While it’s stated like a given, the idea that the number of evangelicals buying into the extreme ‘Green Dragon’ line is ‘far larger’ than the number who support climate action is unsupported in Mims’ post. I’d love to see the numbers. Mims also linked to a piece I recently wrote for Slate in which I reported on the current state of the evangelical ‘creation care’ movement. One stat in my piece may have leapt out: According to a Pew Research Center survey in October, only 16 percent of regular churchgoing white evangelicals said that global warming is a ‘very serious’ problem (compared to 31 percent of Americans overall). What I didn’t include (but now wish I had) is this: If you combine that 16 percent with those who call it a ‘somewhat serious’ problem, the total rises to nearly 47 percent. On the other hand, in the same survey, the combined number of evangelicals who call it either ‘not a problem’ (31 percent) or ‘not too serious’ (19 percent) is about 50 percent. Hmm.
What’s more, political scientist John Green, an advisor to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, noted that 42 percent of evangelicals in that survey said global warming is a problem requiring ‘immediate government action.’ That’s certainly not a majority, but it’s a large number (especially when you consider that evangelicals are something like 25 percent of the population). And when you compare that 42 percent to the 46 percent of Americans overall who gave Pew the same answer – I don’t know, is it possible that evangelical Americans are actually, well, not that different from other Americans?