Lead poisoning a good cause for those who recognize "those who destroy the Earth shall be destroyed by God!"

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 10/11/2006 - 20:29.

There were two important shows on WVIZ/PBS public television tonight. First, locally produced Ideas featured a segment on lead poisoning. Second,  "Bill Moyers on America: Is God Green?" explored  how "Millions of evangelical Christians in America have taken on care for the environment as a moral and Biblical obligation. They believe that as Christians it is their duty to take action against global warming, the loss of species and toxic chemicals in our air, food and water." So, we saw the greatest problem in our local society today... toxic contamination of at least 20% of people's land and lives in Cleveland... followed by the solution, being the 65% of Americans who believe in Christ coming together to battle such toxins. To care about any of these matters without caring about all is to live an incomplete and evil life as, apparently taken from the scriptures,  "those who destroy the Earth shall be destroyed by God!"

I am thrilled that WVIZ Ideas has ascended above mainstream media in educating the community about lead poisoning. While this Ideas segment was far too short and soft on facts and action steps, it creates important awareness of some major news, starting with the fact 20% of Cleveland children are lead poisoned, explaining our drop out rates, school failure, crime and poverty. The program featured the funder of the GCLAC - Greater Cleveland Lead Advisory Council (for which I'm on the Steering Committee) - Denise Zeman, of the St. Lukes Foundation, with the director of health for Cuyahoga County, Terry Allen, and the founder of CCOAL - Concerned Citizens Organized Against Lead (for which I'm on the Board) - Robin Brown, so the show had the right people at the table. The timing was in recognition that St. Lukes and Cleveland Department of Health representatives are in Savannah this week presenting to the Centers for Disease Control on lead eradication collaboration in Northeast Ohio. Because we are the worst - highest lead poisoning rates in the country - we are the best - most aggressive in addressing the issue. This is how change happens... not by people blabbering about a problem but attacking it head on. And, for that, there is recognition. Unfortunately, there is still much to be done in this war against lead poisoning. Perhaps an even more broad coalition may help, as suggested by the next insight on WVIZ today.

Bill Moyers' "Is God Green" was a real relief to me. Knowing "America is God's Country", and believing the predominant economic policy in America today is Rapturenomics, and recognizing the evangelical Christian movement in America put George Bush in power and speaks for over 30,000,000 people and growing, in very vocal and aggressive ways, when I see and hear these firebrands I often wonder what is on their mind, beside Jesus Christ. It turns out, for 10,000,000s of them, what is on their minds is the environment and that man is destroying Earth and man. While Moyers' show made clear there are still many well paid evangelical Christian leaders on the take from the energy industry, who preach pollution (and earthquakes, volcanoes and hurricanes) as God's way of punishing man and the Earth, as sick as that clearly is, there are more intelligent leaders of this Christian front moving against the polluted tides of industry and speaking and preaching out against global warming and pollution in general. The leader of that movement is Richard Cizik, vice president for governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals, an organization that represents 52 denominations and 45,000 churches.

Asks Cizik, "Do we have the right to allow politicians off the hook? We've been co-opted politically, supporting the Republican Party, which is paid millions of dollars by the oil and gas industry". The National Association of Evangelicals has taken a position opposed to the Bush Administration, but has been influenced by the Bush Administration, and so many prominent leaders of the NAE have flip-flopped about global warming, as they receive funding from Exxon-Mobil Oil Company, which has spent $ millions to fight the science of Global Warming. Cizik points out, "At times we let our political values get ahead of our biblical judgments - e.g. with civil rights, when we were also wrong, and had to apologize for our wrong positions. Do what is right, and do not be afraid. We cannot be all that God wants us to be without caring about the Earth - that is a no-brainer."

Now, I see most people in NEO not caring about Earth, pollution and related issues, like global warming and lead poisoning, and I now know they are not acting in concert with intelligent thought or intelligent religious leadership. What do they believe allows them to think and act as they do? As much as I do not understand the thinking of Evangelical Christians, I clearly understand their minds better than I understand those who do not care about the environment. For the first time I can say, bring on the Christian fundamentalists to save the souls of the people of NEO and NEO.

"Self-identified evangelicals provided roughly 40 percent of George W. Bush's total vote in 2004" is a startling statistic from "God's Country". This article concludes, "as more evangelical leaders acquire firsthand experience in foreign policy, they are likely to provide something now sadly lacking in the world of U.S. foreign policy: a trusted group of experts, well versed in the nuances and dilemmas of the international situation, who are able to persuade large numbers of Americans to support the complex and counterintuitive policies that are sometimes necessary in this wicked and frustrating -- or, dare one say it, fallen -- world."  Richard Cizik shows the importance of that observation.

The Evangelical Christians may in fact be the only hope for America to address global warming, and NEO to address lead poisoning. Clearly, to address lead poisoning at home, we will need to preach to the preachers.