Green Revelation

Carol, being a free-lance writer specializing in ecological pollution prevention issues, is always bringing home the latest environmental publications. Her latest find is Plenty, a glossy magazine with the motto “It’s easy being green.” I opened it to find an article by Liz Galst titled, “Saving Grace: How Evangelical Christians Are Energizing the Environmental Movement.” Galst opens the article like this:

Like the Bible-thumper that he is, the Reverend Rich Cizik [pronounced “size-ick”], tall, lanky, slightly stoop-shouldered, stood in the September heat of midtown Manhattan bellowing into a microphone. His subject was the Book of Revelation, and he was hoping to reach the ears not only of his audience but also of the unconverted who happened to wander by.

“In Revelation,” he thundered against the wind, against an incredible din, “in Revelation we’re told that God — hear this,” he paused, tilting his heavy head forward. “God will destroy those who destroy the environment.”

Preach it, Brother Cizik. The article continues:

“What an amazing statement about the world that God created and cares about!” Cizik continued. “Isn’t it amazing?”

Though he was sweating in a pin-striped suit, Cizik is not your average street preacher. In fact, he has friends on Capitol Hill, friends in the White House…. Cizik is the public-policy voice of the National Association of Evangelicals [the evangelical version of the National Council of Churches]….

And in case you’re wondering whether he’s one of those progressive evangelicals like Jim Wallis, author of the New York Times 2005 bestseller God Is Politics, forget about it. Cizik opposes abortion, opposes marriage for same-sex couples, opposes stem-cell research. Cizik is the deepest Republican red.

And yet, he continued on that hot September afternoon, “I have told people, ‘Look, you’ve got to care about this because when you die, God is not going to ask you about how he created the earth’ ” — a reference to the recent public debate on so-called intelligent design — “He’s going to ask you, ‘What did you do with the earth I created?’ “

And may I remind my readers that while these evangelicals are going green, most religious liberals are keeping their environmentalism separate from their religion? Well, wake up and smell the (fair-trade organically-grown) coffee! I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Unitarian Universalists, it’s time for us to go public with our own captivating ecological theology based on the Bible, Emerson, Thoreau, William Carlos Williams, and Sharon Welch. It’s time to quit sniping at each other, quit sitting around and grousing about the sorry state of Unitarian Universalism, and start doing public theology.