because the younger generation of evangelicals get it that all these issues matter not just sanctity of human life, but ending poverty matters ... promoting human rights and religious liberty for all matters ... ending slavery and genocide matters. And, of course, the church will not tolerate torture. But caring for God's creation matters - and should be a central part of our church's mission."

Cizik's work may be having an impact: A 2006 poll found that 63 percent of evangelicals say climate change is real and America must act now to deal with it.

  • Evangelicals have taken climate-change effects as a challenge to overcome.

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