March 19, 2008
Save the Planet, Save Your Soul
Evangelicals and Catholics find common cause in protecting the planet.
In the early 1970s, conservative Protestants hit the streets to protest the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion. When they arrived with signs in hand, they discovered that Catholics had beaten them to the picket line. Since then, Catholics and evangelicals have found common cause in protecting the unborn.
Last week, Catholics and evangelicals found another issue on which they may someday join forces: saving the planet.
Representatives of the Southern Baptist Convention, North America's largest Protestant denomination, recently changed their stance on global warming.
In the same week, the Vatican made a significantly bolder move when it added seven new transgressions to its list of deadly sins. The list includes, among other iniquities, polluting the environment.
The church, both Protestant and Catholic, appears a bit late in adopting its concern for the environment. After all, the crusade to save the planet was taken up first by secular scientists, hippies, and liberals (according to the good country people I grew up around). So, is the church's newfound environmental interest another example of our capitulation to culture, or have we genuinely rediscovered an important aspect of our Christian mandate to fill the earth and subdue it? If the interest is legitimate, what does it mean for your church?