Two weeks ago in this column, I denounced an effort by a group of evangelicals who are calling on Congress to enact legislation that would cut back carbon dioxide emissions to address the alleged effects of “global warming.”
I stated that the group of 86 evangelical leaders – part of the Evangelical Climate Initiative, or ECI – acted prematurely and needs to understand that costly efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions could devastate the American economy and would only nominally reduce global temperatures. Further, many scientists are not convinced that the planet is warming beyond normal cyclical patterns.
Now, several days after the ECI released its statement, we have learned that the group has accepted funds from a foundation that routinely supports abortion rights. The ECI used funds originating from the Hewlett Foundation in its advertising campaign to halt “global warming.”
I have learned that the Hewlett Foundation – which routinely funds the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation’s chief abortion provider, the United Nations Population Fund and other abortion-rights organizations – designated a $475,000 grant to the ECI coalition.
Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, expressed outrage that the evangelical leaders would coalesce with the Hewlett Foundation, which she called “one of the most prodigious and unabashed funders of abortion causes.” She added that the funds were a “significant grant for this initiative” which “reveals where this effort could lead.”
But an ECI spokesman has defended the acceptance of the funds from the Hewlett Foundation, explaining that the evangelical group holds to pro-life standards. (I believe most of the signers are pro-life, although several signers lean left on most important issues.) I doubt that many of the 86 signers had any idea of the Hewlett Foundation’s abortion-rights mission when they accepted the funds.
Further, I don’t believe that simply accepting money from a group that has a dissimilar agenda is intrinsically wrong. (The great evangelist Billy Sunday once said, “When a brewer offered me a gift for my ministry, I accepted it saying, ‘the Devil has had it long enough.'”)
Nevertheless, I believe it behooves Christians to be diligent in defining their relationships. Even when there is a slight and possibly undeserved appearance of wrongdoing, it is best to walk away, as the Bible instructs.
I’m not trying to judge the 86 individuals who have signed onto this effort. Several of them are giants in the faith and dear friends of mine who, I believe, were misled by others to sign on. And, I continue to believe these good men have been na?ve in their endeavor. Christian leaders can simply not afford to become linked with the abortion-rights community. The long-term consequences could prove costly. The battle for life is too important.
As Mrs. Wright stated, “The radical environmental, pro-abortion lobby has learned to adopt language to win over unsuspecting, well-intentioned people.”
And I believe that is exactly what has happened in this case. We are to never grow weary in well doing, but I think we need to be sure that our “well doing” is indeed constructive.
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