US evangelical leader: Spiritual leadership vital to urgent action on climate Media Release

Nov 05, 2008 - 11:59am

High-profile American evangelical leader Reverend Richard Cizik arrives in Australia on Saturday for a seven-day visit to highlight the need for urgent action on climate change and the importance of a renewed spiritual and long term leadership from Australia’s political, religious and business communities.

Rev Cizik, dubbed the “earthy evangelist” and one of Time Magazine’s top 100 most influential people, is in Australia for a series of public engagements and will be accompanied for part of his tour by World Vision Chief Executive Tim Costello.

"Australia and the US have been major blockers to action on climate change and our new governments have a special responsibility in creating a new kind of leadership,” said Rev Cizik on the eve of his visit.

“We need leadership that transcends the ‘short-termist’ failures linked, not only to the recent financial turmoil, but to our response to Hurricane Katrina and in the lead up to 9/11.”

Rev Cizik is Vice President for Governmental Affairs with the US National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and responsible for setting the NAE’s policy direction on issues before Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court.

“As Christians we are committed to looking after God’s creation and inaction on climate change, or allowing environmental degradation, is an offence against God. Defending the current status quo of delay or inaction I believe is a ‘sin of omission’,” Rev Cizik said.

Rev Cizik will visit Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns and Canberra and his activities include an address at the Australian Christian Lobby National Conference at the Australian National University, Canberra, speaking at a NSW Parliament House lunch, and public seminars in churches in Canberra, Brisbane and Sydney. He will also visit the Great Barrier Reef to see first hand the potential impacts of climate change in Australia.

In his advocacy for urgently tackling climate change, Cizik is motivated by the conviction that there is a strong biblical mandate to care for the creation in its call to humans "to watch over and care for" the bounty of the earth and its creatures.

Rev Cizik’s itinerary highlights:

  • Saturday 8th ACL National Conference, Canberra, public seminar, Dickson Baptist Church; Monday 10th attends the National Prayer Breakfast, Parliament House, Canberra;
  • Tuesday 11th - meetings with Christian MPs,  public seminar, Kenmore Baptist Church; Wednesday 12th visits Great Barrier Reef;
  • Thursday 13th lunch at NSW Parliament House, public seminar, St Paul’s Anglican Church Castle Hill; Friday 14th meeting with church leaders at Morling College, Sydney.
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