by LUKE BAUMGARTEN & r & & r & The Baylor University report, "Piety in America," suggested that the way Americans access and believe in God -- even among the most conservative -- is vastly more complicated than anyone ever guessed. To illustrate this nuance, we asked the scientists, intellectuals and activists leading the charge on Creation Care to weigh in on their personal beliefs, politics and (environmental) conversion stories.
-- LUKE BAUMGARTEN
DR. BILL ROBINSON
President, Whitworth College
TRADITION: Born Baptist; became Presbyterian Church after college.
ARE YOU AN EVANGELICAL? "Yes."
POLITICAL AFFILIATION: "I've been all over the map ... I'm sure I've voted Democratic more than Republican, but I'm literally all over the map."
POINTS OF DISSENT: "I vote issues and people."
WHY ENVIRONMENTALISM? "The Bible is very clear that all things were created by God. Nothing is made that he didn't make. We're dealing with the craftsmanship of Jesus when we're living in our world. I can't imagine a higher motivation to handle it well. And the science seems to say we're not handling it well. It's clear we're being abusive with the created order."
DR. TOM ACKERMAN
Battelle Fellow, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory * Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington
TRADITION: Christian Reformed Church
ARE YOU AN EVANGELICAL? "To the extent that it means someone who believes in traditional Christian orthodoxy, I can go along with it."
POLITICAL AFFILIATION: "I certainly lean more Democrat that Republican at this point. That lean is largely the result of my views on social justice, equity and the environment."
POINTS OF DISSENT: "Unlimited abortion. I am not
in favor of homosexual marriage ... I am a centrist on fiscal policy and feel abandoned by both parties in Congress on that issue these days."
WHY ENVIRONMENTALISM? "I personally start from a conviction that 'This is my Father's world.' Thus I am called to be a steward ... As a Christian, I am called to be responsible in my use of natural resources out of justice to all God's creatures, including people from other countries and to children not yet born."
Founder, Director, Restoring Eden
TRADITION: Russian Orthodox, but became evangelical in 1976, during the height of the Jesus People movement
ARE YOU EVANGELICAL? "Yeah. It's a vague term, but yeah, with an appreciation for broader expressions of faith."
POLITICAL AFFILIATION: "I consider myself independent. I'm pro-life but I think many Republican policies are not pro-life, so.... "
POINTS OF DISSENT: "I think pro-life is reflected in social justice, environment issues. No matter how I vote, I have to take some of my beliefs off the table. This administration, though, has been retroactive in repealing laws that I feel are wise and good stewardship."
WHY ENVIRONMENTALISM? "Encountering a herd of wild elk in the mountains one day, then sitting in what used to be a grove of forest that had been clear-cut. I read Proverbs 31:8 ("Speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves'). Then, when the 104th Congress tried to gut the Endangered Species Act, it drove me to action."
Founder, Faith and
TRADITION: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
ARE YOU AN EVANGELICAL? "Yes, in the sense I try to live my life as I believe Christ's example directs and try to love people the way Christ did. I fail on both counts every day, though."
POLITICAL AFFILIATION: "I am not registered with any political party, but I tend to vote with the Democratic party."
POINTS OF DISSENT: "I would consider myself pro-life, but in a more inclusive and consistent sense of the term. I feel like all life has sanctity and is from God, so I'm opposed to war and the death penalty."
WHY ENVIRONMENTALISM? "In the Genesis creation story, I believe God created humans last not to have dominion over all the rest of creation, but because we are dependent on everything that was created before us, and so we must be responsible stewards of that creation."