Friday, July 17, 2015

Climate Change and the 700 Club (and CBN) - a controversy over a climate scientist who's Christian

Over at CBN (the Christian Broadcasting Network) on the 700 Club, Pat Robertson's son Gordon did an interview with Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, who is an Evangelical Christian and also a scientist who studies climate change at Texas Tech, and whose husband is a pastor. She understands that climate change is real, and not a fiction, and the interview on 700 Club went in that direction. Interview here, starting about ten minutes in. 

It is, I have to say, a pretty fair and decent interview. A few years ago, I don't think we would have seen anyone on CBN offer a fair treatment of someone who wanted to discuss climate change. But the younger generation of evangelicals are witness to the changes going on in the climate, and are much more in tune with the environmental movement, which they tend to refer to as "creation care", which I think is a fine term.

Naturally, the interview has sparked controversy, and CBN had to respond to it.

Dr. Hayhoe sent a letter to the Citizen's Climate Lobby (which has a local Eau Claire chapter, and which I am a member of):

Apparently when Gordon Robertson replaced his father Pat at the 700 Club, he decided to make some changes - one of which was to start talking about climate change and creation care. However, the interview he did with Andrew & I yesterday, followed by his own commentary about extinctions and caring for God’s creation, raised such vitriol that CBN had to issue an official statement on their Facebook page!
I think they need to know there are people out there who support them and welcome their change of heart, and what better network than CCL to get people to weigh in?

She asked the CCL members and friends to comment on CBN's facebook page, the 700 Club website, and CBN website, offering support for their courage to air the interview.

I responded to the request, posting the following on the facebook page and the 700 Club website (the CBN website requires an account, which I'm not going to do just to make one post). Apologies for grammar and syntax issues. I tend not to edit things when I'm on Facebook. I suppose I should, but that's the way it goes! Here is my response:

Thank you for your willingness to have Dr. Katharine Hayhoe on in an honest and thoughtful interview. I know that some don't "believe in" climate science, but it is a fact, and it is hugely important for people of faith - people who believe that God wants us to take care of the planet given to us, the only home we have - to be on board with creation care. I am a minister (and formerly a scientist/engineer before vows) in a church, the United Church of Christ, that has decades of history of stressing environmentalism and love for planet. Taking care of the planet is simply the highest form of fulfilling God's command to love one's neighbor. If we destroy our habitat, we are destroying the habitat of our neighbors. We are not just hurting them or denying them, we are literally destroying their ability to live.
And as I like to say, worst case scenario - even if there is no climate change, there is absolutely no downside whatsoever to taking care of the planet. The only result is having a better, healthier, cleaner place to live and pass on to the following generations. 
As a pastor, I am saddened that this interview has been met with such vitriol and nastiness from my Christian brothers and sisters who ought to know better about how to voice dissent or disagreement. 
So as a clergy from a Christian tradition that is often quite different from the tradition offered on CBN and the 700 Club, I offer you my thanks and appreciation for your willingness to air this interview and begin a dialogue among your people about something that actually is quite real, and truly needs to be addressed. And one great place of pressure can be from we people of faith who believe that God intends for us to keep our planet healthy, and to stop disrespecting it and disrespecting our neighbors.
Thank you,
Rev. David Huber, Eau Claire, WI. United Church of Christ, and member of Citizens Climate Lobby.

Please listen to the interview, and offer your comments as Katharine requests. But please be sure to listen to the interview first.

Post below in the comments section if you did so. Thank you!