Who, What, Where, Why and When? Understanding the Religious and Political Origins of Evangelical Climate Change Skepticism

Robin Veldman

Why are white evangelical Christians the most skeptical major religious group in America regarding climate change?

Since the 1960s, evangelicals have increasingly pushed back against what they see as the marginalization of Christianity from the public square. In the mid-2000s, after a group of pro-environmental evangelical leaders launched a campaign calling for action on climate change, leaders and pundits associated with the Christian Right pushed back with a campaign of their own, portraying climate activists as allies of the "secular elites" whom they had long blamed for American Christianity's decline.

With this longstanding and complex history in mind, the question remains: what are the factors that shape evangelical understandings of and attitudes towards climate change?

Drawing on qualitative field research, Robin Veldman (Texas A&M) will discuss how climate skepticism and anti-environmentalism has become embedded in evangelicals' social world, and in particular, tied to their sense of embattlement with secular culture.

Instead of seeing evangelicals' higher rates of climate skepticism as being due either to politics or to religion, Veldman highlights how Christian right leaders have actively promoted misinformation about climate change to evangelical audiences, for reasons that, she suggests, are tied to their own political ambitions.

Feb 06 2020 - 12:00pm
West Hall 135
Tempe campus