Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Dobson Versus Wallis

A group of prominent evangelicals-- including James Dobson, Gary Bauer, and Tony Perkins-- is highly critical of Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals for daring to claim that global warming is an issue that should concern Christians. The core of their argument is as follows:
"....We have observed that Cizik and others are using the global warming controversy to shift the emphasis away from the great moral issues of our time, notably the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage and the teaching of sexual abstinence and morality to our children."
In response, fellow evangelical Jim Wallis addresses Dobson:
"Is the fact that 30,000 children will die globally today, and everyday, from needless hunger and disease a great moral issue for evangelical Christians? How about the reality of 3 billion of God’s children living on less than $2 per day? And isn’t the still-widespread and needless poverty in our own country, the richest nation in the world, a moral scandal? What about pandemics like HIV/AIDS that wipe out whole generations and countries, or the sex trafficking of massive numbers of women and children? Should genocide in Darfur be a moral issue for Christians? And what about disastrous wars like Iraq? And then there is, of course, the issue that got Dobson and his allies so agitated. If the scientific consensus is right - climate change is real, is caused substantially by human activity, and could result in hundreds of thousands of deaths - then isn’t that also a great moral issue? Could global warming actually be alarming evidence of human tinkering with God’s creation?"
Wallis hits the nail on the head. Note that he is not denying the importance of the sanctity of life issues that command Dobson's attention. He simply realizes that the gospel of life is far broader. Catholics would agree, except, of course, those like Bill Donohue that would have the Catholic church follow the example of Dobson's Republicans and enter an unholy alliance with the Republican party. And Wallis does not even mention torture, where Dobson and his allies are eerily silent (or in tacit support). Jim Wallis deserves support, as he tries to rescue his brand of Christianity from Republican clutches.

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