Video: Evangelical environmentalists
updated 2/8/2006 7:26:07 PM ET 2006-02-09T00:26:07

Challenging some of their peers, dozens of evangelical Christian leaders on Wednesday issued a “call to action” on global warming — urging governments, companies and individuals to reduce fossil fuel emissions that many scientists tie to warmer temperatures.

“Millions of people could die in this century because of climate change, most of them our poorest global neighbors,” the group said in its statement. The 86 signatories ranged from individuals like Rick Warren, author of the bestseller “The Purpose-Driven Life,” to directors of groups like the Salvation Army.

“Many of us have required considerable convincing before becoming persuaded that climate change is a real problem and that it ought to matter to us as Christians,” the signatories added. “But now we have seen and heard enough.”

Mandatory curbs sought
At a press conference in Washington, the signers urged U.S. lawmakers to pass a law requiring that emissions of carbon dioxide be reduced.

“We need to move on in action and leadership,” said Jo Anne Lyon,executive director of World Hope International.

President Bush opposes mandatory curbs, arguing they would harm the economy and cost jobs. He instead has pushed for voluntary steps and research into technology to reduce emissions.

The group said its own immediate action would revolve around a media campaign that includes newspaper and TV ads.

Internal opposition
The move came after nearly two dozen evangelical leaders urged the National Association of Evangelicals to avoid taking a similar stand.

In a recent letter to the association, those leaders opposed any official position because, they said, evangelicals “disagree about the cause, severity and solutions to the global warming issue.”

Those signers included: James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family; Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries; the Rev. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention; Richard Roberts, president of Oral Roberts University; Donald Wildmon, head the American Family Association; and the Rev. Louis Sheldon, head of the Traditional Values Coalition.

The association leadership in 2004 adopted a statement that humans have “a sacred responsibility to steward the Earth and not a license to abuse the creation of which we are a part.”

Background on the new campaign, as well as the full statement, are online at

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