Conservative Christians consider environmental protection

WAKE FOREST, N.C. -- For years, some conservative Christians regarded environmentalists as little more than nature worshippers. But on April 24, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., hosted its first conference on what it calls "creation care," or honoring God's good Earth.

Southeastern President Danny Akin said his denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, needs to do more to combat pollution and the degradation of the planet. But he added, "We're not jumping on the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Al Gore bandwagon. We're using a more cautious, responsible approach."

Only two years ago, Southern Baptists passed a resolution urging the government to "reject mandated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions," and to "proceed cautiously in the human-induced global warming debate in light of conflicting scientific research." Last month, Richard Land, president of the denomination's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, urged Baptists to write their U.S. senators to oppose global warming legislation that would tax firms for global emissions. And in a recently released poll, only 47 percent of Protestant pastors said they believe global warming is real and man-made. Among evangelical denominations, only 32 percent of pastors agreed. Yet a group of younger evangelicals is challenging those views.

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