Contraception is not code for Abortion: Evangelical Leader Says We Need Family Planning to Help Fight Climate Change
Richard Cizik has a knack for irritating right-wing evangelicals. He knows just how to do it, being an evangelical himself, though no longer one with standard right-wing political views.
Cizik was a key leader of an evangelical Christian movement calling for climate action and “creation care” a few years ago, when he was vice president of governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals. Some religious-right bigwigs tried unsuccessfully to force him out of that job in 2007 because of his environmental activism, and then ultimately succeeded in forcing him out in 2008 because he endorsed gay civil unions (oh the horror!). Cizik bounced back by founding the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, which advocates for social-justice causes including human rights, health-care access, and an end to war.
Cizik’s latest campaign is sure to push right-wingers’ buttons: He is advocating contraception as a means to combat climate change (as well as achieve lots of other worthy goals). “Family planning is a green technology,” he told me during a recent conversation.
But though some conservative Christians will surely recoil in horror, Cizik believes he can convince open-minded evangelicals and other Christians of the rightness of his cause.
Cizik’s New Evangelical Partnership has put out a 13-page “Call to Christian Common Ground on Family Planning and Maternal and Children’s Health.” The document focuses on moral rather than environmental arguments, making the case that family planning reduces abortions, improves women’s health, and saves women’s lives.