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Evangelicals Protect The Planet, The Planet God Created

| Thu Feb. 15, 2007 12:33 AM PST

Evangelicals have been green for some time, but lately it seems like they're going dark green. Deep green. Like a forest green. A Charleston green, even.

The Evangelical "What Would Jesus Drive?" green campaign of a few years ago has now paved the way for a new movement. An unprecedented group of Evangelical and scientific leaders just last month sent an urgent call to action to President Bush on behalf of "Creation Care," urging him to protect the environment and "defend life on earth." They are calling for a "fundamental change in values, lifestyles, and public policies" needed to address global warming and other environmental problems "before it is too late." Olympia Snowe and Barack Obama even jumped on board in support.

Richard Cizik, the pro-Bush vice president of governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals, told the Inter Press Service News Agency:

"There are people in our community who don't yet accept the science of human-induced climate change and other environmental problems. What we're saying is, let's be in dialogue with the scientists who have the best information about these problems that we can come up with."

Climate change isn't the only turf Evangelicals have been walking on lately. Marcus R. Ross submitted a doctoral dissertation to the University of Rhode Island in December on the existence of mosasaurs, but was vocal about his status as a ''young earth creationist'' who, aside from his academic work, believes that the Bible is a literally true account of the creation of the universe, and that the earth is at most 10,000 years old.

The kicker of it all is that while 38% of Americans call themselves evangelical, only 9% actually agree with key evangelical beliefs. According to a study last year by the Barna Group, one out of every four self-identified evangelicals has not accepted Christ as their savior. Which means the third of our country who are evangelicals are a pretty diverse lot, and many of them are looking to do some saving of their own, all the better for a planet that can use all the help it can get.

—Gary Moskowitz

Still Fewer "Criminals" in the Army Than in Your Neighborhood Bar

| Thu Feb. 15, 2007 12:19 AM PST

For years now, the Army has been stretching to keep its numbers up by compromising everything from enlistment standards to the quality of new recruits to the character of recruiters themselves. As Peter points out below, today's New York Times now warns us about the rash of waivers being given to incoming soldiers. Salon posted this snarky response under the headline "Need more recruits for Iraq? Take more criminals":

The good news: As the Times explains, "soldiers with criminal histories made up only" -- only! -- "11.7 percent of the Army recruits in 2006."

There are 52 million individuals in the FBI's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System criminal history database; that's about 17% of Americans who've been in trouble for some crime at some point in their lives. So the percentage of recruits with criminal histories, less than 12%, is lower than that of the general population with criminal histories.

Moreover, people with criminal records don't equal lifetime criminals; working at a bank two years ago doesn't make you a teller any more than having sold pot in college makes you a dealer. It's not enough that ex-cons face employment discrimination and legal restrictions on where they can live in some states. The public is, evidently, so opposed to letting them establish legitimate lives that we don't even want them doing it in a war zone six thousand miles away.

—Nicole McClelland

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